Washington Real Estate

A Guide to Buying a Home in Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. The cost of living is high, particularly when it comes to housing. Be prepared to spend a significant portion of your income on rent or a mortgage.

With some research and preparation, you can make the transition to Washington DC smooth and comfortable.

HISTORY
Washington DC, the capital of the United States, is a city with a full and complex history. Established as the capital in 1790, the city has been shaped by political, social, and economic forces over the past two centuries.

The banks of the Potomac River were selected as the site for the capital city. The location was chosen because it would be centrally located between the northern and southern states, and it would symbolize the unity of the new nation. The city grew rapidly and became a center of political power, with the White House, Capitol Building, and Supreme Court all located within its boundaries.

Today, the city is vibrant and diverse. It is home to numerous museums, monuments, and cultural institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Washington, DC’s history and culture attracts visitors worldwide, who come to experience the city’s unique blend of politics, art, and history.

HOUSING
Apartments are the most common type of housing in Washington, DC. The city has a variety of apartment buildings, ranging from high-rises to low-rise buildings. Many apartments offer fitness centers, swimming pools, and communal spaces. Apartment living in DC is ideal for those who want to be in the city’s hub and have access to all its amenities.

Condominiums are similar to apartments, but you own the unit instead of renting. They can offer the same amenities as apartments. Owning a condo in DC is a great option if you want to invest in real estate and have the freedom to customize your living space.

Row houses are very common in DC, especially in older neighborhoods. These narrow, attached homes offer a unique charm and history. They often have a backyard or patio, perfect for outdoor space.

Detached single-family homes are more common in the suburbs of DC. These homes offer more privacy and space than other types of housing.

Co-ops are similar to condominiums, but instead of owning the unit, you own a share in the corporation that owns the building. Co-op apartments are less common in DC but can be found in some buildings.

Each type of housing offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider your lifestyle and needs when choosing a home in Washington, DC.

MARKET OVERVIEW
As the capital of the United States, Washington, DC is a city with a unique real estate market. Although the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the city’s economy, the housing market has remained resilient. Looking ahead to 2023, several trends may shape the DC real estate market.

First, the city's population is expected to continue to grow. According to the DC Policy Center, the city's population is projected to reach 729,000 by 2025, up from 714,000 in 2019. This growth will drive demand for housing, particularly in the city's more affordable neighborhoods.

Another trend that will impact the DC real estate market in 2023 is the return of office workers to the city. Many employers shifted to remote work during the pandemic, but some workers returned to the office as vaccination rates increased and the pandemic receded. This could lead to increased demand for housing in neighborhoods close to downtown DC. The return of workers to the city could also positively impact the retail and hospitality sectors.

Overall, the DC real estate market in 2023 will likely be shaped by population growth, affordability concerns, and the return of office workers to the city. While the market may face some challenges, the city's strong economy and unique position as the seat of government will likely continue to drive demand for housing and commercial real estate.

NEIGHBORHOODS
Washington, DC is divided into four quadrants: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest. Each quadrant has its distinct neighborhoods with unique personalities and characteristics. Some popular neighborhoods include Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Capitol Hill. Do some research to find the neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle and budget.

RECREATION
One of the most popular recreational activities in DC is biking. The city has an extensive bike-sharing program, with over 4,000 bikes available at over 500 stations. The Capital Bikeshare program is affordable and convenient, allowing riders to pick up and drop off bikes at any station. The city has many bike trails, including the popular 14th Street bike lane and the Anacostia River Trail.

In addition to biking, DC is home to many parks and green spaces. The National Mall is a popular destination for tourists and locals, offering a picturesque setting for picnics, frisbee games, and leisurely strolls. Other parks in the city include Rock Creek Park, Meridian Hill Park, and the U.S. National Arboretum.

Ultimately, Washington, DC has it all when it comes to recreation. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a culture buff, or a party animal, you’ll find plenty of options to keep you entertained and engaged in the nation’s capital. So the next time you’re in DC, take advantage of all this exciting city has to offer.

SHOPPING
Shopping in Washington, DC is an exciting experience with a mix of high-end boutiques, upscale department stores, and independent shops. Georgetown, located in the heart of DC, is a popular shopping destination with various stores ranging from luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, and Gucci to more affordable retailers like J.Crew and Madewell. CityCenterDC, another popular shopping destination in the downtown area, offers a mix of luxury, specialty, and boutique stores such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Sephora.

