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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:32 PM
 
706 posts, read 1,255,838 times
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I am pretty new to the DC area and looking at home prices close to Arlington, VA and Fort Washington comes up with beautiful homes for the same price as a 1 or 2 bedroom condo in Arlington, VA. Usually when something is too good to be true, it is. I know PG county has been hit by foreclosures and the scores aren't as good-but how bad can it be for the price?

Thanks in advance for any feedback and your time. Always appreciated.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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There is real value to be had in Fort Washington and other parts of Prince George's County. Like every area, however, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Among the advantages compared to Arlington:
-Prices per square foot of home and per acre of yard are far lower
-Commute time can be relatively good (depending on your ultimate destination)
-Waterfront and waterviews at a fraction of the cost of Arlington or Alexandria
-I think Fort Washington has a more attractive landscape than Arlington, especially in the waterfront areas (YMMV)
-This might provoke a minor riot here, but neighborhood scout indicates that crime rates per 1000 residents are lower in Fort Washington than in Arlington (the violent crime rate of Ft Washington is half that of Arlington). They give Arlington a lower crime index, though, I presume because the two communities aren't comparable in terms of size. I gather there have been some criticisms of Neighborhood Scout's data.

Among the disadvantages compared to Arlington:
-Arlington is widely regarded as having a far superior school system
-Fort Washington has far fewer options for retail and grocery shopping.
-Arlington reportedly has some better services like public libraries

So why do properties in PG county sell at such a discount? This is just speculation, but I think there are a number of factors.
-First and foremost, I think are the schools. Houses in good school districts sell at a premium. This is probably a major reason for the "discounted" price of houses in PG County.
-Arlington is more convenient to some major employers, such as the pentagon.
-Prince George's County gets a lot of bad press, giving people the idea that it is a high-crime area. By the numbers, there is high crime in PG, but my own view is that the relevant number is the crime rate in your neighborhood, not your county or city. DC's overall crime rate shouldn't matter much if you live in Georgetown, and PG County's overall rate shouldn't matter much if you live in Fort Washington.
-I think that some people don't want to buy in Fort Washington because it is a predominantly African-American neighborhood.

If good public schools are a big issue for you, you should check out the specific schools your kids would attend and decide if they'll meet your standards. If walking to Harris Teeter or Whole Foods is important to you, Fort Washington probably isn't where you want to live. If schools and retail aren't the major factors for you, you may find that Fort Washington and other places in PG County have a lot to offer you.
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:53 AM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 13,147,642 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblingMan View Post
There is real value to be had in Fort Washington and other parts of Prince George's County. Like every area, however, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Among the advantages compared to Arlington:
-Prices per square foot of home and per acre of yard are far lower
-Commute time can be relatively good (depending on your ultimate destination)
-Waterfront and waterviews at a fraction of the cost of Arlington or Alexandria
-I think Fort Washington has a more attractive landscape than Arlington, especially in the waterfront areas (YMMV)
-This might provoke a minor riot here, but neighborhood scout indicates that crime rates per 1000 residents are lower in Fort Washington than in Arlington (the violent crime rate of Ft Washington is half that of Arlington). They give Arlington a lower crime index, though, I presume because the two communities aren't comparable in terms of size. I gather there have been some criticisms of Neighborhood Scout's data.

Among the disadvantages compared to Arlington:
-Arlington is widely regarded as having a far superior school system
-Fort Washington has far fewer options for retail and grocery shopping.
-Arlington reportedly has some better services like public libraries

So why do properties in PG county sell at such a discount? This is just speculation, but I think there are a number of factors.
-First and foremost, I think are the schools. Houses in good school districts sell at a premium. This is probably a major reason for the "discounted" price of houses in PG County.
-Arlington is more convenient to some major employers, such as the pentagon.
-Prince George's County gets a lot of bad press, giving people the idea that it is a high-crime area. By the numbers, there is high crime in PG, but my own view is that the relevant number is the crime rate in your neighborhood, not your county or city. DC's overall crime rate shouldn't matter much if you live in Georgetown, and PG County's overall rate shouldn't matter much if you live in Fort Washington.
-I think that some people don't want to buy in Fort Washington because it is a predominantly African-American neighborhood.

If good public schools are a big issue for you, you should check out the specific schools your kids would attend and decide if they'll meet your standards. If walking to Harris Teeter or Whole Foods is important to you, Fort Washington probably isn't where you want to live. If schools and retail aren't the major factors for you, you may find that Fort Washington and other places in PG County have a lot to offer you.
I co-sign with everything you said and I also would like to add besides the beautiful waterfront in Fort Washington, there is also a marina, a National Park, and it is close to the National Harbor. Certainly there are pluses and minuses as RamblingMan stated, but if pricing per square footage is your number one priority, then this is a good fit for you.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:48 AM
 
72 posts, read 436,597 times
Reputation: 61
Default I know people hate a fact poster

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshawg1 View Post
I am pretty new to the DC area and looking at home prices close to Arlington, VA and Fort Washington comes up with beautiful homes for the same price as a 1 or 2 bedroom condo in Arlington, VA. Usually when something is too good to be true, it is. I know PG county has been hit by foreclosures and the scores aren't as good-but how bad can it be for the price?

