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The Cost of Buying: Comparing Condo Purchases in DC vs. Arlington

  • March 1, 2012

by Shilpi Paul

Recently, UrbanTurf reader Navid Choudhury came to us with an intriguing request: help him determine the cost-of-living difference between buying a condo in DC versus Virginia. Choudhury was concerned that the significant difference in income tax (DC’s rate is 2.75% higher than Virginia) would make a big difference in his monthly budget. He was also weighing a few other variables, like the cost of food, owning a car, and property taxes.

So, we narrowed down the circumstances and went about crunching the numbers.

For our calculations, we compared two married couples living in two-bedroom condos, one in Clarendon and one in DC. We assumed that both offered a 20 percent down payment, and that the DC residents will live in walking or bicycling distance of work. Our income tax rates came from here, our property tax information for Virginia from here, and for DC from here. We also took into account the Homestead Exemption for DC residents, which lowers the assessed value of the home by $67,500 for tax purposes.

Here is what we found:

The Cost of Buying: Comparing Condo Purchases in DC vs. Arlington: Figure 1

All told, it looks like a difference of about $10 a month. However, if we were to factor in bus and Metro transportation in DC, that would add $70-$80 in commuting costs, making DC more expensive. (We also didn’t consider that state income tax may be deducted from federal tax returns.) There are a couple other factors that would impact the final number, like differing insurance rates and the higher restaurant tax in DC. But for these hypothetical couples, the budget almost balances out.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_cost_of_buying_comparing_life_with_a_condo_in_dc_vs._clarendon/5218

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