If you want an authentic DC shopping experience, head to Eastern Market. In this historic indoor/outdoor market, you can find fresh produce, handmade crafts, vintage clothing, and local artisanal products. Another unique shopping destination is Union Market, a food hall that offers a variety of food vendors, specialty shops, and pop-up stores.

RESTAURANTS
Washington, DC is known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a variety of restaurants that cater to different tastes and preferences. From traditional American cuisine to ethnic cuisines like Ethiopian, Thai, and Vietnamese, you will likely find whatever your palette desires. Some popular restaurants in DC include Founding Farmers, a farm-to-table restaurant serving American comfort food, and Rose’s Luxury, a trendy restaurant offering globally inspired dishes.

If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, head to the Michelin-starred restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington, located in a charming historic town outside of DC. The restaurant has been named one of the world’s 50 best restaurants and offers a unique tasting menu that combines classic American cuisine with modern cooking techniques.

ENTERTAINMENT
When it comes to entertainment, Washington, DC offers a variety of options for all ages and interests. The Kennedy Center, located on the Potomac River, hosts a variety of performances, including theater, dance, and music concerts. The National Theater, located in downtown DC, is another popular venue that hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and other live performances.

Interested in museums and exhibitions? Washington, DC is home to several world-class museums, including the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The National Gallery of Art, located on the National Mall, is another popular museum that features a collection of American and European art.

DC also has a vibrant nightlife, with many bars, restaurants, and clubs located throughout the city. Popular neighborhoods for nightlife include U Street, the H Street Corridor, and Adams Morgan.

TRANSPORTATION
Washington, DC has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and a subway system called “Metro.” Many residents rely on public transportation to get around the city, as parking can be expensive and difficult to find. Consider purchasing a Metro card, which can be used on buses and the subway.

SCHOOLS
DC boasts a robust public education system that serves over 50,000 students. The public school system in the District of Columbia is overseen by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), which operates 115 schools, including traditional public schools, charter schools, and alternative programs. DCPS offers a range of specialized programs, including language immersion programs, STEM-focused academies, and arts education programs. For example, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts is a public high school that offers intensive training in dance, music, theater, and visual arts.

In addition to DCPS, the District of Columbia also has a strong charter school sector, with a specific focus or approach, such as Montessori education, dual-language immersion, or project-based learning.

DC is home to some of the world's most prestigious and highly-ranked higher education institutions. Georgetown University, one of the most well-known universities in DC, is a private research institution consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the country. The George Washington University (GWU) is another highly-ranked private research university in DC. In addition to these universities, DC is also home to several other highly-ranked colleges and universities, including the Catholic University of America, Trinity Washington University, Gallaudet University, American University, and Howard University.

Final Thoughts
Moving to the nation’s capital is an exciting prospect for many people. It is a vibrant city with a thriving real estate market, a rich culture, a diverse population, and plenty of opportunities for career growth and personal development. However, it can be intimidating for those unfamiliar with the area. There are a few things to remember for those looking to buy a home in the nation's capital.

First, it's important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the DC market. They can help you navigate the buying process, from finding the right neighborhood to negotiating a competitive offer.

Second, One of the biggest factors to consider when buying a home in DC is the cost.

Third, each area of DC has its own unique charm and character, and it's important to consider factors like proximity to public transportation, local amenities, and school districts when choosing the right neighborhood for you.

Another important consideration when buying a home in DC is the city's strict zoning laws. These laws dictate what types of buildings can be constructed in certain areas, and they can have a big impact on the value of a property. For example, homes in historic districts or near monuments may be subject to additional regulations that can make renovations or upgrades more challenging.

Overall, buying a home in Washington, DC can be an exciting and rewarding experience for those who are prepared to navigate the city's unique real estate market. With the right team of professionals, you can find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood and enjoy all this vibrant city has to offer.

Updated: March 2023

Washington - Town vs. County Stats

Avg Price in Washington: $964,400 / County Avg $909,300

106%

Avg Taxes in Washington: $33,900 / County Avg $30,900

110%

Avg Sq. Ft. in Washington: 1,656 / County Avg 1,703

97%

Avg Price per/sqft in Washington:$582 / County Avg $534

109%

Avg Walkscore in Washington: 79 / County Avg 72

110%

Avg Year Built in Washington: 1958 / County Avg 1958

100%

Avg Days on Website in Washington: 145 / County Avg 147

99%

Washington Real Estate Market Health

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