Rent vs. Buy: Cleveland Park

by Michele Lerner

Plenty of rent-versus-own calculators are available online to do a purely numbers-driven evaluation of whether you should buy a home or rent one. (The New York Times has a particularly good one.) But, as most buyers in search of a new home know, the decision to buy a home is not purely financial. It requires a long-term commitment to a property and a neighborhood. UrbanTurf will work its way through the neighborhoods of the city to gather estimates of rent and home prices as well as the distinctive characteristics of each community. This week, we visit Cleveland Park.

The Broadmoor, a 194-unit co-op at 3601 Connecticut Avenue (map)

The Neighborhood

Northwest Washington’s Cleveland Park is roughly bordered by Rock Creek Park to the east, Wisconsin Avenue to the west, Woodley Road to the south and Tilden and Quebec Streets to the north. The popular neighborhood attracts a cross-section of families, singles, couples and empty-nesters who are drawn to the area’s convenience, charm, and location.

Cleveland Park’s iconic Uptown Theater

Home to the Uptown Movie Theater and National Zoo, Cleveland Park also has restaurants, cafes, shops and bars clustered along Connecticut Avenue near the two Metro stations which serve this part of town: the Cleveland Park station and the Woodley Road/Adams Morgan/National Zoo station, both on the Red Line. There are also restaurants and shops along the neighborhood’s secondary commercial corridor of Wisconsin Avenue. Apart from Connecticut and Wisconsin, the neighborhood offers plenty of quiet throughout its tree-lined side streets and parks.

To Buy…

Homes in Cleveland Park include condominiums, row houses and single-family homes. Single-family homes in this area are among the most expensive in the city, while condos are much more reasonable.

Realtor Lynn Bulmer with Evers & Co. Real Estate says that the average price of a single-family home in Cleveland Park in 2009 was $1,575,000. One-bedroom condominiums averaged $312,750 in 2009, while two-bedrooms averaged $424,066.

Metro station on Connecticut

Currently on the market is this one-bedroom, one-bath condo at Vaughn Place in McLean Gardens, priced at $335,000. Located on the eighth floor, the condo has 750 square feet and a balcony. The community has a swimming pool and a 24-hour front desk. After a 20 percent down payment of $67,000, the estimated monthly cost of owning this home is $1,460 plus a $275 condo fee for a total of $1,735.

A two-bedroom, two-bath condo with 1,019 square feet is on the market for $549,000 at The Monterey at 2902 Porter Street, #46. It includes hardwood flooring, a gas fireplace, a tile balcony and a shared roof deck. After a 20 percent down payment of $110,000, the estimated monthly cost of this home is $2,400 plus a condo fee of $387 for a total of $2,787.

…Or To Rent?

A Craigslist search for Cleveland Park comes up with several one-bedroom apartments with an average cost of around $1,500 per month. Only two two-bedroom homes were found, averaging $2,175 per month. There was one three-bedroom, renting at $3,450.

The Verdict

Renting in Cleveland Park is significantly less costly than buying, and a lot of young people are drawn to the neighborhood because of its not-too-expensive rents. A one-bedroom rental will typically cost at least $200 less per month than buying; on a two-bedroom the savings jump to $600.

That said, if you can afford buying, Cleveland Park may be a good place to spend your money. Not only does the neighborhood offer an attractive blend of urban amenities and quiet residential streets, it also has active community organizers who are working on plans to revitalize some of the empty storefronts near the Cleveland Park Metro station. As that activism bears fruit, the neighborhood is likely to become more desirable still.

See other articles related to: renting in dc, rent vs buy, dclofts, cleveland park

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rent_vs._buy_cleveland_park/1896


  1. Aaron said at 3:26 pm on Friday March 19, 2010:

    Wanted to just add that I would disagree with your boundaries set for this neighborhood.  Cleveland Park for many, including those who rent in the area, would end on the southern tip at Porter Street.  I don’t think many of the apartments around the Zoo, and behind Connecticut believe they live in any area but Woodley Park.

  1. CP Native said at 6:19 pm on Friday March 19, 2010:

    @Aaron, certainly not Porter for the southern boundary! From 34th St. west to Wisc., Woodley Rd. and the Cathedral close form a clear southern boundary; east of 34th, Cathedral Ave. is probably a more reasonable southern boundary. South of Cathedral Ave, it does feel like Woodley Park is the center of gravity, rather than CP.

  1. Simon Landau said at 9:26 pm on Sunday March 21, 2010:

    I rent in Cleveland Park and it certainly is less expensive than buying.  The neighborhood really does offer a nice mixture of city and small town feel.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