| Buying | By Anslie Stokes

NoMa – a moniker for “North of Massachusetts Ave” – is one of the most rapidly developing neighborhoods in DC. Just north of the U.S. Capitol and Union Station, this area has sparked new growth and revitalization that’s prime for real estate investment.

The Good

NoMa’s quickly changing face is exciting, which is a big draw for buyers looking for a smart investment. Residential and commercial real estate construction is happening all over the neighborhood, meaning that there’s something for (almost) everyone.

With its rapid growth brings new cultural hotspots, like yoga studios, hip events, and a bustling new population. To thank is NoMa’s Business Improvement District organization, which has largely been responsible for generating commercial interest and development dollars in the area. They also organize a number of events like the NoMa Summer Screen, a free outdoor film festival, and others.

Alongside NoMa’s BID is government investment, too: DC has dedicated $50 million to the area alone for development of parks, playgrounds, and greenspace. There are five proposed parks underway or almost-ready, which means that residents can expect more places to hang or walk their dogs in the near future.

With so much change, it’s easy to forget some of the longstanding cultural institutions of the area. The Smithsonian National Postal Museum is a surprisingly fascinating and immersive museum dedicated to one of our most important public services. With unique art, rare stamps, and postal artifacts, the SNPM offers a unique slice of American history.

Finally, one of the best parts about NoMa is its sheer amount of transit opportunities. With a WalkScore of 92, residents have access to Amtrak, VRE, MARC, two Red Line Metro stops, seven Capital Bikeshare stations, and the I-395 for drivers. From NoMa, you can go anywhere.

The Bad

Good for some, less so for others; NoMa is still taking shape.

Neighborhoods in transition can feel like they don’t have a concrete identity, and NoMa is very much the same. This makes it feel slightly out of place in one of the most historic and culturally relevant locations in the country. Many residents live in DC for its cultural relevancy, and so identity depth is an important consideration.

The flip side of this coin is the existing reputation that NoMa can’t seem to shake: that of being the run-down area with the Greyhound Station. Still, you can see a bustling identity start to take shape; the area is full of young singles, students, born-and-raised Washingtonians, and tourists. We don’t expect its singular reputation to stick around for much longer.

There’s a lot of construction happening in the area, so expect a crane-dotted landscape, dust, and construction noise for years to come.

Finally, there’s an obvious dearth of sit-down restaurants. Union Market made a go at it in 2015, and closed up shop only a year later. This is a sign that the area isn’t totally ready for a grown-up identity yet, but we think this will change as its population explodes. The need is there, but will only continue to grow.

The Real Estate

A big consideration: NoMa doesn’t have very many detached housing opportunities; it is made up primarily of luxury mid-rises and rental apartments, with some townhomes and duplexes.

A note: The homes that do get put up on the market are often sold before ever being publically listed. If you’re set on a NoMa house, you’ll need a dedicated agent to get behind the scenes for you.

New developments are including indoor pools, pet spas, movie rooms, and luxury gyms to entice residents to spend their dollars in the area, and it’s a strategy that’s working. In terms of real estate investment, this is both a perk and a cost; maintenance fees are higher, but, you know, pool!

Since the area is rapidly growing, the cost of a condo is still relatively reasonable. But don’t expect it to stay that way for much longer. The sheer amount of transportation and housing opportunity in the space-strapped DC means that if you want in, you need to get in now.

Ultimately, if a mostly-reasonably-priced condo with amazing amenities is for you, then NoMa is the place to be. As long as you keep your expectations fair in a changing neighborhood, then it’s an easy win.

If you want to know more about investing or buying in NoMa, talk to us! Give us a call at 202.270.1081, email us at anslie@thestokesgroup.com, or send us a message here to get started.

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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