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Buying a Home in the National Capital

Home Mortgage Rates in District of Columbia

Jefferson Memorial.

Real Estate Prices

Real estate prices tend to be higher in the nation's capitol compared to the national median. The average median price for a home was $345,000 in February in Washington, DC, well above the national average which is about $186,000. A comparison of nearby states,

  • Washington DC - $345,000
  • Maryland - $263,000
  • Pennsylvania- $150,900
  • Virginia- $232,800
  • New Jersey- $296,700

Popular Neighborhoods in the DC Area

Pennsylvania Avenue.

Census Pop. Change % △
1800 8,144
1810 15,471 7,327 90.00%
1820 23,336 7,865 50.80%
1830 30,261 6,925 29.70%
1840 33,745 3,484 11.50%
1850 51,687 17,942 53.20%
1860 75,080 23,393 45.30%
1870 131,700 56,620 75.40%
1880 177,624 45,924 34.90%
1890 230,392 52,768 29.70%
1900 278,718 48,326 21.00%
1910 331,069 52,351 18.80%
1920 437,571 106,502 32.20%
1930 486,869 49,298 11.30%
1940 663,091 176,222 36.20%
1950 802,178 139,087 21.00%
1960 763,956 -38,222 −4.8%
1970 756,510 -7,446 −1.0%
1980 638,333 -118,177 −15.6%
1990 606,900 -31,433 −4.9%
2000 572,059 -34,841 −5.7%
2010 601,723 29,664 5.20%
2016 681,170 79,447 13.20%

Capital Hill

Aside from the United States capitol building and home of Congress it is one of the oldest residential communities in Washington and with roughly 35,000 people in just under two square miles, it is also one of the most densely populated. A large portion of the Capitol Hill neighborhood is now designated as the historic district. To the east of Capitol Hill lies the Anacostic River, to the north is the H Street corridor, to the south are the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Washington Navy Yard, and to the west are the National Mall and the city's central business district.

Anacostia Waterfront

This is the city's fastest-growing area of employment, entertainment and residential growth. This is due to a $10 billion restoration and revitalization plan that is underway. This will create 6,500 units of new housing and three million square feet of new parkland.

Georgetown

This is a vibrant community with upscale shops, bars, and restaurants along it's cobblestone streets. Many of the 200 year-old restored homes have beautiful gardens. This neighborhood is also the home of Georgetown University. You can get to this neighboorhood by the Georgetown Metro Connection which runs every ten minutes from 7a.m. to midnight from Rosslyn and Dupoint Circle metro stations.

Dupont Circle

A vibrant community with some of Washington, DC's finest museums, historic homes and foreign embassies as well as a variety of ethnic restaurants, bookstores, and private art galleries. There are lots of high-rise apartment buildings and many rowhouses have been converted into apartments. The Circle itself is a gathering place with park benches, grass and a unique fountain in the center.

Woodley Park

A very nice residential area with two of the biggest hotels in Washington(The Sheraton-Washington and the Omni Shoreham). It also has a huge collection of international restaurants.

Bloomingdale

This is a close-knit community-oriented neighborhood which has gone under revitalization such as a 92-unit condominium project. Also two new flanking buildings that are keeping with the architecture of the area's early 20th century apartment buildings and row houses. The neighborhood has many active neighborhood groups and associations including, but not limited to, the Bloomingdale Civic Association, the Bloomindale Garden Club, the Public Safety Initiative , the Big Bear Book Club, the Big Daddy Running Cub, and Crispus Attucks Development Corporation. New businesses have recently opened such as the Bloomingdale Inn(a bed and breakfast, Window's Market (a market and cafe with wifi access), Big Bear Cafe (a cafe and coffeehouse), the P Spot (a women's fitness studio featuring strip aerobics and polefit classes), Showtime Barbershop and Salon, and Timor Bodega(serving hard to find produce, wine, beers, and local/organic produce). Every summer the Bloomingdale Farmers' Market is open on Sundays from 10:A.M. to 2:P.M.. While only in the permit phase, the owners of the Veranda are looking to open an "American-style" pizzeria and tavern.

Columbia Heights

A 546,000 square feet shopping and entertainment complex is under contstruction in the heart of Columbia Heights. With major retailers like Target, Best Buy, Washington Sports Club, and Bed Bath and Beyond, DC USA will become the one-stop shopping destination for all of Washington, DC. An abandoned building will be converted to a 4-story 13,000 sq. ft. mixed -use developement. The first level and have a sit down restaurant and small eatery. The second through fourth levels will be residential condominiums.

