Most expensive homes sold in the D.C. area in 2021

The region saw another record-setting price with the sale of River View for $48 million

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The luxury housing market in the Washington region has popped like a champagne cork in the past few years. Prices are skyrocketing. Houses that once would have sat on the market for a year or two are now going under contract within weeks, if not days.
The luxury housing market in the Washington region has popped like a champagne cork in the past few years. Prices are skyrocketing. Houses that once would have sat on the market for a year or two are now going under contract within weeks, if not days. (Jag_cz/iStock/Getty Images)
correction

A previous version of this article had the incorrect address and photo of the third-most expensive home sold. The address is 2850 Woodland Dr. in Washington, not 2860 Woodland Dr. This article has been corrected..

Much like the rest of the housing market in the Washington area, the luxury market exploded the past few years. Prices are skyrocketing. Houses that once would have sat on the market for a year or two are now going under contract within weeks, if not days.

“I always have defined the luxury market as over $5 million,” said Heather Corey, a senior vice president at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “But what I am seeing now, I think what we’re all seeing, is these numbers over $10 million — which used to be a little bit scary when you got a listing up there — now we’re seeing them in the $20 [million], $30 [million], $40 million [range], and they’re not as scary. And they used to take forever to sell, and they’re not taking forever to sell.”

Corey was the listing agent on the most expensive house ever sold in the area. River View, once part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate on the Potomac River, sold for a record $48 million last fall. The sale surpassed the previous record set in 2020, $45 million for the late Jim Kimsey estate in McLean, Va. Two years before that sale, the Merrywood estate in Virginia sold for $43 million.

On this year’s list of most expensive homes sold in the D.C. region, which was compiled with the help of Black Knight and Bright MLS, nine of the 10 properties sold for $10 million or more, tying last year’s record for the most eight-figure sales in one year. Only residential properties with houses were considered. Multifamily residential and commercial sales were not included.

Washington’s high-end market still pales in comparison with New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Silicon Valley. But gone are the days when D.C. was a government town on a GS pay scale. Although private wealth has been increasing for some time now, the past couple years have seen a surge of affluent individuals.

“Honestly, in the last two years, it’s been the wealth effect of the stock market,” Corey said. “There’s so much money chasing so little inventory right now.”

Corey admits three or four years ago, she would not have priced River View at $60 million. But even at that price, five people qualified to view the property and she received two letters of intent to purchase the property in less than a year.

“We priced it where we did because we saw the momentum in the market,” she said. “We saw that the pool of buyers for that kind of property had really grown.”

One of the reasons River View commanded such a high price is because it is on the Potomac River, as were the two previous record-holding properties.

“It all comes back to scarcity,” Corey said. “How many waterfront properties do we have here? Not that many. … People are enamored with water.”

But River View also had something neither of the two McLean estates had.

“In this case, those other homes that sold did not have direct water access for boating,” Corey said. “Many of the people who looked at it liked the idea of having their own boat there.”

As the sale of River View and other properties in the multimillion-dollar range show, the luxury market has flipped from being a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market as the fear of missing out is causing high-end buyers to snap up properties.

“This is the first time in my over 40-plus-year career — I think all the partners at TTR would agree — I’ve seen limited inventory in this price range,” Corey said. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the amount of buyers in that price range.”

The buyers tend to be local and not from outside the DMV. Although Corey said she had two international buyers express interest in River View, the ultimate buyer was someone who grew up in the area, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder. Washington hasn’t seen an influx of international buyers like some parts of the country have.

“Of course, there’s the crypto billionaires, which we haven’t seen a lot of,” Corey said. “But we’ve seen a little bit of, not billionaires, but people making money there.”

Home sales at prices just below what is considered the luxury market these days have also ballooned. Sales of houses priced $5 million-plus have gone from 25 in 2019, to 45 in 2020, to 88 in 2021, according to Bright MLS data. Sales of houses prices between $2 million and $4.9 million have gone from 850 in 2020 to 1,417 in 2021.

The pandemic hasn’t really changed what luxury buyers are seeking when buying a house. Just as before covid-19, they want security, privacy and space. But the supply-chain disruptions have made them less willing to buy fixer-uppers.

