Rent vs. Buy: LeDroit 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 is working 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 LeDroit Park.

LeDroit Park by Josh Howell

The Neighborhood

LeDroit Park, roughly bordered by Bryant Street, Georgia Avenue, North Capitol Street and Florida and Rhode Island Avenues, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in DC and a place that has maintained many of its historic qualities while comfortably evolving into an area that people love to live in. On the flip side, the zip code’s reputation for having a high crime rate has prevented a critical mass of bargain hunters from buying houses there.

Long & Foster’s Angela Jones says that most of LeDroit Park’s homes are row houses in the Victorian, Federal or Colonial style, with a handful of detached single-family homes. She says the neighborhood appeals to a diverse group of residents including families who have been in the area for years, singles, couples, Howard University students and professors and professionals who work all over the city.

To Buy…

Jones says that prices are “all over the map” for properties in LeDroit Park, ranging from under $300,000 for a home that needs a complete renovation to over $1 million for a larger home with commercial zoning that would be suitable as a bed-and-breakfast.

For example, this two-bedroom, one-bath row house may look like the deal of the century at $249,900, but it is listed “as is” and is likely in need of a good deal of work. That said, monthly payments on a 30-year fixed-rate loan for this home are estimated at $1,090 after a 20 percent down payment of $50,000, so if you are interested in a project, this could be a great property.

302 T Street NW

Renovated three and four-bedroom homes usually cost between $600,000 and $800,000, such as this three-bedroom, two-bath property at 302 T Street NW. The 1,944 square-foot Victorian has hardwood flooring and a renovated kitchen and is listed at $649,900. Monthly payments are estimated at $2,850 after a 20 percent down payment of $130,000.

…Or To Rent?

Based on an analysis of Craigslist apartment rentals from the past ten days, a one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood rents for approximately $1,200 to $1,500. Two-bedroom units rent for $1,800 to $2,300, while three-bedroom row houses are available from $2,750 to $3,200. LeDroit Park has also developed a reputation for offering some great, low-cost group house rental options for recent college grads.

The Verdict

The call as to whether to rent or buy in LeDroit Park is a tough one. If you are interested in fixing up a home, big or small, this neighborhood has a number of options. Even if you buy a renovated home, your monthly mortgage payments fall within the range of rents in this part of town. That said, there are plenty of spacious, low-cost rental options, particularly if you have four friends that you wouldn’t mind living in a large Victorian with. Your monthly rent could be well south of $1,000.

So, if you have some money saved and are looking for a property that will likely require a good deal of work, but could pay off in five or ten years, we say buy in LeDroit. If you are a young professional and have friends to live with, we say rent.

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

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rent_vs._buy_ledroit_park/1770


  1. frmrldresident said at 4:47 pm on Thursday February 11, 2010:

    I bought a house in LeDroit Park and finally sold it and moved out of the area in 2006.  There was so much crime and drug dealing (often on our front steps), that it became too much.  My partner was robbed at gunpoint in our house and a store owner on our block was murdered several weeks later.  We became so desenitized that gunshots in the middle of the night didn’t phase us. Maybe it has changed in three years…...

  1. Mary said at 11:43 am on Friday February 12, 2010:

    Sure, LeDroit Park is not for the faint of heart, but like the article notes, there are some great rehab projects if you have the time and inclination that will pay off in about five years.

  1. AP said at 12:42 pm on Friday February 12, 2010:

    I just moved to LeDroit Park in September 2009 and I have had absolutely NO issues with crime, bad neighbors, or unruly teenagers.  The neighborhood is beautiful, people actually stop and say hello, and I feel perfectly safe walking home late at night.  Of course there are always isolated incidents and you should be “street smart” anywhere in this city, but on the whole I would say LeDroit Park is a wonderful place to live.  My suggestion is to BUY BUY BUY!

  1. mona said at 1:41 pm on Sunday February 14, 2010:

    I just brought a great 4 story corner unit house in Bloomingdale/Ledroit(don’t know what the difference is). It was pricy but it is actually two units. I have had no problems at all compared to where I was living in columbia hts where I had 911 on speed dial. I wouldn’t have bought here 4-5 yrs ago but now it is like an oasis. Even my suburban friends come here and just go gagga over the neighborhood

Comments are closed.

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