Neighborhood Guides

The Washington DC Economic Partnership offers overview profiles of all 54 neighborhoods here.

The Urban Institute also offers neighborhood-by-neighborhood info here.

The DC Public Library offers a collection of neighborhood history resources.

DC.gov publishes an interactive map with all 39 neighborhood clusters.

Renewed Growth

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis happened the Washington D.C. metro area has become one of the fastest growing areas of the country, reversing population declines which began in the late 1950s and lasted into the 2000s due in part to rising crime rates & a high cost of living.

Between 2010 and 2016 the population of Washington D.C. increased by 13.2% while the broader metro area grew by 8.8%

US Rank Metropolitan Area 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △
6 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro 6,131,977 5,636,232 495,745 8.80%

The national capital has 61.05 mi² of land area, giving it a population density of 11,157.58 people per mi².

Here is a map of the 8 wards which make up the nation's capital along with the 39 associated neighborhood clusters.

The 8 Wards of District of Columbia.

Source: NeighborhoodInfo DC [PDF]

All table columns are sortable. Click on the column headers to sort by that column. Click again to sort low to high.

Neighborhood Cluster 2010 Cluster Pop Ward 2010 Ward Pop Average Sale Median Sale Price / ft²
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AVERAGE         $625,000 $544,500 $539
DC METRO AREA         $458,000 $428,700 $218
Adams Morgan 1 18,338 1 74,462 $565,128 $557,250 $646
American University Park 11 12,216 3 78,887 $1,065,464 $1,092,500 $609
Barnaby Woods 10 11,986 4 75,773 $936,737 $927,450 $516
Barry Farm 37 8,071 8 73,662 $294,975 $295,000 $280
Bellevue 39 30,959 8 73,662 $299,351 $319,000 $295
Benning 32 13,008 7 71,748 $242,833 $287,500 $213
Benning Ridge 32 13,008 7 71,748 $293,425 $291,500 $304
Bloomingdale 21 19,481 5 74,308 $682,654 $705,000 $550
Brentwood 22 8,459 5 74,308 $359,100 $342,000 $365
Brightwood 17 19,455 4 75,773 $566,114 $580,000 $444
Brightwood Park 18 39,924 4 75,773 $652,571 $699,900 $474
Brookland 22 8,459 5 74,308 $658,375 $666,000 $467
Buena Vista 37 8,071 8 73,662 $118,000 $90,000 $214
Burleith/Hillandale 4 20,464 2 76,883 $1,193,375 $1,202,500 $748
Burrville 31 14,500 7 71,748 $270,000 $270,000 $283
Capitol Hill 26 20,909 6 76,000 $710,526 $730,000 $618
Capitol View 33 14,888 7 71,748 $325,095 $350,653 $256
Cardozo / Shaw 3 12,174 1 74,462 $765,145 $695,000 $678
Carver / Langston 23 14,510 5 74,308 $467,125 $515,000 $476
Cathedral Heights 14 11,713 3 78,887 $416,415 $364,500 $383
Chevy Chase 10 11,986 3 78,887 $944,554 $995,000 $522
Cleveland Park 15 12,829 3 78,887 $754,462 $476,250 $571
Colonial Village 16 3,957 4 75,773 $1,149,666 $1,050,000 $422
Columbia Heights 2 47,378 1 74,462 $582,566 $566,000 $569
Congress Heights 39 30,959 8 73,662 $322,618 $343,000 $270
Connecticut Ave / K Street 6 17,318 2 76,883 $485,000 $370,000 $580
Crestwood 18 39,924 4 75,773 $1,160,464 $1,157,325 $531
Deanwood 31 14,500 7 71,748 $286,519 $290,000 $253
Douglass 38 9,710 8 73,662 $303,000 $319,000 $285
Downtown 8 13,560 2 76,883 $550,166 $527,500 $615
Dupont Circle 6 17,318 2 76,883 $633,376 $499,500 $681
Dupont Park 34 14,963 7 71,748 $413,500 $413,500 $347
Eastland Gardens 29 2,445 7 71,748 $317,500 $317,500 $317
Eckington 21 19,481 5 74,308 $522,423 $525,000 $499
Edgewood 21 19,481 5 74,308 $517,397 $550,000 $485
Embassy Row 15 12,829 3 78,887 $1,275,000 $1,275,000 $667
Fairfax Village 35 7,688 7 71,748 $94,716 $85,000 $138
Fairlawn 34 14,963 7 71,748 $318,500 $310,000 $258
Foggy Bottom 5 16,160 2 76,883 $668,042 $551,000 $666
Forest Hills 12 15,500 3 78,887 $583,895 $399,990 $464
Fort Davis Park 34 14,963 7 71,748 $318,125 $321,250 $277
