- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What do a six-bedroom, three-bath home in New Carrollton, an 850-square-foot one-bedroom condo in Dupont Circle and a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom town home in Reston have in common?

Very little in terms of style or size, but these three homes were all on the market in December 2006 for $350,000, a price chosen randomly to determine what homes might be available in the Washington area listed at that price point.

A look at home listings on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Web site for consumers (www.Realtor.com) reveals that 57 of 11,879 homes listed in the Washington area were priced at $350,000 last month. More listings similar in monthly costs will be found in a search within a price range, rather than at a specific price. This search was conducted using the specific price of $350,000.

While the average sales price for all housing types in the entire metropolitan Washington area was estimated at $463,000 in 2006 by the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis (www.cra-gmu.org), homes actually vary widely in price and style from one end of the Washington region to the other.

Nationally, the median sales price for a single-family home was $224,900 in the third quarter of 2006, according to NAR’s member Web site (www.Realtor.org). In the Washington area, NAR says the median price for a single-family home was $431,900 in the third quarter of 2006.

Condominiums nationally had a median price of $222,900 in the third quarter of 2006, with a median price of $291,900 in the Washington area during that same time frame.

Buyers need to be prequalified for a mortgage by a lender who can evaluate the income, debt levels and available cash for closing costs and a down payment for individual consumers. Buyers of condominiums must also consider the monthly condominium fee when determining their monthly debts.

For a general estimate of income needs for a home priced at $350,000, NAR publishes a housing affordability index, which says that an income of $85,392 is needed to qualify for a mortgage on a home priced at $348,200 when mortgage loan interest rates are at 6.6 percent.

Pat Orend, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate in Reston, says $350,000 will buy a two- or three-level town home or a resale condominium.

“There aren’t any single-family homes in the Reston area at that price range, not even close,” says Ms. Orend. “The town home which I listed at $350,000 and recently went under contract was a large end unit built around 1970 and has lots of space and light. This one has two baths upstairs and three bedrooms, with the secondary bedrooms larger than most of the bedrooms in town homes.”

Ms. Orend says that for $350,000 in Reston, buyers can find a narrow town home with three finished levels but with only one bath upstairs, or a resale, not new, condominium. New condominiums at Reston Town Center are usually priced higher than $350,000, she says.

In Arlington, several condominiums are listed at $350,000. One located close to the Virginia Square Metro station has one bedroom and one bath, with 705 square feet of living space. Another, in Colonial Village, has two bedrooms and two baths with 785 square feet.

In Loudoun County, three town homes were on the market for $350,000 in December. Two, in the Sugarland Run development, have two stories, three bedrooms and 2 baths. These two homes, built in 1973, have about 1,660 finished square feet.

In the Mirror Ridge subdivision in Sterling, a four-bedroom, 3 bath town home with three finished levels was on the market at $350,000. This home, built in 1992, has a wood-burning fireplace.

Buyers looking for single-family homes priced at or near $350,000 might have better luck searching in Maryland.

In New Carrollton, buyers can find a six-bedroom home with three baths built in 1960 listed at $350,000. This Cape Cod-style home, set on a quarter-acre lot, has central air conditioning and gas heat and is being sold “as is.” While some homes sold “as is” are in good condition, sometimes this can designate a home that needs significant upgrading or repairs.

In Capitol Heights in Prince George’s County, two four-bedroom, two- or 2-bath single-family homes with two stories are priced at $350,000.

In Hyattsville, both rambler-style and two-story homes with three or four bedrooms and 1 or 2 baths are listed at $350,000.

Al Kabiritsi, a Realtor with Brownwoods Realtors, has a single-family home listed for $350,000 in Hyattsville.

“If you look hard enough, you can find single-family homes in that price range in Prince George’s County,” Mr. Kabiritsi says. “This house, in the Landover Hills subdivision, sits on about one-fourth acre and has four bedrooms and three full baths. It has a nice master bath that has been updated, and it’s one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood.”

In Suitland, several single-family homes are on the market for $350,000. A four-bedroom, 1-bath home with three finished levels, built in 1947, is being sold as-is for $350,000. A three-bedroom, three-bath home with a two-car garage, a fenced yard and a fireplace is also on the market in Suitland for $350,000.

The homes in Chevy Chase, in Montgomery County on the District line, carry a higher price tag. A one-bedroom, one-bath condominium with 816 square feet is listed at $350,000. This home includes a balcony and is located in a building with garage parking within walking distance of shops, restaurants and the Friendship Heights Metro station.

In Dupont Circle in the District, a one-bedroom, one-bath home with 850 finished square feet listed at $350,000 includes built-in bookcases, a walk-in closet and a galley-style kitchen.

Realtor Federico Glucksmann with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dupont Circle, has a listing for a condominium on Capitol Hill for $350,000 with one bedroom, one bath and 510 square feet. The home has a small private patio for enjoying outdoor dining or relaxing.

“This is an older building that was converted to condominiums about two years ago,” says Mr. Glucksmann. “The whole building has only one-bedroom homes, so the developer went very high-end to compensate for the size of the homes. There are bamboo floors throughout and gourmet kitchens. This home has a dishwasher imported from New Zealand that slides in and out like a drawer and is very quiet.”

Mr. Glucksmann says the building is just four blocks from congressional offices and is within walking distance of shops and restaurants and the South Capitol Metro station, on a quiet street.

Most other Capitol Hill condominiums priced in this range have one bedroom. A newly converted building across from Garfield Park has a one-bedroom, one-bath condominium for $349,950. That home has a new kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters and hardwood flooring.

Condominiums priced at $350,000 in the Columbia Heights neighborhood usually have two bedrooms and two baths, although one listing has three bedrooms and three baths. These homes range in size from 900 to 1,600 finished square feet.

In other neighborhoods of Washington, buyers can find single-family homes and town homes priced at $350,000. In Trinidad, an end-unit town home built in 1940 has 1,750 square feet and three finished levels with four bedrooms and two full baths.

In the Brookland neighborhood, a three-level single-family home built in 1949 is on the market for $350,000. This home includes two bedrooms, two full baths and hardwood flooring.

Buyers looking for a dream home in perfect condition, with the traditional four bedrooms, 2 baths, a brick front and a two-car garage, may not find that particular property in the Washington area for $350,000.

But for consumers looking for a home at that price, a few homes are available in the region with urban or suburban locations and with fixtures and finishes from the 1940s to the 21st century.

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