- The Washington Times - Friday, January 8, 2010

The Washington, D.C., real estate market, among the most expensive in the nation, had a median home price of $319,200 in the second quarter of 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. Of course, home prices vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood and among condominiums, town homes and single-family homes.

Homes priced at $350,000 can range from a one-bedroom condominium in Arlington, Va., to a four-bedroom home in Bowie, Md., or Ashburn, Va. The current real estate market offers more options for buyers in that price range because some larger homes are available as short sales (when a property is sold for less than the full mortgage to avoid foreclosure) or as a bank-owned foreclosure.

Buyers in the $350,000 range need to be prepared for a surge of competition, whether it’s for a single-family home in the suburbs, a city town home or a chic condominium.

A traditional single-family home at 20589 Twelve Oaks Way in Ashburn, in Loudoun County, recently went under contract. Priced at $350,000, this 2,898-square-foot home - with four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, three finished levels and a two-car garage - was a short sale.

“Anything priced at $350,000 or less will sell within one day in this market,” said Chris Cormack, a broker with the CC Sells Team of Keller Williams Realty in Ashburn. “Single-family homes priced under $400,000 will sell very fast, too. In Leesburg, you can find town homes and condominiums that are foreclosures priced in the $150,000s to the $200,000s. Buyers need to be prepared for multiple offers and plenty of competition on homes in this price range.”

Ms. Cormack said many of the homes, even if they are short sales or foreclosures, are in good condition.

“Buyers need to be prepared with a preapproval for a mortgage and be ready to make an immediate offer on these foreclosures,” Ms. Cormack said. “Many of the banks, including Bank of America, require a preapproval from their bank for purchasers of the homes they own.”

A single-family home in Bowie, a custom-designed contemporary-style residence built in 2007, recently went under contract at 12905 Seventh St. This short sale, priced at $350,000, has three bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. Each bath has upgraded ceramic tile flooring, hardwood flooring in the living areas, crown moldings, a tray ceiling in the master suite, a stone fireplace, a whirlpool tub in the master suite and a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances.

Real estate agent Ariana Loucas, with Keller Williams Realty in Bowie, said, “There are plenty of single-family homes in this price range in Prince George’s County. This home is not in a subdivision, but many of them are available in communities with a homeowners association, which a lot of buyers want.”

In Northwest Washington’s 16th Street Heights neighborhood, a single-family home at 1213 Hamilton St. NW recently sold for $350,000. John Lesniewski, a broker with Re/Max United Real Estate in Upper Marlboro, Md., said he received multiple offers for the property.

“We decided to sell it ‘as is,’ but with about $60,000 to $80,000 in improvements to the kitchen and baths, the property will probably be worth about $500,000,” Mr. Lesniewski said. “Properties with good value sell fast, and this home has a nice front porch, a detached garage and a nice stone fireplace. Near my office in Upper Marlboro, there are plenty of new single-family homes with four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and a two-car garage selling for less than the $350,000s for 1,800 to 1,900 square feet.”

In Northwest Washington’s Bloomingdale neighborhood, a two-bedroom, two-bath condominium is on the market for $350,000 at 1824 N. Capitol St. Real estate agent Angela Jones, with Long & Foster Real Estate, said the home comes with a monthly condo fee of $156. Four homes are in the building.

“This is a first-level home with a private patio,” Ms. Jones said. “The home is in great condition, with bamboo floors, stainless steel appliances, granite counters, a wine cooler, a marble foyer and a whirlpool tub in the master bath.”

Ms. Jones said buyers can find mostly foreclosures and short sales in the city in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range, including a wide range of condominiums, town homes and single-family homes. She said buyers can find homes in good condition or needing minor cosmetic work in the Fort Dupont, Fort Totten, Brookland and Bloomingdale neighborhoods, but the competition among buyers is strong.

In Bethesda, Md., real estate agent Michael Rose, with Coakley Realty in Rockville, is selling a town-home-style condominium within the prestigious community of Riverhill. Located at 8032 Quarry Ridge Way, Unit No. 3B is a two-level, two-bedroom brick town home that was completely renovated in 2008. Priced at $350,000, this 800-square-foot home has hardwood and ceramic tile flooring, six-panel doors, and a gourmet kitchen with maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counters. The combined monthly condominium and homeowner association fees are $293.

“Typically, you’ll find that homes in Bethesda priced under $400,000 are midrise or high-rise condominiums and garden-style condominiums, often without any outdoor space and with a higher condominium fee,” Mr. Rose said. “Anything listed in that price range is typically snapped up in a minute.”

In Arlington, real estate agent Pat Shannon, with Long & Foster Real Estate, has a condominium on the market for $350,000. This one-bedroom, one-bath home has approximately 1,100 square feet, with a monthly condominium fee of $679, which includes all utilities and cable television. The home includes a garage parking space, a balcony, hardwood flooring and a recently renovated kitchen. Residents can walk to the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations.

“In Arlington, buyers can sometimes find a town home or duplex at $350,000 if it’s a foreclosure,” Ms. Shannon said. “There’s lots of competition in that price range, so buyers need to be prepared for multiple offers and be ready to make an offer the day the property goes on the market.”

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