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North of $600: The Highest Prices Per Square Foot in DC

by UrbanTurf Staff

North of $600: The Highest Prices Per Square Foot in DC: Figure 1
Home in Georgetown that sold for $1,100 a square foot.

Price per square foot is one of those tricky metrics in real estate. In DC, a home’s square footage consists of the above-grade finished living area. According to the DC Property Tax Division, that is “comprised of the finished areas of the main floor (kitchen, living room, dining room, etc.) and any finished areas above the main floor.” It is usually easier (and more accurate) to calculate the square footage for a condo or co-op than a single-family home, hence when you are looking at real estate listings, you are far more likely to find individual units with the square footage listed than individual houses.

Still, price per square foot ranks near the top when it comes to the criteria that buyers use to assess the value of a home to purchase. Today, UrbanTurf will be looking at the DC neighborhoods with the highest median price per square foot in 2015.

North of $600: The Highest Prices Per Square Foot in DC: Figure 2
Click to enlarge.

The most eye-catching thing about the table above is that there are eight DC neighborhoods where the median price per square foot of homes sold this year sits above $600, and three — Georgetown, West End and Burleith — where that metric is north of $700.

The neighborhood that saw the largest price per square foot increases this year were Kalorama. In West End, Burleith and Capitol Hill, the price per square foot fell.

The data for this article was provided by RealEstate Business Intelligence.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/north_of_600_the_highest_prices_per_square_foot_in_dc/9956

2 Comments

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 7:44 pm on Thursday June 11, 2015:
    You are absolutely right to note that this is a very tricky thing. Zoning has a particular way of measuring square footage ("gross floor area") that counts against FAR, but, since it excludes below-grade spaces and areas within projecting bays and includes the thickness of exterior walls, it generally doesn't apply directly to the actual, usable square footage of a building, apartment, or suite. There is, in fact, no legal standard for measuring square footage in such a manner. In commercial real estate, the BOMA method of square footage calculation is almost universally applied. No such standard method exists for residential. Many architects and developers use the BOMA commercial calculation method for condos, but sometimes, especially if the developer feels the need to push the numbers upward, they just make up their own system. Almost all of these methods, including BOMA, go to centerlines of demising walls between units/suites, which means that most of the time, one cannot recreate the calculation one site (because one doesn't know how thick the walls are). A home inspector, even the rare one who is competent at survey, will virtually always come up with a lower square footage number than the developer provides (directly, or via website real estate information derived from developer filings). Bottom line, as always, is Buyer Beware. Price per square foot has value as a general statistical indicator, tracking movements at neighborhood and regional scales. But overemphasis on price per square foot, combined with no legal standard for how to calculate square footage, creates an incentive to cheat the footage upward. Moreover, at the scale of an individual condo or house, it's as much about how well the square footage is laid out than the actual quantity of square feet.
  1. yogeshu said at 9:58 pm on Saturday June 20, 2015:
    The square ft area should be set to actual carpet area which will help comparing values among different homes. Also, the per sq ft price of new condos are higher, generally $800-$1,000 per sq ft.

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