Fort Dupont 32 13,008 7 71,748 $52,447 $52,447 $51
Fort Lincoln 24 11,723 5 74,308 $470,563 $540,000 $281
Fort Stanton 36 7,572 8 73,662 $265,000 $265,000 $198
Fort Totten 19 13,206 4 75,773 $686,666 $675,000 $478
Foxhall Crescent 13 18,558 3 78,887 $1,298,500 $1,297,500 $589
Foxhall Village 13 18,558 3 78,887 $958,000 $910,000 $630
Friendship Heights 31 14,500 3 78,887 $893,818 $875,000 $665
George Washington University 5 16,160 2 76,883 $208,750 $208,750 $569
Georgetown 4 20,464 2 76,883 $1,469,866 $1,260,000 $873
Grant Park 31 14,500 7 71,748 $281,500 $300,000 $319
Greenway 32 13,008 7 71,748 $239,500 $239,500 $224
Hawthorne 10 11,986 4 75,773 $907,500 $907,500 $567
Hill East 25 & 26 6 76,000 $817,546 $830,000 $620
Hillcrest 35 7,688 7 71,748 $465,000 $465,000 $287
Historic Anacostia 28 4,876 8 73,662 $282,874 $296,000 $224
Ivy City 23 14,510 5 74,308 $270,000 $270,000 $288
Kalorama Heights 1 18,338 1 74,462 $3,081,333 $2,875,000 $747
Kenilworth 29 2,445 7 71,748 $319,450 $319,450 $288
Kingman Park 25 29,295 6 76,000 $611,500 $625,000 $525
Lamond Riggs 19 13,206 4 75,773 $551,579 $539,000 $452
Langdon 22 8,459 5 74,308 $590,625 $556,250 $320
Lanier Heights 1 18,338 1 74,462 $746,780 $710,000 $632
LeDroit Park 3 12,174 1 74,462 $570,400 $472,000 $508
Lincoln Heights 31 14,500 7 71,748 $325,750 $325,750 $297
Logan Circle / Shaw 7 23,895 2 76,883 $681,986 $675,000 $687
Lower Central NE 30 6,573 7 71,748 $318,058 $250,000 $302
Lower Fairfax Village 35 7,688 7 71,748 $594,000 $594,000 $470
Manor Park 17 19,455 4 75,773 $556,246 $588,000 $433
Marshall Heights 33 14,888 7 71,748 $306,136 $325,000 $282
Massachusetts Avenue Heights 15 12,829 3 78,887 $634,159 $392,000 $525
Mayfair 30 6,573 7 71,748 $279,266 $275,300 $286
McLean Gardens 14 11,713 3 78,887 $586,158 $410,000 $539
Michigan Park 20 8,875 5 74,308 $562,306 $577,500 $421
Mount Pleasant 2 47,378 1 74,462 $887,525 $893,750 $584
Mount Vernon Square 8 13,560 2 76,883 $629,562 $677,450 $666
Near Northeast 25 29,295 6 76,000 $796,665 $770,000 $570
Near Southeast 27 5,705 6 76,000 $649,985 $629,900 $622
North Capitol Street 8 13,560 2 76,883 $184,000 $184,000 $413
North Cleveland Park 12 15,500 3 78,887 $1,275,886 $1,300,000 $618
North Michigan Park 20 8,875 5 74,308 $592,722 $609,000 $503
North Portal Estates 16 3,957 4 75,773 $1,009,500 $1,009,500 $506
Northeast Boundary 31 14,500 7 71,748 $219,125 $220,750 $202
Park View 2 47,378 1 74,462 $721,225 $734,950 $532
Penn Branch 34 14,963 7 71,748 $417,833 $385,000 $358
Petworth 18 39,924 4 75,773 $683,964 $700,000 $475
Pleasant Plains 2 47,378 1 74,462 $580,542 $579,500 $570
Queens Chapel 19 13,206 4 75,773 $494,544 $470,000 $392
Randle Highlands 34 14,963 7 71,748 $200,000 $200,000 $271
Shepherd Park 16 3,957 4 75,773 $784,476 $807,500 $435
Shipley 38 9,710 8 73,662 $303,500 $303,500 $273
Southwest / Waterfront 9 11,588 6 76,000 $435,966 $391,250 $474
Southwest Employment Area 9 11,588 6 76,000 $510,000 $510,000 $379
Spring Valley 13 18,558 3 78,887 $1,736,250 $1,525,000 $617
Stanton Park 25 29,295 6 76,000 $721,433 $712,500 $599
Stronghold Metropolis View 22 8,459 5 74,308 $380,000 $380,000 $345
Takoma 17 19,455 4 75,773 $488,211 $450,000 $386
Tenleytown 11 12,216 3 78,887 $804,500 $949,000 $707
The Palisades 13 18,558 3 78,887 $1,648,579 $1,325,000 $652
Trinidad 23 14,510 5 74,308 $564,900 $600,950 $457
Truxton Circle 21 19,481 5 74,308 $894,833 $722,500 $631
University Heights 20 8,875 5 74,308 $551,600 $535,450 $508
Upper Central NE 30 6,573 7 71,748 $178,500 $306,000 $215
Washington Highlands 39 30,959 8 73,662 $290,962 $311,925 $258
Wesley Heights 13 18,558 3 78,887 $2,840,000 $2,950,000 $695
West End 5 16,160 2 76,883 $673,954 $605,000 $700
Woodley Park 15 12,829 3 78,887 $1,088,086 $751,000 $626
Woodridge / South Central 24 11,723 5 74,308 $600,918 $597,500 $404

