Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Prices going up in the hood... no duh!

The Post has been running articles in the Metro section about the
rising property values in the District. Today's Post features our neighbor Bloomingdale with a picture of the Windows Cafe. The basic point is prices are going up, people of modest means cannot afford to buy houses, and those who continue to remain have to deal with the tax bill.
Yesterday's article was on the level of appreciation well over 130%. I tried plugging in my old numbers looking at Old City II's Ward 5 region (ie Truxton
Circle) and this is what I came up with, excluding the $0.00 sales. Warning I am poor at math. Below are the average of the prices various houses sold for in Truxton.
2003 2004
Rowhouse $281K $299K
Conversion $269K $431K
SingleFamily$125K $317K

I have no clue what a conversion is, but whatever it is it has gotten expensive.


At 2/02/2005 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read both articles and I still need to ask both you and the Post...why is this bad? Gentrification allows for a larger tax base and, all in all, a better quality of life for DC residents.

With a multi billion dollar budget shortfall, Congress is not opening the purse stings to give us more we need to create a more stable tax base that will allow us to work to fix many of the woes that plague this city.

There have been homebuying programs in place in this city that have allowed lower income families and individuals to buy in many of the neighborhoods mentioned in this articl for YEARS (Shaw, H Street NE, Eckington...)...while I realize that there are many that cannot afford it now...these programs would have allowed for many to buy for the same amount that they pay in rent each month. I live in Shaw (not too far from you) and many of my neighbors took advantage of this program long they are sitting on homes that have gone up drastically in value...allowing them many options.

Or we can keep voting out people who have worked to change this city (i.e. Tony W) and elect some of the reactionary jackasses who are more concerned with votes (i.e. Adrian Fenty, Linda Cropp) and miss GOLDEN opportunities to improve this city.

At 2/02/2005 3:23 PM, Blogger Mari said...

*gasp* you're attacking my dear Fenty! Oh my.

Anyway. Is gentrification a bad thing? Depends on where you sit. If you are a senior citizen on a fixed income who lived through the bad years and can't afford to stay in your own home because of the taxes (even @ the senior rate) yes, not good. I'm no fan of higher taxes and as the price of housing goes up I see me paying more in taxes. Also with the higher prices the assessments go crazy. City said my neighbor's house was worth over 1/2 a mill. Crazy, their house wasn't worth that much.
There also is a sort of danger when you cannot attract teachers and other needed workers in fields not known for raking in the money because they cannot afford to live in or near the communities where they work.

At 2/02/2005 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I will attack Fenty and the reason is obvious...he is pandering to the same base that has allowed Marion Barry to be re-elected time and time again. I like Adrian alot, and I am hoping that this is just a way for him to get his name out there because his stance on the stadium and a few other things really disappointed me. He is a bright, young and caring politician...but he needs to remember that Marion Barry was not the savior of this city...the Financial Control Board was (and was run by Tony Williams). But I digress.

I agree with the Seniors issue but there are PLENTY of options open for Seniors in DC...from downsizing to relocating there are options that would allow them to live in DC. I had a great conversation with a cab driver the other day who is a senior in this situation and he decided to sell...and now he is "retired" as he put it because he made a BOATLOAD of $$$. As for attracting teachers and police officers and other key people...allow me to correct my earlier statement...there are programs for low income families AND key occupations (like teaching)...

I realize that taxes are high...they are high everywhere BUT without an increase and a diversifying of the DC tax base we are in trouble. As for teachers coming into the wife is a teacher and she wanted to work in the District but she did not fit the demographic despite experience AND a not get me started with the DC Education system. We spend MORE THAN ANY STATE per child and we still SUCK! You know why? Because we have allowed a bunch of worthless holdovers to occupy our schools without any tyoe of testing or performance evaluation...why?

At 2/02/2005 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two concerns: The issue of seniors being displaced because they can no longer afford the property taxes is easily fixed. With the city sitting so flush with cash, it can afford to drop the property-tax rate, because the assessments have gone sky high.

The second concern is more problematic. One can look to San Francisco, for example, where the housing costs are so high they prevent new people from serving as city teachers because the commute is too brutal. It's this issue, people being priced out of the market in the first place, that's hard to solve. It's an issue many cities face, e.g., NY, but none have solved.

I believe housing prices in the District and close-in suburbs are going to keep soaring for the foreseeable future. This area has a smoking-hot economy but not a lot of close-in housing because housing in the District is mostly low rise and pretty spread out, making it a relatively scarce commodity.

But one cannot pretend that the rising housing market is all a bad thing. It means things are getting better in many neighborhoods or that a lot of people think they will get better soon and are willing to invest their personal incomes into making that happen. Thus, the market naturally reacts by prices rising.

This is a very hard lesson, and can produce cruel results (e.g., long time citizens forced to move, young adults unable to buy in the old neighborhood). All this just after things start to turn -- new vibrancy, rehabbed houses, new retail options, new political clout. Of course others are pleased as punch. When I bought my house in Petworth, the couple selling it was delighted at what they saw as a windfall, kind of an unexpected pension bonus.

Watch out Wards 7 and 8. Be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.


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