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Old 10-07-2015, 05:29 PM
 
Location: North Carolina for now....ATL soon.
1,233 posts, read 1,150,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistrictSonic View Post
In this respect the OP has no clue what they are talking about, DC has tons of new developments, more so than any other city in the US as it stands. The problem is where she is looking, what she is looking for, and what her budget is. In DC to get into a new building you need to at least have around $700k, if not more if one is talking about a condo.

Most of these are apartment buildings, not condo buildings. There is a ton of apartment buildings being built, but condos are bit harder to find and tend to be older, especially in the OP price range listed. What may get you a very new A class building or luxury house in Atlanta, will not get you much in DC.

Houses though are limited in terms of growth, there are not many places to build large numbers of them. Again, the price range thing comes up again. The newer houses in Brookland for example START at $800k.

Again, this is a real estate market that the person from Atlanta is not used too. Somebody diving in from a higher COL city like SF, Boston, or NYC would be able to adjust. But Atlanta is comparably cheap, it's a low COL city.
Okay, let me be clear. I am WELL aware that housing prices in D.C. are completely different from Atlanta, as well as the landscape. This is true with most major dense metropolises up the east coast. I've been to Boston, NYC, Philly, etc., and am not naive to that. I was actually a real estate assistant for a short time.

I think my shock with D.C. is, not just the price, but what you GET for the price. A half million dollars for a house that needs work, has nowhere to park, no back yard, old, and the neighborhood is just, OKAY. And this is mostly row houses or semi-detached; not even a SFH in most cases.

And thank you for explaining the limited growth with the SFH home market; this explains a lot. This tells me why there a so very few NEW homes being built. I assume D.C. just doesn't have the space? Therefore, most houses we're looking at are OLD. Like window air conditioning and radiators old. Even when we checked out homes in the $600-700k range just out of curiosity, in much better neighborhoods, I was still left scratching my head.

But this is why I love this forum; I always learn a lot!!
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:42 PM
 
Location: MID ATLANTIC
8,209 posts, read 20,395,010 times
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Yep....my son and his wife bought in Woodbridge 2.5 years ago and now look like they are about to pack it in and head to the burbs. Their home was built in the 1920' on jus over 1/2 acre (largest lot in the neighborhood) and flips and rehabs all around them. When they bought it was a partial rehab. They've had 4 agents in and the range has been 100K. Now they are trying to figure out who's in touch with reality. At least they've made money.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:01 AM
 
Location: DC
2,044 posts, read 2,523,389 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No2Monsanto View Post
Okay, let me be clear. I am WELL aware that housing prices in D.C. are completely different from Atlanta, as well as the landscape. This is true with most major dense metropolises up the east coast. I've been to Boston, NYC, Philly, etc., and am not naive to that. I was actually a real estate assistant for a short time.

I think my shock with D.C. is, not just the price, but what you GET for the price. A half million dollars for a house that needs work, has nowhere to park, no back yard, old, and the neighborhood is just, OKAY. And this is mostly row houses or semi-detached; not even a SFH in most cases.

And thank you for explaining the limited growth with the SFH home market; this explains a lot. This tells me why there a so very few NEW homes being built. I assume D.C. just doesn't have the space? Therefore, most houses we're looking at are OLD. Like window air conditioning and radiators old. Even when we checked out homes in the $600-700k range just out of curiosity, in much better neighborhoods, I was still left scratching my head.

But this is why I love this forum; I always learn a lot!!
Yes, DC is an older city, with older houses, and if you are getting in at $500k you are likely entering mostly older houses which have not been renovated. No matter what you are likely to be moving into an older house in DC. The houses in DC are largely a relatively fixed supply of older homes. The big difference is it's renovation status, and that includes whether or not it has central air. Houses which are renovated usually have it. The radiators though are pretty normal even for renovated houses, they don't get rid of those.

The reason why much of the housing stock in DC is rowhomes, and much of it is old, is space is just not there. In terms of usable footprint, which means places not dedicated to public and national parks, DC is actually below SF, or any other city or county save for Arlington, VA. Most of the city was built up in a limited time frame so the houses reflect that era of construction. Unless you get really lucky, you will likely move into an older row home or semi-detached home for around $500k.

