To say that Washington DC is known for expensive neighborhoods is saying just a little. From luxury penthouses to palatial country estates, the nation’s capital has some of the priciest real estate listings in the country.
For years, the most expensive neighborhoods in DC have tended be residential enclaves north of the Capitol building itself, as well as to the west, along the Potomac River. The simplest reason, is these are where the larger single-family homes tend to be located. Also, urban neighborhoods that were touched by blight in decades past, have had more catching up to do.
Regardless, from lush quasi-suburbs to gentrified city corridors, here’s a list of DC’s ten more expensive neighborhoods in terms of property prices, using the most up-to-date figures available from the national real estate data bank Zillow.
Spring Valley is where you’ll find the highest value, at $1,619,100, along with the highest median list price at $1,596,000. Located at the far northwestern reaches of DC at the Maryland border, this well-heeled suburban neighborhood is a favorite of politicians, business leaders and media types. Platted with gently curving streets and large lots sizes, Spring Valley is all single-family homes, with a variety of Colonials, Tudors and Country-style, built anywhere from the 1920’s to more recently.
Berkley has the second-highest average value in the District, at $1,587,100, with an even higher median list price of $2,195,000. You’ll find some of the most lavish homes here—an English county-style mansion built in 1935, and sitting on a lush 1.4 acre lot, recently closed at $7,950,000. This secluded community is surrounded on three sides by parkland and boasts a variety of architectural styles, including Georgian, Tudor, Colonial, large Craftsman-style, Cape and Contemporary. The neighborhood is also commonly associated with Wesley Heights.
Observatory Circle is one of the few neighborhoods in the heart of DC that predominately consists of single-family homes, although there is about 20 percent condo listings. This exclusive community curves around the Naval Observatory and is home to the official resident of the Vice-President of the United States. With an average list price of $1,145,000, the neighborhood offers a diverse blend of designs, including Colonial, Mediterranean, fieldstone-Tudor, and large Craftsman-style homes.
Located west of the Capitol on the Potomac River, Georgetown was once a major shipping port for the tobacco trade. Here you’ll find an array of classic Washington architecture, including Colonial, Federal, Georgian and Victorian homes, as well as renovated rowhouses, high-rise condos and interesting conversions, such as the Wormley Row School. The average property value is $1,063,100, representing a strong 7.3 percent gain over 12 months. The median list price is $1,100,000 with an average sale price of $1,070,600. Among Georgetown’s impressive listings is a nine-bedroom brick Federal home built in 1817, listing at $16.8 million. Known for its charming shops and fine restaurants, Georgetown ranks right at the top of DC’s most desirable neighborhoods.
With a mixture of about 75 percent condos and 21 percent single-family detached homes, Kalorama offers a fascinating and high-end assortment of homes, including tall, ornate Beau-Arts rowhouses, old apartment building conversions, and charming historical single-family structures, including Colonial and Georgian Revivals, , as well as Tudor and Mediterranean-styles. Located immediately west of Adams-Morgan, this affluent community has experienced a sharp 8.8 percent spike in real estate values in the past year, to $1,065,200. List prices are even higher, at $1, 295,000. Buyers beware—there’s a strong seller’s market in Kalorama, which, for the rowhouse market especially, often means multiple bids.
Barnaby Woods Homes For Sale - Washington DC
It’s back to the northern suburbs and Barnaby Woods—an exclusive community bounded by Maryland to the northwest and Rock Creek to the east. This neighborhood is predominately single-family homes with a sliver of condos. Interestingly, real estate values here have risen by 8 percent over the past 12 months, a considerably faster growth than its DC suburban neighbors. Barnaby Woods has a value index of $1,017,100 and a median list price of $1,095,000. Developed in the 1930’s, you’ll find stately homes, shady paths, meticulous landscaping and streets lined with trees that form welcoming canopies.
Another northwestern District suburb, Chevy Chase is synonymous with comfortable living, great schools and walkable streets. Popular Rock Creek runs along the neighborhood’s eastern border, with American University Park to the southwest, the Maryland border to the northwest, and Barnaby Woods to the north. While homes for sale are mostly single-family structures, there is also a condo market that accounts for about 15 percent of all listings. Most of those are high-rise structures. The value index is $904,500 with a median list price of $1,029,000.
Running north along the Potomac River from Georgetown is an elongated slice of land known as The Palisades. While there’s a nearly even split between single-family detached houses and condos, the latter are exclusively of the post-World War II era. There’s a modest commercial strip along MacArthur Boulevard but otherwise, the community is quiet and residential, and doesn’t get the same kind of hype as some of DC’s other neighborhoods. Homes are definitely in demand here, however, with a median list price of $845,000 and an average closing price of $958,100.
West End is a DC neighborhood that’s in the midst of transition. In the late 1700’s, it was considered the westernmost part of Pierre Charles L’Efant’s original plan for the City of Washington. Today, it’s the site of rapid redevelopment, with hundreds of new luxury condos being delivered to market, alongside older buildings and government embassies. There’s not only a new Whole Foods in the neighborhood, but a Trader Joe’s as well. With a median list price of about $650,000, this is one of DC’s most intriguing “new” neighborhoods.
The U Street Corridor is another DC neighborhood in transition, melding renovated historic rowhouses, industrial building condo conversions, trendy new mixed-use loft buildings and lots of shops, restaurants and nightclubs. This nine-block city stretch was once home to jazz luminaries as such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. Today, it’s one of Washington’s most talked-about urban communities and much in demand with an eclectic crowd from art-types to business leaders. The value index has zoomed up nearly 10 percent over the past year at $542,600, with an average list price of $550,000 and sales price of $485,000. Those prices are fairly tilted toward one-bedroom units.
Adams-Morgan just missed this year’s top ten cut but we’re including it anyway—because it’s Adams-Morgan! After all, nobody’s looking to start a riot here. Yes, AM is still an uber-hip, fabulous neighborhood to live in, with shops, galleries, brightly painted and wonderfully renovated rowhouses and of course, plenty of late-night partying. Plus, with a median list price of $509,000 and an even lower average closing price of $498,100, you’ve still got a shot to live in the neighborhood that has long been synonymous with the DC gentrification trend.
So that’s it—the 10 most expensive real estate markets in the District of Columbia, plus one more for good measure. Washington DC has been going through one of the country’s most visible and obvious transformations in recent decades. The population has expanded rapidly and so has the number of jobs. And if you’re moving here for the first time, or simply looking to upgrade your digs, start browsing the listings—there’s something for everybody when it comes to comfort, convenience and style.
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