The Coming Real Estate Bubble | Armonk Real Estate


Three and a half years ago, my newly married household acquired an actual house, a 1,750-square-foot slice of paradise in Washington’s Eckington neighborhood. In real estate euphemism, the house is what’s known as “lightly renovated,” the neighborhood “transitional.” “Lightly renovated” meant that some stuff had been done, most of it badly, but the HVAC dated from the Paleozoic, and the yard . . . um, better not to speak of the yard, unless you’re a Hollywood location scout looking for somewhere for your heroin-addict protagonist to bottom out.

“Transitional” meant . . . oh, you can figure it out. We had gone north of H Street and east of North Capitol to the unfashionable precincts of the city’s Northeast quadrant. The most common response, when we told people where we lived, was “Where the hell is Eckington?” The second-most-common response was, “Wow [rapid eye-blinking]. I could never live there. It’s too far from everything.”1

Now some of the same people who politely suggested we were crazy for buying so far east are lamenting that they can’t afford to buy in our neighborhood. Lest you think this is schadenfreude, let me point out that some of these people are friends I very much want to live near me; I would even give up a little of my real estate price appreciation to make that happen.2

The point is, something insane has happened to Washington real estate prices in those intervening years. There’s a feeding frenzy over single-family homes in neighborhoods that are barely within walking distance of a metro. This cri-de-coeur was recently posted on a local real estate blog:

My husband and I are in the process of purchasing our first home.
Our realtor has put a focus on the Edgewood and Brookland neighborhoods since it previously looked like you can still get a house for a reasonable price.
However we have been baffled by these two recent purchases.
Are we really looking at spending nearly $600,000 for an up and coming neighborhood? Have we missed some big announcement for something coming to the area? Are we ever going to find something in our price range of under $500,000 if we want to stay in the District?
We are becoming discouraged.

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