The houses in DC are old, that is what you get. Again any newer house, and there are not many, is either poorly located, or over $800k.

Most homes in DC are row homes, and that is what you get as well, as because of the size of the city, and the era the homes were built (pre-automobile), this is the style of homes which are pervasive. These houses have been there since before WWII for the most part. Some neighborhoods built up a little more later. But row homes are the urban pattern of DC more than any other city.

Again, if you think DC is bad...you have not been to NYC or SF, $500k will not even get you into the market in SF. Boston is pretty comparative in the housing stock is older as well, but a little cheaper. I would not group Philly in on the list, it's a bit different. Yes, it has it's older sections, but it's size would allow for a great deal of new housing.

Once you get into the suburbs, things do change, housing stock is newer, and there are areas which are more in her price range, but the city itself come from the fact the housing stock is largely legacy housing and expensive, especially west of the river.

Also I would not be so quick to determine a more expensive neighborhood as "better". Shaw is more expensive than Takoma, but Takoma is a far safer neighborhood, just less centrally located. Price is a bit deceptive in this area for this reason alone. It's not necessarily indicative of neighborhood quality.

Again, most of us come into buying a house from living in the district for years, and know where to look and what to expect from DC homes. Our expectations are already pretty leveled. Again, if this was 2 years ago, she would have had more options with a $500k budget, but things in DC rapidly change, especially as the city gentrifies. Frankly in another year or two, I do not think any house in NW for example will be less than $700k.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:03 PM
 
Location: North Carolina for now....ATL soon.
1,233 posts, read 1,150,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistrictSonic View Post
Yes, DC is an older city, with older houses, and if you are getting in at $500k you are likely entering mostly older houses which have not been renovated. No matter what you are likely to be moving into an older house in DC. The houses in DC are largely a relatively fixed supply of older homes. The big difference is it's renovation status, and that includes whether or not it has central air. Houses which are renovated usually have it. The radiators though are pretty normal even for renovated houses, they don't get rid of those.

The reason why much of the housing stock in DC is rowhomes, and much of it is old, is space is just not there. In terms of usable footprint, which means places not dedicated to public and national parks, DC is actually below SF, or any other city or county save for Arlington, VA. Most of the city was built up in a limited time frame so the houses reflect that era of construction. Unless you get really lucky, you will likely move into an older row home or semi-detached home for around $500k.

The houses in DC are old, that is what you get. Again any newer house, and there are not many, is either poorly located, or over $800k.

Most homes in DC are row homes, and that is what you get as well, as because of the size of the city, and the era the homes were built (pre-automobile), this is the style of homes which are pervasive. These houses have been there since before WWII for the most part. Some neighborhoods built up a little more later. But row homes are the urban pattern of DC more than any other city.

Again, if you think DC is bad...you have not been to NYC or SF, $500k will not even get you into the market in SF. Boston is pretty comparative in the housing stock is older as well, but a little cheaper. I would not group Philly in on the list, it's a bit different. Yes, it has it's older sections, but it's size would allow for a great deal of new housing.

Once you get into the suburbs, things do change, housing stock is newer, and there are areas which are more in her price range, but the city itself come from the fact the housing stock is largely legacy housing and expensive, especially west of the river.

Also I would not be so quick to determine a more expensive neighborhood as "better". Shaw is more expensive than Takoma, but Takoma is a far safer neighborhood, just less centrally located. Price is a bit deceptive in this area for this reason alone. It's not necessarily indicative of neighborhood quality.

