Home owners in the D.C. region don’t want to spend much time in their cars. At least that’s what we’ve learned after reviewing the 2013 housing market data.
With the help of RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of Rockville-based MRIS, we crunched last year’s numbers to get a sense of where sellers and buyers fared best in this area. We found a few surprises – Springfield and Hyattsville – and got confirmation of what we’ve long suspected. (Great Falls is an expensive place to live.)
But after speaking with a number of real estate agents to find out what they had to say about the market, one term we kept hearing was “walkability.” At every income level, home owners seem to want to walk or take public transportation to where they need to go. They’re tired of being stuck in their cars. The push to move outside the Beltway to buy a bigger house is in the past. These days buyers are sacrificing space for shorter commutes.
“With walkability, you don’t necessarily need a car in this city,” said Christie Weiss of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “We’ve been such a car-oriented city. Now we’re developing more of an urban culture where it’s okay not to have a car.”
To give a sense of what’s happening where, we’ve broken down the data by Zip code to show which places favored buyers and which ones favored sellers based days on market, median sale price and price per square foot and included insights by real estate agents who know these areas best. We also show how the region as a whole fared in these categories. To see a complete breakdown of the 2013 Washington D.C. region housing data by Zip code, click here.
Great Falls, 22066: “Great Falls is very desirable for its larger home sites and wooded acres,” Mark McFadden of Washington Fine Properties said. “It also offers amazing restaurants and River Bend Country Club for golf and tennis. . . . In addition, it is well located just 15 miles from the nation’s capital and the Dulles tech corridor with easy access to Dulles International Airport and National Airport.”
West End, 20037: “There are a number of things going on, especially north of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Christopher Ritzert of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty said. “Most of the properties are newer construction, starting with the Ritz Carlton. That really ratcheted up the quality of construction and amenities available in the neighborhood. . . . People want to be downtown. They want to be in buildings where they have services.”
Mount Pleasant & Columbia Heights, 20010: Mount Pleasant “feels like some of the more upper Northwest neighborhoods, but it really is still more affordable, especially for what you get,” Mandy Mills of Coldwell Banker said. “You look at places like Logan and Dupont and U Street, and you’re going to pay more for those areas than you will for Columbia Heights. … Everything that’s happening on 11th Street, locally owned, really chic slash hip slash divey bar fun places, I think that’s a huge draw. Our friends and clients from Logan and Dupont are walking up or cabbing up or Ubering up to go out on 11th Street. I think that is a real shift.”
Hyattsville, 20783: “We’ve stabilized in this area as far as the market goes,” Kimberly James of Long & Foster said. “This area in particular has a lot of things that are happening that make it desirable. We have the Route 1 corridor plan being worked on. We have the Purple Line. We have a new magnet school in College Park. Hyattsville’s old town has been renovated. There’s just a lot of stuff going on that makes it very attractive.”
Springfield, 22151: Buyers “like the fact that it’s a single-family home,” Lorraine Arora of Long & Foster said. “A single family home that’s affordable and you have a little bit of a yard. Plus, the [Springfield] mall rehab, they’re going to make it a lot like a town center. People look at walkability.”
Greenbelt, 20770: “Overwhelming the sales are condos,” Ariana Loucas of Re/Max Specialists said. “That’s why it’s popular. The price bracket is affordable. And the accessibility to the Metro and to D.C., it’s just off 295. Whether you’re driving or want the Metro, it’s a great location. . . . A lot of people like the convenience of D.C. or northern Virginia, but they don’t necessarily like the pricing so it’s a good alternative.”
Indian Head, 20640: “There are really no community amenities down there,” said Emerick Peace of Keller Williams Preferred Properties. “There are no sit-down restaurants to speak of. So in order to do anything, you wind up driving back up to Waldorf, back up [Route] 301. That [Route] 210 Indian Head corridor, once you get past [Route] 228, it becomes what I call the dead zone. . . . Those next seven miles feel like 20 miles. There’s not a lot of traffic. It’s just not a scenic drive. It’s the epitome of a country mile, let me put it that way.”
Crownsville, 21032: Despite being close to the water (Severn River), close to Baltimore and D.C. and near an airport, Crownsville is a town stuck in the 1990s era of big homes on big lots. “I don’t know that our average buyer today and certainly our younger buyers are not looking for that size and maintenance of homes or land,” Kathy Brooks of Coldwell Banker said. “Everything is cyclical. Tastes change. I truly believe that it will come back at some point. But right now I think we’ve moved away from it. It was just affordability. Big houses have big electric bills and big landscaping bills.”
To see a complete breakdown of the 2013 Washington D.C. region housing data by Zip code, click here.
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