Walnut Street Finance Blog

Washington, DC Metro Area Neighborhoods Worth Watching

Posted by Walnut Street Finance Team on Nov 21, 2018 9:56:36 AM

The Washington, DC metro area real estate market is constantly evolving — and the just-announced location of the Amazon HQ2 in the area is only hastening that trend. Longtime residents can speak to the influx of prosperity in locations that were once overlooked by real estate investors. New neighborhoods have come to life, and quiet suburbs are experiencing a rebirth. A recent article in the Washingtonian highlights 15 neighborhoods expected to see dramatic changes and the largest price bumps over the next couple of decades. So let’s take a look at a few of the most promising of these neighborhoods.

Rockville Pike is Rocking


Photo Courtesy of Realtor.com

Located just 12 miles northwest of Washington, DC, Rockville Pike is the main thoroughfare of the town of Rockville, MD. What was once a non-distinct area packed with outdated strip malls and unsightly vacant properties is on its way to a full revitalization. This is mostly thanks to Montgomery County’s White Flint Sector Plan.

The White Flint Sector Plan, approved back in 2010, seeks to create a thriving and diverse mixed-use center, and it is centered around Rockville areas closest to the Metro and along Rockville Pike. It seeks to develop new parks and opens spaces, as well as transform Rockville Pike into a bustling boulevard lined with trees and improved walkways. And eight years later, it’s clear this initiative is paying its dividends. With developments such as Pike & Rose and North Bethesda Market, you can already see a variety of housing, offices and boutiques along the thoroughfare.

The next phase of the project calls for 16,000 new homes and 22,000 new jobs over the next 30 years. Currently, you can get a brand-new 631-square-foot condo for $340,000. So while prices are currently low along Rockville Pike, you can expect to see a sizable increase in cost over the next few decades, making it a great place to invest in a variety of real estate opportunities.

Feeling Merry in Merrifield


Photo Courtesy of Realtor.com

Thirteen miles west of DC, you’ll find the formerly dull city of Merrifield. What was once known for its light-industrial warehouses and uninspired office buildings has experienced a resurgence of interest, mostly due to the arrival of the Mosaic district in 2012. This highly walkable area boasts a comingling of housing, shopping and restaurants, and there’s more to come. Residents and visitors are enjoying the newly available district, and a lot of people are seeing Merrifield as a place in which they want to live.

What’s more, Inova Health System is constructing a 117-acre Center for Personalized Health in the once sleepy Northern Virginia neighborhood. This facility will specialize in tailoring research and disease treatment to an individual’s specific genetic makeup. Once this plan has been executed, Merrifield could soon find itself as one of the world’s top destinations for medicine.

With the Inova facility and plans to expand the Mosaic district, as well as its location to the Orange Line and several Metro shuttles and bus lines, Merrifield is a prime area for real estate investors. You can currently get a 704-square-foot condo near the Mosaic district for $335,000, and as improvements continue, you can expect to see those prices move upward.

Crystal City Will Become a Crown Jewel of DC Burbs


Photo Courtesy of ArlNow.com

When Amazon announced that half of its HQ2 prize would be going to Crystal City, a lot of talk began regarding the influx of jobs and prosperity. And with that comes a need for housing. Less than five miles from DC proper, this small pocket of the Arlington area once saw an office vacancy rate of more than 21 percent, but things were changing even before the Amazon announcement.

JBG Smith, one of Washington’s largest developers, has maintained control of most of the area’s buildings, and they are making Crystal City’s rebirth one of their highest priorities. What was once empty buildings will soon become housing, retail and offices. The first phase is already underway, and residents can expect to see a grocery story, an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a variety of apartments and retail businesses by 2020. And when Amazon arrives, 25,000 new jobs paying an average of $150,000 will come with it.

Crystal City, and the areas around it, will almost certainly see a rise in housing costs once these changes are underway. Currently, you can purchase a 950-square-foot condo for $394,000. But with new developments and the incoming Amazon complex, real estate investors would be wise to get in early in order to turn a sizable profit down the road.

Be Part of the Change

A lot of changes are coming to the Washington, DC metro area over the next several years, and a lot of neighborhoods are poised to see a strong uptick in real estate prices. Savvy investors will do their research and start finding the smart fix and flip investments — as well as multi-family units and commercial properties — before prices go up. There looks to be a rush on the ever-strong DC real estate market, and the time to act is now.

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