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Old 01-04-2021, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
921 posts, read 572,747 times
Reputation: 888

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Hi all,
Our oldest daughter is going to Grad School at Loyola. Her second semester starts in late January, but she doesn't really know the area very well as her first semester was fully remote. My wife, daughter and I have made three trips down there and I think we have a decent feel for the neighborhoods in which we would want to be located. Coming from Philadelphia (very similar city) we found it relatively easy to navigate Baltimore and could see and feel where neighborhoods started getting a bit dicey or removed from more vibrant foot traffic. As such, we have narrowed our core neighborhoods to Fells Point, Little Italy, Harbor East, Canton. Note, our daughter will be commuting to Columbia, MD fairly frequently.

We are now in the process of determining if it's more advantageous to purchase a small rowhome (1000 ft. or less) or rent. We're also not opposed to condos, but I've found the monthly HOAs for most to be more than I would want to spend for a student. With mortgage rates under 3% and the housing prices quite reasonable from what I've seen online, it might very well make sense to buy and then start renting to young professionals or students after our daughter graduates. We have a few rentals in Philly so we're not strangers to being landlords. With all this said, based on the below list of wants, are there neighborhoods we are overlooking? Also, please feel free to provide general advice or thoughts on buying vs renting in our position or anything else related to the topic. Thanks!

WANTS (in order of importance)
- Safe neighborhood keeping in mind daughter is familiar with city-living (she went to Temple for undergrad)
- Close-by vibrancy (i.e. restaurants/pubs, parks, inner harbor) with consistent foot traffic
- Acceptable commute to Columbia, MD
- Parking (garage or open-air spot connected to building/rowhome; monthly spot in a nearby surface lot or garage; even permit parking if that means some street spots routinely available within a block or two of house)
- Continued rentability after daughter is done school
- Preferably a close-knit neighborhood that works together and keeps an eye out for one another (Little Italy seemed to have this vibe to me)
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:06 AM
 
2,343 posts, read 1,124,182 times
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Try someplace in the burbs near Columbia. You will pay top dollar in the city. And taxes. Especially in any of those neighborhoods.

That's the trade off, Burbs cheaper and less vibrancy

City, more money.

You should be looking in the northern part of the city near the College.

Last edited by Digger 68; 01-05-2021 at 07:22 AM..
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland
1,621 posts, read 3,791,771 times
Reputation: 2079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger 68 View Post
Try someplace in the burbs near Columbia. You will pay top dollar in the city. And taxes. Especially in any of those neighborhoods.

That's the trade off, Burbs cheaper and less vibrancy

City, more money.

You should be looking in the northern part of the city near the College.
If I'm not mistaken (and looking at mls listings), the 'burbs in or near Columbia, in general, are more expensive than Baltimore City. There are some new build condos and townhomes in Baltimore that are quite pricey, however.
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:17 AM
 
6,883 posts, read 10,438,532 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
Hi all,
Our oldest daughter is going to Grad School at Loyola. Her second semester starts in late January, but she doesn't really know the area very well as her first semester was fully remote. My wife, daughter and I have made three trips down there and I think we have a decent feel for the neighborhoods in which we would want to be located. Coming from Philadelphia (very similar city) we found it relatively easy to navigate Baltimore and could see and feel where neighborhoods started getting a bit dicey or removed from more vibrant foot traffic. As such, we have narrowed our core neighborhoods to Fells Point, Little Italy, Harbor East, Canton. Note, our daughter will be commuting to Columbia, MD fairly frequently.

We are now in the process of determining if it's more advantageous to purchase a small rowhome (1000 ft. or less) or rent. We're also not opposed to condos, but I've found the monthly HOAs for most to be more than I would want to spend for a student. With mortgage rates under 3% and the housing prices quite reasonable from what I've seen online, it might very well make sense to buy and then start renting to young professionals or students after our daughter graduates. We have a few rentals in Philly so we're not strangers to being landlords. With all this said, based on the below list of wants, are there neighborhoods we are overlooking? Also, please feel free to provide general advice or thoughts on buying vs renting in our position or anything else related to the topic. Thanks!

