DC Real Estate’s Real Unicorn: One-Bedroom Houses

by Joe Marhamati

DC Real Estate's Real Unicorn: One-Bedroom Houses: Figure 1
A one-bedroom house in Foggy Bottom.

Most buyers these days are either in the mindset that they’re looking for either a condo or a house. However, there are properties in DC that they may be overlooking: one-bedroom houses.

One-bedroom houses are a rare niche product of 19th century DC, built to house workers who needed small, cheap living options. Today, those workers have been replaced by scores of young professionals who aren’t prepared to shell out enough for a large home. Condos are the logical choice, but if given the option for a house that offers no burden of monthly fees, the opportunity may be an attractive alternative.

There are probably less than 100 one-bedroom homes in the District, and fewer than ten on the market currently, according to Anne Savage of Coldwell Banker. Savage notes that one-bedroom houses are most common in Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom, with some available on Georgetown’s Cherry Hill Lane. Often called Shotgun Houses for having a studio-type layout with all the space in the house condensed on one floor and in one area, it’s not atypical for one-bedroom houses to also have two-floor layouts. The living room and kitchen are usually located on the first floor for these properties with a bedroom and bathroom on the top floor of about the same square footage. It’s common for these houses to have no doors other than for the main entrance and the upstairs bathroom, meaning the stairwell leads directly to the bedroom.

DC Real Estate's Real Unicorn: One-Bedroom Houses: Figure 2
The living room of a one-bedroom house on the market in Georgetown.

One-bedroom homes are generally priced higher than condos of similar size, however, like all real estate, the property’s location plays a major factor. Savage sold her only one-bedroom home to date to a young woman working for the government, and says that she’s yet to come across couples in the market for such a purchase.

The limited buyer pool maybe the result of the fact that these properties do not offer a great deal of square footage, generally ranging from 600 to 700 square feet. But for those single, young professionals looking to buy their first home, a one-bedroom house may be just the alternative that they’re looking for.

“If people want a condo, they usually end up with a condo,” Savage explained. “But if they want a house and don’t have enough for a larger place, then the one-bedroom house is often a good pick.”

Here are a few one-bedroom houses currently on the market in DC:

Photos courtesy of HomeVisit.

See other articles related to: one-bedroom homes, editors choice, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_real_estates_real_unicorn_one-bedroom_houses/2389


  1. Sorosh said at 7:59 pm on Wednesday August 18, 2010:
    I live in Foggy Bottom and love walking by little houses like these. They add character to an area that doesn't have much.
  1. vahoya said at 4:01 pm on Thursday August 19, 2010:
    Great article. One of DC's best kept real estate secrets, in my opinion, is pomander walk right by Volta Park in Georgetown. There are about 12 1BR townhouses, tucked in off an alley. Very quaint and very cool.
  1. Victoria27 said at 8:33 pm on Thursday August 19, 2010:
    There's a Pomander Walk in DC? There's one in Manhattan as well... bounded by 94th and 95th Streets, and Broadway and West End Avenue..
  1. Kim said at 2:32 pm on Friday August 20, 2010:
    I considered a bigger 1 BR on the Hill after my first condo. 3 levels (basement kitchen, half bath/laundry and bonus room, a living and dining at entry level, and a bedroom and bath/dressing/closet up), a fireplace, Edwardian details, charm and 900 affordable sf. I didn't go for it mainly for a reason the article notes: I'd fit as a single young professional, but unless I stayed single space would become a problem. Not wanting another condo, I ended up with a historic Federal Hill (Baltimore) rowhouse I kept for 14 years, twice as big for similar money and an okay commute given my Greenbelt employer.
  1. MB said at 8:42 pm on Monday August 23, 2010:
    I love these little one bedrooms. Too bad thay are out of my reach financially.

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