Rent vs. Buy: West End

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 West End.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences

The Neighborhood

Tucked between Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, West End is a high-rent neighborhood that has become a prime habitat for the downtown employee who does not want a long commute to work. The area is bordered by Rock Creek Park, K Street and Washington Circle, New Hampshire Avenue and 21st Street. Residents can walk to the White House, the State Department, the World Bank and offices along K Street. West End is home to some of the highest-end residential developments in the city, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences, which opened in 2000, as well as Columbia Condominiums and 22West, each luxury condo developments with distinctive architecture. In addition to a number of restaurants and cafes, the neighborhood also has a Trader Joe’s grocery store that residents from neighboring zip codes flock to.

To Buy…

Realtor Michele Wiltse with Lindsay Reishman Real Estate says housing in West End is primarily found in mixed-use buildings, all-condo buildings and some smaller row houses.

“Prices for condos in West End have a very broad range,” Wiltse told UrbanTurf. “One-bedroom condos range from $350,000 to $1.2 million, while two-bedrooms run from $450,000 to over $2 million.”

Currently on the market on the lower end of the one-bedroom range is a one-bed-plus-den condo at 1111 25th Street NW listed for $450,000. The unit is about 800 square feet and the building has a fitness center, 24-hour doorman and a parking garage. Monthly payments for this home are estimated at $2,400 a month with a 20 percent down payment of $90,000 (assuming a 30-year mortgage at 5 percent).

A two-bedroom, 2.5-bath duplex condo in Westminster Court is listed at $619,000. This home is a top-floor unit with garage parking, hardwood flooring, a balcony, skylights, stainless steel appliances, a bay window and a fireplace. Monthly payments are estimated at $3,088 including a condo fee of $388, after a 20 percent down payment of $124,000.

22 West

…Or To Rent?

Rents in West End are among the most expensive in the city. One-bedroom apartments average about $2,925 per month with a smattering of $2,000-per-month units available; two-bedrooms average $4,300.

The Verdict

If you can afford it, our recommendation would be to buy. The rents are absurdly high in West End, and the mortgage payments on many of the one and two-bedroom condos in the neighborhood would be less than renting similarly sized apartments in the area. Unless, of course, you are in the mood to drop over $1 million. But if you are in that category, you don’t even need our advice.

See other articles related to: west end, rent vs buy, dclofts, 22 west

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rent_vs._buy_west_end/1917


  1. mary said at 2:40 pm on Friday March 26, 2010:

    An interesting story on renting in the DC area, tune in tonight on your local NBC News4 at 5.

    Looking for a place to lease in the Washington area?  Prepare to pay.  How does DC rank among other metropolitan areas?  More on this tonight on News4 at 5.

  1. jake said at 1:23 pm on Saturday March 27, 2010:

    Sell! West End is boring as hell

Comments are closed.

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