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..
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.”
(List price $60 million)
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.
(List price $15 million)
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.
(List price $14 million)
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.
(List price $12 million)
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.
(List price $12 million)
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.
(list price $15 million)
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.
(List price $18 million)
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.
(list price $13 million)
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.
(List price $11.5 million)
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.
(List price n/a)
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.