Again, most of us come into buying a house from living in the district for years, and know where to look and what to expect from DC homes. Our expectations are already pretty leveled. Again, if this was 2 years ago, she would have had more options with a $500k budget, but things in DC rapidly change, especially as the city gentrifies. Frankly in another year or two, I do not think any house in NW for example will be less than $700k.
This is very informative; thanks. I used to live in Sacramento, CA. I was in graphic design at the time, and all the good jobs were in SF, which meant I would have had to commute by train 45 minutes to an hour one way each day. I was fresh out of design school, and they wanted to start me at $45k. There was no way I could live off that before taxes in SF unless I was willing to have a roommate. I knew professionals in tech and business that were actually sharing a place in SF because the cost of an apartment was so incredibly expensive; never mind actually buying a home! And this was in 2004. Ridiculous. I've summered in Boston for the last three years, as I have friends that moved back there after we met in Atlanta. My girlfriend and here husband have a two bedroom town home with a loft that's $1800 a month, 35 minutes outside of the city in a beach community called Marshfield. And yes, you guessed it, it's old and needs updating. When I went to visit for the first time, I couldn't believe what they were paying almost $2k for, and it only had 1.5 bathrooms for a family of 4. The kitchen is almost the exact size of my bathroom in NC.

Years later I thought I would try Culinary Arts; after getting accepted to The Art Institute of NYC, I started looking for an apartment with a roommate. My counselor said consider Queens or Long Island, because Manhattan would just not be doable unless I had plenty of money. I answered several ads by phone; I soon learned when someone said "bedroom for rent in a share," that that didn't necessarily mean what I thought it did. Some people were actually renting out their living room space, only separated from the rest of the apartment by a curtain, and you had to use the closet in the hallway for storage! I was shocked. And anybody that knows anything about NYC apartments, a "big closet" is a very relative term. After learning that, I started seeing ads that said "real one bedroom," and suddenly knew what that meant; it meant that it had a door. I never found a "room" for rent under $850, and the whole apartment was sometimes as small as 500 sq ft. That was 10 years ago.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:02 AM
 
Location: DC
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Older home are often structurally better built than anything you can buy today. The systems and building envelope may need updating but at the end you have a beautiful home with character not some ticky tacky tract house. If you want a tract house, there are plenty of suburbs.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:35 AM
 
10,603 posts, read 12,322,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No2Monsanto View Post
This is very informative; thanks. I used to live in Sacramento, CA. I was in graphic design at the time, and all the good jobs were in SF, which meant I would have had to commute by train 45 minutes to an hour one way each day. I was fresh out of design school, and they wanted to start me at $45k. There was no way I could live off that before taxes in SF unless I was willing to have a roommate. I knew professionals in tech and business that were actually sharing a place in SF because the cost of an apartment was so incredibly expensive; never mind actually buying a home! And this was in 2004. Ridiculous. I've summered in Boston for the last three years, as I have friends that moved back there after we met in Atlanta. My girlfriend and here husband have a two bedroom town home with a loft that's $1800 a month, 35 minutes outside of the city in a beach community called Marshfield. And yes, you guessed it, it's old and needs updating. When I went to visit for the first time, I couldn't believe what they were paying almost $2k for, and it only had 1.5 bathrooms for a family of 4. The kitchen is almost the exact size of my bathroom in NC.

Years later I thought I would try Culinary Arts; after getting accepted to The Art Institute of NYC, I started looking for an apartment with a roommate. My counselor said consider Queens or Long Island, because Manhattan would just not be doable unless I had plenty of money. I answered several ads by phone; I soon learned when someone said "bedroom for rent in a share," that that didn't necessarily mean what I thought it did. Some people were actually renting out their living room space, only separated from the rest of the apartment by a curtain, and you had to use the closet in the hallway for storage! I was shocked. And anybody that knows anything about NYC apartments, a "big closet" is a very relative term. After learning that, I started seeing ads that said "real one bedroom," and suddenly knew what that meant; it meant that it had a door. I never found a "room" for rent under $850, and the whole apartment was sometimes as small as 500 sq ft. That was 10 years ago.
If you're looking for a house with vinyl siding which will look rundown in 20 years and is built extremely cheap, you will have to focus in the suburbs. Houses in DC are built to last 100's of years unlike houses in the suburbs which will be run down in 30 years. Brick and stone houses will still be here 200 years from now. Those cheap vinyl siding homes they build down in Atlanta outside of older neighborhoods that are affordable will also be rundown after 30 years. The houses in Atlanta that will last are the older homes close to downtown and midtown Atlanta on small lots that are expensive for Atlanta standards. The reality is, it's always a better investment to buy an older house in, or close to, the core of any city for return on investment if you can afford it and keep it up. "Spend money to make money" is the motto. DC is becoming way more urban and fast. We aren't building houses, we are building highrise's and midrise's everywhere possible. People who want single family homes should look toward the suburbs. If you want new single family homes, you may have to even go out to the exurbs far from the city.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:56 AM
 
