| Buying | By Anslie Stokes

As a destination, DC has it all – culture, history, retail, restaurants, a well-integrated transit system, and a great mix of unique residents. Developers didn’t take notice of the area until the Columbia Heights Metro station opened in 1999, bringing new possibilities and people to the area. Now, it’s a well-rounded, established, desirable neighborhood, where the average sale price has gone up every year since 2012.

Columbia Heights is like a representational slice of DC, with a little bit of everything – and it’s changing rapidly.

The Good

As an established neighborhood, Columbia Heights has had time to build everything its residents need. Unlike a newly-established hotbed like NoMa, Columbia Heights has a dozen grocery stores and food markets within easy walking distance from its residents.

Shopping is plentiful, hangout spots are everywhere, and as one of DC’s most diverse communities, we can practically guarantee that there’s something for everyone.

Cultural landmarks like Tivoli Theatre are community gathering spaces, while local schools and dedicated residential pockets mean you’ll likely bump into your neighbors out and about. It feels like a genuine, urban community, with a diverse population and shifting identity that makes it a unique and exciting place to live.

It’s also one of DC’s better neighborhoods for schools. The area has over a dozen public schools, with programs like Technical Arts, Bilingual, and Early Learning. Test scores, college readiness, and student progress ratings have been improving across the board, meaning that schools in the area are taking their educational programs seriously.

The Bad

Depending on who you ask, Columbia Heights’ reputation is shifting towards hipster homogeneity. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no shortage of unique things to see, eat, and do in the area. But there’s also no shortage of skinny jeans, soy lattes, and fixed-gear bicycles in what some locals have begun to call the “hipster outpost of DC.”

This might be due to new construction and chain retailers popping up in between old favorites and hole-in-the-wall standbys. Like any tight-knit community, you’ll find people who aren’t thrilled about increasing density and chain businesses moving in.

But the neighborhood is well on its way to late-stage development; on the main drag you’ll find Target, Best Buy, IHOP, Starbucks, and many other American commercial mainstays. While accessibility of home goods and necessities is important, residents are worried about the future of favorites like the Wonderland bar, Red Rocks Pizzeria, and Bloombars.

The Real Estate

Columbia Heights used to be on the cusp of affordable. But since the mid-2000s, development has skyrocketed and prices have gone up steadily. No longer a diamond in the rough, Columbia Heights is keeping pace with neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Logan Circle for desirability and pricing.

Some condo buildings are popping up in between restored rowhomes and longstanding residential streets. In fact, condos are some of the most popular Columbia Heights real estate. New amenities, a focus on urban lifestyle, and scaling affordability make condos a desirable purchase for those looking to move to the area.

Likewise, we’re finding a lot of rowhouses and single-family homes are getting sectioned into multiple-unit apartments. Purchasing in Columbia and converting to rental is a great option for long-term passive income, especially with DC’s sheer number of potential tenants.

You can find micro-apartments, bachelors, and 1 bed, 1 bath condos in Columbia Heights for less than $350,000, and some are going for under $290,000. Scoring something fun and rentable isn’t easy, though, so we’d recommend working with an experienced Columbia Heights real estate team to help you get your dream unit.

Want to know more about Columbia Heights? Looking to live in the area? Let us know! Give us a call at 202.270.1081 or email us at anslie@thestokesgroup.com.

The Stokes Group is a team of dedicated professionals who have passion for the real estate business and will advocate for our clients with the utmost honesty, integrity, and confidentiality. We believe in building solid relationships with our clients and that starts by getting to know who we are. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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