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The Push East: Trinidad, The Next Frontier

  • February 15, 2010

by Tim Brown

Please see our 2013 updated profile on Trinidad here:

Trinidad: The Difference 5 Years Makes

Sweeping east across the District, the real estate gold rush has taken developers and speculators to such long-forgotten neighborhoods as Columbia Heights and Trinidad…

The Push East: Trinidad, The Next Frontier: Figure 1
Row houses in Trinidad

The above excerpt was taken from a 2005 Washington Post article when the real estate boom was in full swing and no parcel of land or DC neighborhood looked undevelopable. As part of this boom, investors and brave home buyers began purchasing abandoned shells off of pure speculation in the Northeast DC neighborhood known as Trinidad (map).

In 2005 alone, property tax assessments rose 33 percent in Trinidad, the largest increase of any DC neighborhood, and the future looked bright for a zip code primarily known for its crime level, not its housing inventory.

However, as the real estate market went into a tailspin, planned condo developments never materialized, public investment funds that would have improved the community quickly dried up, and home values plummeted back to earth. Because there were far fewer buyers than during bubble periods, its real estate would not see much activity.

The Push East: Trinidad, The Next Frontier: Figure 2
Trinidad by Moravsky Vrabec

Now, buyers are back, moving at a frenzied pace to take advantage of government incentives and low interest rates, and even neighborhoods that were once thought to be “transitional” have proved to be too competitive for many first-time buyers. These buyers are once again turning to neighborhoods that they normally would not have considered, Trinidad among them.

The statistics speak for themselves. According to realtor Serwa Agyeman, 78 properties were sold in Trinidad in 2009, up significantly from 2008 when just 47 properties sold. Most of the home buying activity is concentrated along the southwest portion of the neighborhood that straddles Florida Avenue. This area is lined with brick-front row houses mostly occupied by long-time homeowners, but now also attracting first-timers who consider the properties to be good deals. (The average price for a home in Trinidad hovers around $200,000.)

Bryan Crawford cites the architecture as one of the main reasons he decided to buy in the neighborhood.

“You can tell Trinidad has great potential just by looking at the houses,” Crawford told UrbanTurf. “It has basically every style of house that you can find in other areas of the city, from Colonial to Victorian to Contemporary.”

Although he says the neighborhood’s crime initially made him hesitant, he is single with no kids and found that the area is very block-by-block, with some streets feeling safer than others.

The Push East: Trinidad, The Next Frontier: Figure 3
Homes along Morse Street in Trinidad

We would be remiss if we didn’t write about the historically high crime level in Trinidad as it is unfortunately what many people associate with the neighborhood. This reputation was only bolstered in 2008 when DC police set up military-like checkpoints at select intersections after a spate of shootings. Crime, particularly homicides, dropped off noticeably in the past year, though. The Washington Times reported in December that there had not been a murder reported in the neighborhood since October 2008.

Beyond a drop in crime and affordable housing stock, there are several other factors that make Trinidad attractive. Its proximity to downtown and the New York Avenue Metro station make it convenient for downtown commuters. The resurgence of neighboring H Street has been well-documented and some of the area’s reputation has rubbed off on Trinidad. Streetcar tracks are already being laid along H Street that would give Trinidad and the surrounding area direct access to another form of transit.

While we don’t expect Whole Foods to set up shop anytime soon, if you’re looking for value and long-term investment potential, Trinidad may be the place.

See other articles related to: trinidad, hoods

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_push_east_trinidad_the_next_frontier/1782

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