WANTS (in order of importance)
- Safe neighborhood keeping in mind daughter is familiar with city-living (she went to Temple for undergrad)
- Close-by vibrancy (i.e. restaurants/pubs, parks, inner harbor) with consistent foot traffic
- Acceptable commute to Columbia, MD
- Parking (garage or open-air spot connected to building/rowhome; monthly spot in a nearby surface lot or garage; even permit parking if that means some street spots routinely available within a block or two of house)
- Continued rentability after daughter is done school
- Preferably a close-knit neighborhood that works together and keeps an eye out for one another (Little Italy seemed to have this vibe to me)
If she is determined to live in a rowhouse district that has that urban feel like the area surrounding Temple then any of those areas are fine.. As far as safety.. These areas are likely safe(r) than the area around Temple and mostly feature property crimes (not saying that is ok) as they are close to bar/entertainment districts.. there could be your occasional rowdy drunks or muggings..If you are on some of the smaller side streets as opposed to pedestrian thru streets.. then not so much.

Other areas to consider as suggested could be Hampden, Woodberry, Remington, or Charles Village.. They are also rowhouse districts.. residents tend to be older or young families with a nice mix of transplants and newcomers. There is entertainment within walking distance but the area seems less "rowdy" when it comes to bars etc. It is also closer to Loyola to where biking or even walking to campus is not out of the question. These aforementioned neighborhoods are considered to be in North Baltimore, may be a little cheaper than the areas you referenced and are still accessible to 83/Beltway to get down to Columbia via 70 and Hwy 29 if you are coming from North Baltimore.

Good Luck
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:59 AM
 
2,343 posts, read 1,124,182 times
Reputation: 1250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg1963 View Post
If I'm not mistaken (and looking at mls listings), the 'burbs in or near Columbia, in general, are more expensive than Baltimore City. There are some new build condos and townhomes in Baltimore that are quite pricey, however.
Taxes!
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:01 AM
 
2,343 posts, read 1,124,182 times
Reputation: 1250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlands View Post
If she is determined to live in a rowhouse district that has that urban feel like the area surrounding Temple then any of those areas are fine.. As far as safety.. These areas are likely safe(r) than the area around Temple and mostly feature property crimes (not saying that is ok) as they are close to bar/entertainment districts.. there could be your occasional rowdy drunks or muggings..If you are on some of the smaller side streets as opposed to pedestrian thru streets.. then not so much.

Other areas to consider as suggested could be Hampden, Woodberry, Remington, or Charles Village.. They are also rowhouse districts.. residents tend to be older or young families with a nice mix of transplants and newcomers. There is entertainment within walking distance but the area seems less "rowdy" when it comes to bars etc. It is also closer to Loyola to where biking or even walking to campus is not out of the question. These aforementioned neighborhoods are considered to be in North Baltimore, may be a little cheaper than the areas you referenced and are still accessible to 83/Beltway to get down to Columbia via 70 and Hwy 29 if you are coming from North Baltimore.

Good Luck
The northern part of the city out of towners always overlook. Harbor, Harbor, harbor.......
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
921 posts, read 572,747 times
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Thanks for the input and additional neighborhood suggestions everyone. @Woodlands, I took on zillow at the additional neighborhoods you suggested and it seems like housing is quite a bit more expensive, much larger, and generally more geared toward families (I realize you did mention this). I'm really looking for much smaller housing with easier access to entertainment and social situations where a 22 year old might find peers and friends.

@Digger 68, I don't think the suburbs near Columbia will work for us. Unless my research has led me astray, it seems like the suburbs near Columbia are very suburban, bordering on rural, and are not places where a 22-year-old transplant will be able to assimilate easily. And, while the city real estate taxes are a bit steeper than I expected for a smallish modest rowhome, I don't consider 3/4k to be outrageous - especially considering the cost of housing from what I've seen is extremely reasonable.

A few posters suggested I look in the northern neighborhoods. Is there a reason for this? I google mapped commutes to the Loyola Grad campus at Columbia and it seems like the commute from say Fells Point vs. the areas around Johns Hopkins are basically the same. In fact, it looks like directions from further north take you right through the harbor area to get on 395 and then 95S in order to reach Columbia.

Finally, I do want to rent this property after my daughter is done school. From what I've researched, it looks like rentals go quickly and for a premium down by the Harbor as opposed to other locations in the city.
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:06 PM
 
1,774 posts, read 3,165,659 times
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Otterbein and Federal Hill are by the Harbor and are located near I-95.