Real Estate Resources

  • GCAAR - website of the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors
  • MRIS homes - MLS service for the national capital region

Washington D.C Mortgage Programs

As of 2017 the conforming loan limit across the United States is set to $424,100, with a ceiling of 150% that amount in areas where median home values are higher. Local affordability makes the $424,100 ceiling apply across most the state for single unit homes. Dual unit homes have a limit of $543,000, triple unit homes have a limit of $656,350 & quadruple unit homes have a limit of $815,650.

As the District of Columbia is a high cost area, the conventional mortgage limits are as follows

Property Type Amount
Single Unit $636,150
Double Unit $814,500
Triple Unit $984,525
Quadruple Unit $1,223,475

The median home value in Washington D.C. is $544,500 yielding a price per square foot of $504. The median monthly rent is $2,600 in Washington D.C., while rent in the broader metro area runs $2,150 per month.

Home buyers who are borrowing more than the above limits will likely need to obtain a jumbo mortgage. Jumbo loans typically have a slightly higher rate of interest than conforming mortgages, which varies based on credit market conditions.

The type of mortgages used in Washington are called THE DEED OF TRUST. This differs from a mortgage in that , in many states, it can be foreclosed by a non-judicial or judical proceedings although morgages are judical. These loans are non-recourse loans which allows borrowers not to be held personally liable for more than the home's value at the time the loan is repaid. If a forclosure is done by the lender and the sale does not generate enough money to satisfy the loan, the lender must accept the loss.

Mortgage Rates

Washington DC's mortgage rates are typically slighlty above the national average. As of the date this article was published, they were 17 basis points higher than the national average. Due to dozens of museums, attractions, famous buildings and beautiful sights many are inspired to invest in Washington DC real estate. From modern mansions to historic brownstones to brand new condominiums only steps from the cities hottest destinations attracts residents.

Refinancing in Washington DC can ease many types of financial burdens such as children's college, weddings, home remodeling, or vacations. Regardless of the reason it's important to research Washington DC home equity rates and become familiar with the two types of home equity products: home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and second mortgages(home equity loans). When you get a home equity line, you obtain the right to draw money as you need it over a certain period of time. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow. For second mortgages, you obtain a lump sum of money. The interest rate and monthly payments are fixed.

Natural Disasters

Tornadoes & Hail

The nation's capital is considered to have a moderate risk of hail & tornadoes. A basic homeowners policy should cover financial damages from tornadoes & hail damages to roofs.

Other Natural Disasters

The capital region is considered to have a very low risk of: flooding, hurricane storm surges, earthquakes & wildfire.

Most natural disasters are typically covered by homeowner's insurance polices with the exception of flooding and earthquakes.

Foreclosure Process

  • The lender is required to give you notice that it's charging you a penalty for making a late payment. If you don't catch up on your mortgage payments , you receive a Notice of Default. Failure to pay property taxes or obtaining a second mortgage without permission on a house that is not your principal residence will also result in default.
  • A Notice of Sale is published if you don't bring your loan current or make other
    arrangements with your lender after receiving a Notice of Default.
  • The property is then sold at a foreclosure AUCTION.
  • In the state of Washington DC there is no Right of Redemption

 

Washington Monument at Night.