“They would rather [have] move-in [ready] than build,” Corey said. “Everybody seems to want it now. Whereas before, the project of building the dream luxury home for themselves was part of the process and they wanted that, they wanted that customization. That’s definitely shifted.”

Next year could be just as strong in the luxury market. Three sales for more than $10 million have already been recorded in the first two months this year, three listings for $10 million or more are under contract, and eight properties are on the market for $20 million or more. Corey doesn’t see the luxury market slowing down anytime soon.

“I think the wealth is there,” she said. “If we can get enough inventory, it would be stronger than last year. I would be excited to get another high-end property on the market this year. I think I can sell it much faster than I thought the last time I put one on.”

$48 million

(List price $60 million)

7979 E. Boulevard Dr., Alexandria, Va.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 7/13
  • Square footage: 16,000
  • Lot size: 16.5 acres
  • Listing agent: Heather Corey, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Features: The property, known as River View, was once part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. This portion of the property remained in Washington’s family until 1859. The newly constructed, Federal-style home runs parallel to the Potomac River, with water views from almost every room. When Robert Stevens, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, bought the property in 2014 for $18.6 million from Gerald “Jerry” Halpin, developer of Tysons Corner, he demolished the house and spent five years constructing a new one. The four-level home has a library, game room, exercise room, resistance pool, steam and sauna rooms, a media room, and a three-car attached garage with three electric charging stations. A separate carriage house has parking for four cars and a studio apartment. In addition to 400 feet of waterfront, the property has landscaped grounds, private walking trails and a dock. The sales price set a record for the D.C. area.

$15 million

(List price $15 million)

1139 Crest Lane, McLean, Va.

Features: The 2017 modern house was designed by Neal Thomson and Patrick Cooke of D.C.-based Thomson and Cooke Architects for former Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer and his family. It is perched high on a slope that unfurls toward the Potomac River. A wall of glass at the back of the house provides abundant natural light and exceptional views of the riverscape. At the back of the house is a heated saltwater infinity pool. The three-car garage has charging stations. The Scherzers worked with landscape architect Joseph Richardson to revitalize the grounds.

Team effort produced Nats ace’s Virginia showcase

$13 million

(List price $14 million)

2850 Woodland Dr. NW, Washington, D.C.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 7/10
  • Square footage: 10,300
  • Lot size: 1.01 acre
  • Listing agent: Michael Rankin, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Features: The 1927 Beaux Arts mansion in the Woodland Normanstone neighborhood of Northwest Washington has a swimming pool, library, 12-person home theater, catering kitchen and staff quarters. Former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross bought the house from entrepreneur and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht in 2016. Politico’s Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman reported that the new owner is Peter Thiel, cofounder of Paypal and Palantir.

$12 million

(List price $12 million)

2337 Zulla Rd., Middleburg, Va.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 7/7
  • Square footage: n/a
  • Lot size: 240 acres
  • Listing agent: John Coles, Thomas and Talbot Estate Properties

Features: The farm, which is known as Green Pastures and Ardarra, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Colonial Revival manor house was designed by New York architect Penrose V. Stout for industrialist and fox hunting enthusiast Robert Earl McConnell and built about 1931. The property includes a stable, two tenant houses, a guesthouse, a gazebo, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a large pond. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation holds a conservation easement on the property.

$11.5 million

(List price $12 million)

4530 Cathedral Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms; 7/10
  • Square footage: 11,300
  • Lot size: 0.51 acre
  • Listing agent: Ben Roth, Washington Fine Properties

Features: The three-level house in the Wesley Heights neighborhood was built in 2010. It has five fireplaces, a swimming pool and a three-car garage.

$11 million

(list price $15 million)

945 Melvin Rd., Annapolis, Md.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 5/8
  • Square footage: 7,600
  • Lot size: 6.12 acres
  • Listing agent: Michael Rutledge, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty

Features: Located on a deep-water peninsula of Aberdeen Creek, the house was built in 1983. It has four fireplaces and a three-car garage. The grounds include a swimming pool. The property has 175 feet of waterfront and there are three docks.