If your daughter is an Eagles fan, she can watch the Eagles play at MaGerks, an Eagles bar in Federal Hill.

https://www.magerkspub.com/federal-hill
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:06 PM
 
330 posts, read 122,088 times
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I'm not sure how wise an idea this is no matter how tempting the low interest rates are.

If your daughter is in a typical 2-year MA program, what will you do with the property after she leaves Baltimore? Philadelphia people rarely stay in Baltimore, they tend to drift back northwards or head for DC for the jobs and high salaries. Do you want to be a long distance landlord?

Federal Hill is another harbor neighborhood long popular with young professionals in their 20s and has many rentals. That could be your market. Houses are cheaper on average than Canton, but also tend to be smaller (older, more alley houses, more tiny houses similar to the Philadelphia trinities, whereas Canton was built at a time of large scale home construction with greater uniformity in scale, and once you factor that in you realize prices are comparable. But Federal Hill is closer to Columbia. There's a constant churn of young 20somethings renting in Federal Hill right out of college but it also means rents are very competitive and no one is getting rich from it.

The real concern, more than anything else, is lack of appreciation and even declines. Federal Hill's values are stagnant and despite today's hot market prices are flat with quite a few still selling at losses, in some cases significant losses. Canton is also not immune. Maybe this will change in the future but who knows. Baltimore's real estate is not likely to ever see the rapid appreciation found in, say, DC. Because of the high closing and selling costs you do risk losing a bit of money if selling within five years. This can be offset if your daughter lives in the house while renting out the second or third bedroom to other likeminded grad students/young professionals, but on the other hand, it may be easier for your daughter to just find a shared house instead. That way she can leave anytime she needs to and you aren't faced with the hassles of home ownership or selling the house or finding tenants.

If I was serious about buying a house as a potential longer term investment I would be looking in Hampden. It's close to the Loyola campus, has the hipster bars and restaurants and is probably Baltimore's "safest" urban neighborhood. It's Baltimore's version of Manayunk and abuts some wealthy parts of town and is also popular with Hopkins grad students along with young and even not so young professionals. Long term appreciation is perhaps more reliable in Hampden than the waterfront. Zip is 21211.
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
921 posts, read 572,747 times
Reputation: 888
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
I'm not sure how wise an idea this is no matter how tempting the low interest rates are.

If your daughter is in a typical 2-year MA program, what will you do with the property after she leaves Baltimore? Philadelphia people rarely stay in Baltimore, they tend to drift back northwards or head for DC for the jobs and high salaries. Do you want to be a long distance landlord?

Federal Hill is another harbor neighborhood long popular with young professionals in their 20s and has many rentals. That could be your market. Houses are cheaper on average than Canton, but also tend to be smaller (older, more alley houses, more tiny houses similar to the Philadelphia trinities, whereas Canton was built at a time of large scale home construction with greater uniformity in scale, and once you factor that in you realize prices are comparable. But Federal Hill is closer to Columbia. There's a constant churn of young 20somethings renting in Federal Hill right out of college but it also means rents are very competitive and no one is getting rich from it.

The real concern, more than anything else, is lack of appreciation and even declines. Federal Hill's values are stagnant and despite today's hot market prices are flat with quite a few still selling at losses, in some cases significant losses. Canton is also not immune. Maybe this will change in the future but who knows. Baltimore's real estate is not likely to ever see the rapid appreciation found in, say, DC. Because of the high closing and selling costs you do risk losing a bit of money if selling within five years. This can be offset if your daughter lives in the house while renting out the second or third bedroom to other likeminded grad students/young professionals, but on the other hand, it may be easier for your daughter to just find a shared house instead. That way she can leave anytime she needs to and you aren't faced with the hassles of home ownership or selling the house or finding tenants.

If I was serious about buying a house as a potential longer term investment I would be looking in Hampden. It's close to the Loyola campus, has the hipster bars and restaurants and is probably Baltimore's "safest" urban neighborhood. It's Baltimore's version of Manayunk and abuts some wealthy parts of town and is also popular with Hopkins grad students along with young and even not so young professionals. Long term appreciation is perhaps more reliable in Hampden than the waterfront. Zip is 21211.
Thank you - very good points in the above post. Guess there's lots for me to think about here in renting vs buying. I'll look into Federal Hill in more detail (thanks to both NJ2MD and DBXtoFL for that neighborhood reco).
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