DC’s Best Neighborhoods For First-Time Buyers

  • August 9, 2013

by UrbanTurf Staff

As home prices in the area have steadily increased over the last couple years, one group of buyers is finding that options in their price range are dwindling: first-timers.

At the request of a number of readers, UrbanTurf did some research and came up with three neighborhoods in the DC area that are good options for first-time buyers.

However, we took a bit of a different approach with our analysis. Too often, first-time buyers are categorized as young professionals in search of a one-bedroom near a Metro line. While in many cases that is true, there are a number of first-timers on the hunt for a larger place.

So, this article picks out the best neighborhoods in the area split up by property size: one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms or three-bedrooms.

Are there other neighborhoods out there that first-timers should look into beyond those mentioned below? Absolutely. These neighborhoods are just our choices for where they can find a place for under $400,000 in a given property segment.

One-Bedrooms — Cleveland Park

DC's Best Neighborhoods For First-Time Buyers: Figure 1
Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park

We can hear it now.

“You chose Cleveland Park???? That is home to some of the biggest houses in the city?!?”

Yes, that is true. But the Red Line neighborhood also probably has the highest percentage of well-priced one-bedrooms in the city.

The average sales price for the last 15 one-bedroom units (condos and co-ops) in the neighborhood came in at $349,000. And at $460, the average price per square foot for these units is also on the low side for DC. While monthly fees can run high (averaging $470), it is important to remember that many of the one-bedrooms in Cleveland Park are co-ops where the monthly fees include property taxes.

Beyond the real estate, Cleveland Park checks a number of boxes for the young, professional first-time buyer. It sits on top of the Metro and several bus lines run down Connecticut Avenue. There is a retail strip that has gotten increasingly better over the past few years and offers everything from restaurants to movies to places to pick up everyday items. And, while not as trendy, the neighborhood remains relatively peaceful and quiet compared to its neighbors to the south and east.

DC's Best Neighborhoods For First-Time Buyers: Figure 2

Two-Bedrooms — Silver Spring

UrbanTurf discovered that finding a neighborhood in the DC area with a healthy stock of two-bedroom units available for under $400,000 was a tall order.

However, downtown Silver Spring, just on the other side of Northwest DC, proved to be a place where there were a number of options…for below $300,000.

The average price for the last ten two-bedrooms to sell in downtown Silver Spring was $290,000. Given our surprise at the low number, we took a closer look to make sure we weren’t including distressed homes in the mix. We weren’t; the listings ranged from homes in garden-style complexes in need of work to move-in ready units in high-rises.

Downtown Silver Spring may not be a destination at the top of the list for prospective buyers in the region, but places like the AFI Silver Theatre, the relatively new music venue The Fillmore and an increasing number of restaurants are making it a place to look.

DC's Best Neighborhoods For First-Time Buyers: Figure 3
Michigan Park

Three-Bedrooms — Michigan Park

DC has a handful of neighborhoods where homebuyers can find a single-family home for under $400,000, and Michigan Park is one of them.

The average sales price for the last 10 three-bedroom homes in the northeast DC neighborhood came in at $388,000 with an average price per square foot of just $262. To be clear, these sales figures include homes that needed some work or renovations down the line, but most were in livable condition when purchased.

Compared to DC’s suburban-like neighborhoods in upper Northwest, Michigan Park is notably more modest and a bit slower. And there isn’t a lot of variety in the housing stock: the tree-lined streets are largely lined with red, box colonials. The retail options are quite limited, but people generally move here because it is a bit quieter than the rest of DC, while still being in the city.

Unfortunately, it is not a neighborhood where homes come on the market that frequently. It took going back through four months of records to find the ten three-bedroom sales used for our analysis.

Readers, are you saying “Holy smokes, they didn’t include that one?” Make your case in the comments section.

See other articles related to: dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_best_neighborhoods_for_first-timers/7436

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