It’s A Wrap: Hill Residential Real Estate 2017

Capitol Hill Residential Real Estate 2017


2017 was another bumper year for residential real estate in Washington DC and on Capitol Hill. Indeed, Ward 6 has to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. While the residential market has continued to prosper, development is all around us. New, repurposed and renovated development abounds. All of this is having a very positive impact on our residential values and the desirability of Capitol Hill as a neighborhood where more and more people want to live. Thus, not many people leaving, more people wanting to live here equals higher residential real estate values. I empathize with many of my contemporaries who lament the changes on the Hill and some of the things that we have lost. However, I remember the “Hill In A Handbasket” negative article in the Post and the never ending flight to the suburbs of the 70’s-90’s. I love the new Hill and can’t wait to see what it will look like tomorrow.

Between 2015 and 2017, the average Hill sales price rose from $800,000 to $890,000  and the median sales prices on greater Capitol Hill during the same period, rose  from  $745,000 to $818,000.

The number of sales rose from 694 in 2015 to 721 in 2017. The real eye opener is the change in “brackets” over the past two years.



Less Than $300,000



$300,000 – $500,000



$500,000 – $1,000,000



Greater Than $1,000,000




The million dollar plus market is the fastest growing segment of our market.

Several years ago, I wrote that we would see a day when anything inside the Historic District would sell for a million or more. We are not far from that day!

While Capitol Hill has always had location and while many of us have always known what a wonderful place this is to work and to live, people are flocking here now not just because of what we have always been, but they are coming for what we are becoming and will become. Our wonderful walkable and livable community has gotten larger and friendlier. More and more amenities and more and more access to world class entertainment and dining venues are just a short walk or ride from our front doors. Many of our older sites are being renovated, redeveloped or repurposed. Let’s look at a few.

The Hine site is now open and is home to a new Trader Joe’s. For many of our residents, the last reason we needed to travel to Virginia has been fulfilled! Much more very exciting retail is rumored. And scores of new residents have begun to move in. Hine has quickly become the new home of Hill residents who have decided to sell their homes of 20 or 30 years to get on one level and stay in the neighborhood they love.

In 2017, Madison Investments and our own local PNG Architects delivered a new 49 unit condominium building on the site of the old Washington Auto Club (11th and I Streets, SE). We miss Clarence but the Kipling House is quite an addition to this corner of Capitol Hill.

The Buchanan School site has been redeveloped and now boasts 30+ brand new million dollar plus townhomes.  The old Buchanan School has been redeveloped into 41 beautiful new condos by Martin Ditto. 41 new and old neighbors. How often have we driven by that site for the past 30 years and thought “what a waste.” No more…and we did not lose the site to the dreaded “big box stores.”

How about the old Capitol Hill Hospital at 700 Constitution Avenue. All done and ready to provide well over one hundred new residences. This building looks like a jewel at the top of a hill. The new life that this building will now bring to that part of the Hill is significant.

Little needs to be said about H Street and the Union Market area. Hundreds of new residents this year and thousands more to come over the next several. Many new restaurants, a new Whole Foods and more retail space delivered in 2017 and more to come online in 2018.

These are just a few of the highlights brought to our neighborhood in 2017. There are dumpsters on nearly every block. This represents neighbors who are upgrading their homes and who are committed to staying on the Hill. It also represents the overall upgrading of our housing stocks. All of those older and sometimes abandoned properties are disappearing quickly.

What to look for in 2018 on the Hill? Watch the area around the Safeway and on over to Pennsylvania Avenue. The Safeway site will be levelled and rebuilt; the old Bowie Trash site is a big hole in the ground; and a significant development immediately to the west of this site. A few blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue at Potomac is another large development; another in the 1200 block of Pa. Ave. and then there is Frager’s old site. All of these will deliver in 2019.

These are all significant happenings on the Hill. But let’s not forget what has been happening and continues to happen in areas contiguous to the Hill. The Capitol River Front and the area around Nationals Park is continuing to fill in the empty holes. More hotels and more restaurants and other entertainment venues are opening. There is new Audi Field (future home to our DC United) and all the development at Buzzards Point that will come with Audi Field. And then there is The Wharf. Tens of thousands of square feet of residential and commercial and entertainment space. All of this only a $10 Uber ride from the Hill. Florida Avenue Market are will deliver over 6,000 new residences and thousands of square feet of office and retail space.

The future of our neighborhood is indeed bright. The only word of caution is that mortgage interest rates, while still a bargain, are starting to creep up. A rise of a point or two should not be an issue. But, for those of us who have been in this marketplace for a few decades or more, you never really know. We have seen several ups and downs, none of which we saw coming. If you need the equity out of your home in the next two – three years, you might want to consult with your family and your accountant and see if moving sooner than later might be prudent. I have been in this business since the mid 70’s and know that this has been a neighborhood of higher highs and higher lows. The only people who I have ever seen lose money(or make less) have been those who were forced to sell when they were caught in a three-five  year down cycle.


Don Denton is Branch Vice President, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.