More than halfway through the spring home-buying season, it is clear sellers continue to have an advantage over buyers.

“The lower mortgage rates have enabled my clients to spend a little more on homes than they would have before the rate drop,” Jean Beatty, a real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, wrote in an email. “This has caused prices to climb and brought more buyers into the market, making competition fierce.”

The competition is particularly intense among homes selling for $600,000, which is at the higher end of the entry-level market. Some first-time buyers may be taken aback that $600,000 is considered entry-level, but it is close to last year’s median price for homes sold in the D.C. region. In 2018, half the homes sold for $570,000 or more.


The two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo at1308 Belmont St. NW, No. 1, Washington, is listed at $599,000. (Peter Papoulakos)

The problem for many first-time buyers is that $600,000 houses attract builders and developers, and it is challenging to compete against their resources.

“This price range is the sweet spot for builders who are looking to buy a house and tear it down for a new home,” Beatty said. “I always look at the slope of the lot because flat lots are ideal for builders.”

To give buyers an idea of the variety of homes $600,000 buys, we compiled a selection of properties at that price in the D.C. region and across the country with the help of Realtor.com. What a buyer can get for $600,000 differs considerably depending on location. In Northwest Washington and Arlington, it is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo. But in Ellicott City and Omaha, it is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house.


The five-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial at15401 Finchingfield Way, Upper Marlboro, Md., is listed at $600,000. (Elisabeth Salchow)

We also wanted to provide buyers with a sense of the costs involved in owning a $600,000 home, so we asked Realtor.com to calculate what a homeowner would pay monthly. The amount of debt a buyer has (e.g., student or car loans) will alter these calculations. Homeowners association fees and maintenance costs need to be factored in as well.

The costs were calculated based on a 20 percent down payment ($120,000). A smaller down payment means private mortgage insurance (PMI) must be added to the overall cost.

Based on a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of 4.25 percent, the monthly mortgage payment would be around $3,203 including taxes and insurance (using average national tax and insurance rates). To stay within the guidelines of spending no more than 30 percent of your gross income on housing, a buyer would need to earn at least $128,119 annually to afford a home in this price range.


The 1996 log-and-brick house at 13809 White Deer Lane, Omaha, Neb., is listed at $599,000. (Minchu Yi)

Buyers who are finding it tough going this spring shouldn’t lose hope.

“On an encouraging note, $600,000 is an excellent place to enter the market as a homeowner,” she said. “Financially, monthly rent for single-family homes or places of comparable size require the same monetary output a month. By purchasing, they are building equity, which is a great thing.”

Wondering what $600,000 buys? Take a look below:

The District

3814 Hansberry Ct. NE, Washington, D.C. (HomeVisit)
$579,900

3814 Hansberry Ct. NE, Washington 20018

3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.
Square footage: 2,358.
Price per square foot: $246.
Lot size: 0.03 acre.
Features: The four-level townhouse is at the Village of Dakota Crossing in Fort Lincoln. The Fairgate model has wood floors on the entry and main level. The kitchen has a breakfast bar, granite countertops, travertine tile backsplash, cherry cabinetry and a pantry. The two-car garage is attached. The monthly homeowners association fee is $107.
Listing agent: Robert Ferguson, Re/Max Allegiance.


631 D St. SE, Washington, D.C. (Ujan Basu/Homejab)
$594,000

631 D St. SE, Washington 20003

1 bedroom, 1 bathroom.
Square footage: 753.
Price per square foot: $789.
Lot size: N/A.
Features: The Capitol Hill condo was built in 2015 on the site of what was once Friendship House, home to Francis Scott Key. The two-level unit has high ceilings, hardwood floors and a private patio. The monthly condo fee is $243.
Listing agent: Simon Timm, Houwzer.


1308 Belmont St. NW, No. 1, Washington, D.C. (Peter Papoulakos)
$599,000

1308 Belmont St. NW, No. 1, Washington 20009
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
Square footage: 945.
Price per square foot: $634.
Lot size: N/A.
Features: The two-level condo in a converted rowhouse in Columbia Heights has two entrances. The unit has 20-foot ceilings, a spiral staircase, hardwood floors, a patio and an in-unit washer and dryer. The monthly condo fee is $285.
Listing agents: Stuart Carragher and Paniz Asgari, Compass.

Maryland

10119 Frederick Ave, Kensington, Md. (HomeVisit/HomeVisit)
$589,900

10119 Frederick Ave., Kensington 20895

3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
Square footage: 1,159.
Price per square foot: $509.
Lot size: 0.24 acre.
Features: The 1898 farmhouse has a front porch, hardwood floors, stained glass windows, built-in shelving and a brick fireplace. A sun porch at the back of the house leads to a spacious deck and wooded backyard.
Listing agent: Martin Signore, Keller Williams Capital Properties.