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DC's suburbs grew up at the same time the city did, with some of the new suburbs themselves still being in the District. Streetcars brought the first wave and were what caused the farms and orchards north of Florida Avenue to be plowed under for new homes. The classic architecture in various of those areas still survives today. The Depression and WWII fueled a second wave, and post-war growth of the federal government produced a third. Much of the growth in those times did spill out into suburbs outside the District, but many of those pre-1960 suburban homes were very well built. Cookie-cutter tract homes came along at about that time, many basically being contractor-grade, disposable homes built with little real regard for the long-term. Problems with those included cost-cutting construction, but by today's standards, they also featured small everything -- rooms, closets, windows, kitchens -- you name it. Those are the homes that are vanishing today in a wave of tear-down and in-fill. The homes from more than 50 years ago seem to be doing a better job of holding their own.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:28 AM
 
Location: DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reynard32 View Post
DC's suburbs grew up at the same time the city did, with some of the new suburbs themselves still being in the District. Streetcars brought the first wave and were what caused the farms and orchards north of Florida Avenue to be plowed under for new homes. The classic architecture in various of those areas still survives today. The Depression and WWII fueled a second wave, and post-war growth of the federal government produced a third. Much of the growth in those times did spill out into suburbs outside the District, but many of those pre-1960 suburban homes were very well built. Cookie-cutter tract homes came along at about that time, many basically being contractor-grade, disposable homes built with little real regard for the long-term. Problems with those included cost-cutting construction, but by today's standards, they also featured small everything -- rooms, closets, windows, kitchens -- you name it. Those are the homes that are vanishing today in a wave of tear-down and in-fill. The homes from more than 50 years ago seem to be doing a better job of holding their own.
Not every home from post 1960 is bad per se, especially the all brick ones. But that's the thing the building techniques more pervasive in the suburbs tended to really end up leading to disposable homes which require more maintenance as time goes by. Some may look at an all brick row home and wonder how well it holds up, but the technique actually has ended up in fairly sturdy homes that last generations, no matter when they are built. Frankly many of us deal with the smaller, better located, better built house than something massive with rooms that never get used.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:09 PM
 
1,589 posts, read 1,010,526 times
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Originally Posted by DistrictSonic View Post
Not every home from post 1960 is bad per se...
Thank you for spelling "per se" correctly. There should be a medal or something for doing that on C-D. In any case, no, not all homes built since 1960 or so were "bad". But we are forced by the nature of the topic to speak in generalities, and the numbers of suburban tract homes cheaply built for then-current use certainly increased in the area after about that point in time. The "all-brick" construction common in the District and some close-in suburbs in earlier times has indeed held up well and should with proper maintenance continue to do so.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SmartMoney View Post
Yep....my son and his wife bought in Woodbridge 2.5 years ago and now look like they are about to pack it in and head to the burbs. Their home was built in the 1920' on jus over 1/2 acre (largest lot in the neighborhood) and flips and rehabs all around them. When they bought it was a partial rehab. They've had 4 agents in and the range has been 100K. Now they are trying to figure out who's in touch with reality. At least they've made money.
Pretty sure this is referencing me!

We own a 1920s home in Woodridge we bought in 2013. We're likely to list in 2016, early-

Range of suggested list on our property has gone from about $450 - 500k; all of which is appreciably more than we paid. 3bed/2ba, middle of the road condition wise with a larger lot.

I can say with confidence: the DC housing market is pretty ridiculous and Woodridge is on the verge; if we didnt have a reason (new baby) to be leaving, we'd be holding out a bit longer. As Rhode Island Ave improves, Hyattsville improves, and Brookland gets more expensive - Woodridge is only going to escape the "middle of the road" price-point quickly. (personal opinion).

Wish it made sense for us to stay, but it's not in the cards.
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