This article originally appeared in The Washington Post on April 25, 2016.
By Dean Cottrill, president of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Mid-Atlantic region.
Developers and home buyers are flocking to Southwest Washington
There’s no doubt that one of the hottest areas in the District right now is the Southwest quadrant.
Development in the area is absolutely booming, with major efforts like The Wharf — a 24-acre, $2 billion mixed-use project — leading the way.
Though it was part of Pierre L’Enfant’s original city plans and includes Fort McNair, it was also home to some of the city’s most overlooked neighborhoods. In the 1950s, the government — led by city planners and Congress — decided to launch an urban renewal program in the area. As a result, almost all of the residents and businesses were pushed out, the whole place was leveled and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway was constructed right through the middle of it.
The Southwest quadrant was then rebuilt, mostly with sturdy brick and concrete residential co-ops, condos and apartment buildings of the style popular in the 1960s and early ‘70s. After that, development for the most part stopped. Without neighborhood amenities like shops and restaurants, and with a freeway cutting off easy access to business districts, the area never really took off and parts of it fell back into high crime and poverty.
Over the last five years or so, though, there has been a resurgence of interest that is breathing new life into Southwest. In addition to residential renovations, conversions and construction, the Nationals Park stadium opened in the adjoining Southeast quadrant, which caused spillover retail and hospitality development in Southwest.
While the development happening within the Southwest quadrant includes a wide variety of office, retail, hotel and entertainment/cultural spaces, what has caught my attention — naturally — are the new residential offerings. An area that averages around 20 property sales per month suddenly has hundreds of apartment and condominium units in various stages of construction, with everything from designated affordable housing to high-end luxury dwellings. In addition to The Wharf, other mixed-use projects in the works include Buzzard Point, The Portals and Waterfront Station.
That influx of inventory is sure to have an impact on the market. And while it remains to be seen if home buyers will have the same level of interest as developers, early indicators seem to be good.
Here’s a look at market data from Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS for Zip code 20024 for February 2016 as compared to February 2015:
• Property sales: Up 18.18 percent
• Average sales price: $378,625 in February 2016 vs. $321,167 in February 2015
• Property inventory: Holding steady
• Days on the market: 28 days February 2016 vs. 27 days February 2015
For a broader view, here’s how average sales prices compare from 2000 to 2015:
• Average condo sales price: $109,739 in 2000 vs. $371,494 in 2015
• Average co-op sales price: $78,942 in 2000 vs. $297,062 in 2015
• Average fee-simple/single-family sales price $198,214 in 2000 vs. $667,668 in 2015
So it would seem that the buyer interest is there. For instance, a recent listing in River Park Mutual Homes on Delaware Avenue in Southwest drew more than 200 people in a week and garnered eight offers.
Why are today’s buyers attracted to Southwest? First and foremost, it’s affordable, at least by D.C. standards. You can get far more for your money in this quadrant than in others. And it’s accessible now, thanks to the Metro. It’s right on the waterfront, and offers a small-town feel with close proximity to the Mall. And, of course, ongoing development is delivering a host of new services and amenities, which enhances the quality of life in the area.
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Data last updated: Feb 25, 2020 8:11:am.