15401 Finchingfield Way, Upper Marlboro, Md. (Elisabeth Salchow)
$600,000

15401 Finchingfield Way, Upper Marlboro 20774

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.
Square footage: 3,892.
Price per square foot: $154.
Lot size: 0.37 acre.
Features: The 2011 Colonial is in the Beech Tree South Village, a planned community centered around a 30-acre lake and Lake Presidential Golf Club. The Somerset model has a two-story foyer with a curved staircase.The master suite has a sitting area, fireplace and two walk-in closets. The monthly homeowners association dues are $100.
Listing agent: John L. Lesniewski, Re/Max United Real Estate.


4006 Macalpine Rd., Ellicott City, Md. (Kathy Ward/Kats Eye Virtual Tours and Photography)
$600,000

4006 Macalpine Rd., Ellicott City 21042

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.
Square footage: 2,831.
Price per square foot: $212.
Lot size: 1.33 acres.
Features: The 1969 contemporary home in the Dunloggin neighborhood is reached by a long driveway. The split-level house has walls of glass and sloping ceilings with wood slats. The two-car garage has a bonus room above it. The spacious lot has mature trees.
Listing agent: Greg Kinnear, Re/Max Advantage Realty.

Virginia

14262 Saint Annes Ct., Gainesville, Va. (HomeVisit)
$594,500

14262 Saint Annes Ct., Gainesville 20155

3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.
Square footage: 3,970.
Price per square foot: $150.
Lot size: 0.41 acre.
Features: The 1999 Colonial is at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Virginia Oaks community on Lake Manassas. The family room has a fireplace. The lower level has a wet bar and a media room wired for a sound system. The deck has a retractable awning. The two-car garage is attached. The monthly homeowners association fees are $63.
Listing agent: Jane Webb, Casey Margenau Fine Homes and Estates.


12537 Arnsley Ct., Herndon, Va. (Ron Capone/Hearthstone Photography)
$599,500

12537 Arnsley Ct., Herndon 20171

4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms.
Square footage: 2,790.
Price per square foot: $215.
Lot size: 0.32 acre.
Features: The 1974 contemporary house is in the Fox Mill Estates. The updated kitchen has a large island, granite countertops and a tile backsplash. The oversize one-car garage is attached. The community has two swim and tennis clubs, several tot lots, a pond, creeks and 57 acres of common land. The monthly homeowners association fee is $14.
Listing agent: Lisa DeCarlo, Weichert Realtors.


1121 Arlington Blvd., No. 1006, Arlington, Va. (TruPlace)
$599,900

1121 Arlington Blvd., No. 1006, Arlington 22209

2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
Square footage: 1,110.
Price per square foot: $540.
Lot size: N/A.
Features: The 10th-floor penthouse in River Place North offers views of Arlington and Washington. The unit has a 650-square-foot terrace, an in-unit washer and dryer and a wood-burning marble and stone fireplace. It also has two garage parking spaces and extra storage. The monthly co-op fee of $1,057 includes heat, air conditioning, Internet and a concierge as well as use of the swimming pool and fitness center.
Listing agents: Troy Sponaugle and Ashok Singh, Sampson Properties.

National

13809 White Deer Lane, Omaha, Neb. (Minchu Yi)
$599,000

13809 White Deer Lane, Omaha, Neb. 68112

5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms.
Square footage: 3,681.
Price per square foot: $163.
Lot size: 1.74 acres.
Features: The 1996 log-and-brick house is in the White Deer neighborhood near the 600-acre Neale Woods nature preserve and the Missouri River. The great room has cathedral ceilings with wood planks and a stone fireplace. The large deck and brick patio overlook a wooded backyard. The two-car garage is attached.
Listing agent: Tasha Moss, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate.


4600 Maple Glen Ct., Lakeland, Tenn. (Carroll Hoselton/Memphis Media Company)
$599,900

4600 Maple Glen Ct., Lakeland, Tenn. 38002

4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms.
Square footage: 5,015.
Price per square foot: $120.
Lot size: 0.23 acre.
Features: The 2009 French-style home in a suburb of Memphis was designed for entertaining. A curved stairway leads to the second floor. A large fireplace warms the living room. The media room has stadium seating. A lighted flagstone courtyard has a fireplace and a lighted fountain. The three-car garage is reached through a gated entrance. The monthly homeowners association fee is $41.
Listing agent: Bill Maury, Coldwell Banker Collins-Maury.


429 N 13th St., Nos. 5B and 6B, Philadelphia, Pa. (Kate Devlin)
$600,000

429 N. 13th St., Nos. 5B and 6B, Philadelphia 19123

2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
Square footage: 1,758.
Price per square foot: $341.
Lot size: N/A.
Features: Two units were combined to make this two-level loft. The unit has high ceilings, factory-style windows, original wood floors and exposed brick and ductwork. The cedar roof deck offers views of the city. The kitchen has granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinetry and a large island. Spiral stairs lead to a loft space. The monthly condo fees are $520.
Listing agents: Michael McCann and Margo Weil, Keller Williams Philly.