Thanks in advance for any feedback and your time. Always appreciated.

Dshawg1,

I'm here to just post the facts for Fort Washington/Arlington, and the United States just to give you a fair comparative perspective. I'll stick to two categories; Education and Income

Education Attainment Level: Bachelors Degree or Higher

United States - 27%
Maryland - 35%
Virginia - 33%
Fort Washington - 38%
Arlington - 68%

Median Household Income
(2009 estimates taken from Census data)

United States -$51,425
Maryland - $69,475
Virginia - $60,316
Fort Washington - $102,907
Arlington - $93,806


Fort Washington CDP, Maryland - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder


Here are verified facts. It is safe to say the following about Fort Washington, MD

  • Fact - Fort Washington Maryland median income is both higher than the State and National Income
  • Fact - Fort Washington, Maryland has a higher percentage of college graduates than both the state and national averages
It is also safe to say the following about Arlington, VA
  • Fact - Arlington, Virginia median income is both higher than the State and National Income
  • Fact -Arlington, Virginia has a higher percentage of college graduates than both the state and national averages

Last edited by factcheckerdude; 12-14-2010 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:07 PM
 
Location: 5 years in Southern Maryland, USA
791 posts, read 2,681,730 times
Reputation: 460
Arlington overall also commands a premium price because it is extremely convenient to D.C. being on a Metrorail line as well as two bicycle trails to D.C., it's convenient to the Pentagon and National Airport, and it has a thriving nightlife and social scene (especially along the Blue Line metro) and the Potomac River psychologically separates it from the crime aspects of D.C.

The Fort Washington zip-code covers a very large area. Parts of it include garden-apartment projects up closer to the Beltway (Tucker Road and Brinkley Road have Fort Washington mailing addresses). Regarding the comment about libraries, the Oxon Hill public library is excellent, having been completely remodeled in 2005. Fort Washington also has a year-round ice-rink, a beautiful National Park good for walking/ jogging, a YMCA, a country-club, and a community theater group. However, if you have children and are any race except African-American, they will feel very out of place socially in any of the public schools. Just about all white children of Fort Washington attend private/ parochial schools. (There is also a Filipino community). Also, Fort Washington is somewhat inconvenient to colleges/ Universities and fine culture.

Last edited by slowlane; 12-14-2010 at 08:16 PM..
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:28 PM
 
429 posts, read 1,113,164 times
Reputation: 513
You make some good points, but I find myself wondering about the comment that "if you have children and are any race except African-American, they will feel very out of place socially in any of the public schools." If true, this deeply saddens me. I would hope most people are beyond that, particularly our younger generation.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:38 AM
 
512 posts, read 1,562,755 times
Reputation: 222
Speaking as an African american, I think that could be the case as well. I hate to admit it, but central and southern P.G. are mainly dominated by African Americans. I wouldn't consider P.G. a racist place to live, but if your not use to living in an African American community then you might feel alittle left out. Usually I suggest for diversity Northern P.G. is good for that. Usually anything past exit 17 on 495 is pretty diverse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblingMan View Post
You make some good points, but I find myself wondering about the comment that "if you have children and are any race except African-American, they will feel very out of place socially in any of the public schools." If true, this deeply saddens me. I would hope most people are beyond that, particularly our younger generation.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:46 AM
 
72 posts, read 436,597 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by factcheckerdude View Post
Dshawg1,

I'm here to just post the facts for Fort Washington/Arlington, and the United States just to give you a fair comparative perspective. I'll stick to two categories; Education and Income

Education Attainment Level: Bachelors Degree or Higher

United States - 27%
Maryland - 35%
Virginia - 33%
Fort Washington - 38%
Arlington - 68%

Median Household Income
(2009 estimates taken from Census data)

United States -$51,425
Maryland - $69,475
Virginia - $60,316
Fort Washington - $102,907
Arlington - $93,806


Fort Washington CDP, Maryland - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder


Here are verified facts. It is safe to say the following about Fort Washington, MD

  • Fact - Fort Washington Maryland median income is both higher than the State and National Income
  • Fact - Fort Washington, Maryland has a higher percentage of college graduates than both the state and national averages
It is also safe to say the following about Arlington, VA
  • Fact - Arlington, Virginia median income is both higher than the State and National Income
  • Fact -Arlington, Virginia has a higher percentage of college graduates than both the state and national averages

Median Home Value (2009 estimates taken from Census data)


United States -$185,400
Maryland - $326,400
Virginia - $247,100
Fort Washington - $388,900
Arlington - $565,100

As you can see the DC/Merto Area compared to the rest of the United States carries a significant premium in terms of home values no matter where you live.

Facts:

Fort Washington, Maryland has home prices that are 2.09x's the national average

Arlington, Virginia has home prices that are 3.04x's the national average.
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