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Old 10-31-2006, 10:08 PM
 
19 posts, read 84,420 times
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Hello,

My brother plans to live in Alexandria and claims you can't move anywhere else comparable near by, for less than what he's planning on paying.

450,000 house, interest-only payments of 3,200/mo.

Can this be true?

He claims all other cities that would be cheaper are a "ghetto" or too hard to get to the city.

I think his priorities are askew. I know from livig in large metro's that you can get a really niced place for decent prices if you turn down your "wants" a bit and focus on needs. Like an older neighborhood with older houses.

Can anyone help me understand how this can be true?
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
566 posts, read 2,822,453 times
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In my opinion it is not true. There are many areas around here where it's not "too hard" to get to the city or that aren't "ghettos," but it's all a matter of opinion. His priotities probably aren't askew, they're just different than what yours or mine are.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:46 AM
 
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For a single family house inside the beltway, that is a good deal. For under 400k he could probably get an older townhouse. Working in D.C., he is smart to stay close by. Traffic is horrible.

Housing is cheaper on the P.G. County side, but it is mostly ghetto.

Check out the prices, it really is that expensive here.

As for the interest-only payments... bad idea. Why doesn't he just rent?
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:55 PM
 
321 posts, read 1,465,723 times
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Well, it depends on where he's expecting to live. It's probably pretty accurate for Old Town area, but if he could head out a little further to the older neighborhoods -- and there are plenty in Alexandria -- he could do better. Where is he going to be working?

I second that about PG County. I grew up there and it's just hateful now. It's really close to Alexandria, just across the Wilson Bridge, but getting across is tough. I managed simply because I was actually on the Beltway for only about 7 miles.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:06 PM
 
19 posts, read 84,420 times
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Default Pricey housing

Thanks for the reply. He's working in DC. I would personally move to a different metro. Those prices are astronomical.

So what are some safe neighborhoods that are older?

Also, I believe it is a townhouse or condo that is in the 400,000's.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:31 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,685,801 times
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A townhouse in the 400s is sadly, the norm in this area. Townhomes start at around 350K even in suburbs some 30 miles from DC and those that are cheaper generally are in shadier areas. Alexandria is a generally desirable location given it's location and access to public transportation, and tends to be pricier, particularly in housing prices so it wouldn't surprise me if 450K is the cheapest townhouse he could find in a decent neighborhood as awful as that may be.
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Old 11-03-2006, 12:34 PM
 
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So what would alternative neighborhoods be?
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:09 AM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,685,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crappinatbernies View Post
So what would alternative neighborhoods be?
I suppose viable alternative neighborhoods and cities are subjective on a good number of things. You mentioned that any cheaper place he was able to find, he qualified as either "ghetto" or "too difficult to get into the city". Those are both subjective as some people regard areas that are anything but immaculate planned newly-constructed subdivisions as "ghetto". Similarly, people have different tolerance levels for commuting into the city, so what may be "too difficult" for one person, is no big deal for the other.

As far as the ghetto thing goes, I've said it before and I'll say it again. There are no true ghettos in Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia is incredibly safe. It's not the sort of place where you have to fear drive-bys or (for the most part) carjackings and armed robberies. There are definitely shadier neighborhoods in Northern Virginia and these areas tend to have higher petty crime (things like vandalism, smashed windows and break-ins) and tend to just be more intimidating in terms of looking a bit more rundown, not as well-maintained with peeling paint and overgrown lawns and some trash spewn about, and young men loitering in large groups. The average Washingtonian, New Yorker, Angeleno, etc. would crack up however if they heard these areas referred to as the ghetto. Of course, if you have the money to avoid these shadier areas, it's best to do so, but in living in these areas, you won't be taking your life into your own hands as you would in other areas' bad neighborhoods. It would mostly be quality of life issues (i.e. lack of parking, trash spewn about, loud music playing, unruly teenagers, vandalism, etc.).

As for commuting, Alexandria is in a terrific location, with Metro access and good access to roads getting into DC. Once you get outside of Arlington and Alexandria, commuting becomes a bit trickier. While the option to take the Metro is there, oftentimes it is only efficient and beneficial for those who live within two miles or so of the Metro station (which are few and far between for those living 10 miles or further from DC).

While 450K for a townhouse may sound insane, truthfully, I think that's a pretty good deal for Alexandria and while you may find some difference in pricing the further out you move, it's not as pronounced as one would think and you have to compromise in other areas. I live in Ashburn, a community 35 miles to the West of DC in Loudoun County. The nearest Metro station is 35 minutes away in NON-rush hour traffic so therefore no one uses it because it winds up wasting time. Commutes into DC therefore run 45-50 minutes during non-rush hour and anywhere from one hour to an hour and a half during daily rush hour. Townhomes all the way out here, start at 350K. In much of the outer Beltway, standard townhouses go for similar prices, at 350K-450K. So when you factor in the cost in both gas and time wasted commuting between a distant more affordable suburb versus Alexandria, the difference in prices aren't as pronounced. In the end however, it's about where your priorities lie. Is the extra hour or two every day of free time, and less stress-induced time spent on the region's clogged roadways worth the added cost? For some people, it is, while for other (perhaps your brother) it isn't.
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:09 PM
 
19 posts, read 84,420 times
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WOW! Thanks for the great response. You've helped me understand a little better life around DC.

So do you feel that income is higher to meet the cost of living demands in the DC area?
Or is there just a lot more debt?
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
566 posts, read 2,822,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crappinatbernies View Post
WOW! Thanks for the great response. You've helped me understand a little better life around DC.

So do you feel that income is higher to meet the cost of living demands in the DC area?
Or is there just a lot more debt?
Income is higher because the job force here is one of the most highly educated in the country. Couple that with the fact that there are more jobs here than there are people and you can see why many neighborhoods in the area have well over six-figure average incomes.
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