$11 million

(List price $18 million)

1005 Founders Ridge Lane, McLean, Va.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/12
  • Square footage: 20,000
  • Lot size: 1.26 acre
  • Listing agent: Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Features: The French provincial manor in the Reserve enclave was built in 2008 and has a grand colonnade with five sets of French doors that open to a vaulted gallery. A chandelier hangs from the domed ceiling above a marble staircase. The house has an indoor swimming pool, an indoor basketball/racquetball court, a ballroom, a wine cellar, a media room, a billiard room, a sauna and massage room, and an elevator. The six-car garage has hydraulic lifts.

$10.9 million

(list price $13 million)

3120 Woodland Dr. NW, Washington, D.C.

Features: The 1920s brick house was designed by Porter & Lockie and renovated by Coba Properties. The house is the former home of Mary Sizer Puller Gould, a friend of first lady Bess Truman. Gould entertained ambassadors and diplomats in the home before renting it to the Lebanese government to be the residence of the Lebanese ambassador to the United States. Past owners include financial consultant Richard H. Medley, former U.S. ambassador to Italy John R. Phillips and Linda D. Douglass, former director of communications for the White House Office of Health Reform in the Obama administration. It has a catering kitchen, media room, exercise room, family room, wine cellar and swimming pool.

This Northwest Washington house was the scene of many a sumptuous social gathering

$10.5 million

(List price $11.5 million)

1441 Sharps Point Rd., Annapolis, Md.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/8
  • Square footage: 9,200
  • Lot size: 8.8 acres
  • Listing agent: Glenn Sutton, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Features: The 2006 house on Whitehall Creek was recently redesigned by Alt, Breeding, Schwarz Architects and finished by Pyramid Builders. The house has an open floor plan, radiant heat, geothermal heating and cooling, an emergency generator, security guard house with electric entrance gate, and an eight-car garage with a one-bedroom apartment above it. There are two deep-water piers with a boat house, boat lifts, Jet Ski lifts, a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and two barns. The monthly HOA fee is $500.

$9.6 million

(List price n/a)

2525 Belmont Rd. NW, Washington, D.C.
  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/7
  • Square footage: 7,000
  • Lot size: 0.15 acre
  • Listing agent: Sold off-market

Features: The three-story house, which is on the same street where former president Barack Obama lives, backs onto Rock Creek Park. According to tax records, it has two fireplaces. The house was built in 1924 for Carl Voegtlin, director of the National Cancer Institute. Rodier & Kundzin were the architects and Carl Markham was the builder.

Top five most expensive homes sold in the District

  • 2850 Woodland Dr. NW, $13 million. Listing agent: Michael Rankin, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
  • 4530 Cathedral Ave. NW, $11.5 million. Listing agent: Ben Roth, Washington Fine Properties
  • 3120 Woodland Dr. NW, $10.9 million. Listing agents: Robert Hryniewicki, Adam T. Rackliffe and Christopher R. Leary, Washington Fine Properties
  • 2525 Belmont Rd. NW, $9.6 million. Listing agent: Sold off-market
  • 1344 30th St. NW, $9.5 million. Listing agent: Eileen McGrath, Washington Fine Properties

Top five most expensive homes sold in Maryland

  • 945 Melvin Rd., Annapolis, $11 million. Listing agent: Michael Rutledge, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty
  • 1441 Sharps Point Rd., Annapolis, $10.5 million. Listing agent: Glenn Sutton, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
  • 9210 Fox Meadow Lane, Potomac, $8.5 million. Listing agent: Wendy Banner, Long & Foster
  • 6909 Armat Dr., Bethesda, $7 million. Listing agent: Marc Fleisher, Compass
  • 869 Childs Point Rd., Annapolis, $6 million. Listing agent: Amber Krause, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Top five most expensive homes sold in Virginia

  • 7979 E. Boulevard Dr., Alexandria, $48 million. Listing agent: Heather Corey, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
  • 1139 Crest Lane, McLean, $15 million. Listing agents: Wetherly Barker Hemeon and Karen Barker, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
  • 2337 Zulla Rd., Middleburg, $12 million. Listing agent: John Coles, Thomas and Talbot Estate Properties
  • 1005 Founders Ridge Lane, McLean, $11 million. Listing agent: Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
  • 1020 Langley Hill Dr., McLean, $8.5 million. Listing agent: Andre Amini and Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
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