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Million Dollar Listing: Capitol Hill Edition

by HillNow.com Sponsor — February 25, 2015 at 2:40 pm 0

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This regularly scheduled, sponsored Q&A column is written by Tom Faison of ReMax Allegiance at Eastern Market. Please submit your questions via email.

No, not the TV show! Thankfully, our neighborhood’s too slow for prime time; our homes lack a certain “slickness” required for HGTV exposure. Our gardens are more organically manicured. Even Hill agents are low-key — no suites, socks rarely, more likely to meet over a beer than a conference table.

The contrast between Capitol Hill, the slow-moving two-mile residential fan east of 1st Street, and Capitol Hill, the Wild Bill rodeo show up on the knoll, is ever amazing to me. The latter demands a camera, the former forbids one. It’s as if our village commands a peaceful posture, a laid-back attitude, a humble disposition as a revolt against the puffed egos in the dome next door.

Humility aside, home price-wise, Capitol Hill put on its big-boy britches in 2000, jumped the million-dollar mark and hasn’t looked back since. I remember that as recently as 1996, $400,000 was the price of close-in admission. Now, only 19 years later, under $1 million would barely get you in the door.

There’s no record of a residential sale above $1 million in our local agent listing service, Metropolitan Regional Information Services, until one month into the new millennium, when 712 East Capitol St. sold for $1.15 million, well worth the record-setting price with eight bedrooms, a carriage house, a triple lot and a “best-address” block.

There were only 28 residential sales north of a million dollars on Capitol Hill from 2000 to 2005, and all but a couple of these were within eyesight of the Capitol. That’s not a large number unless you consider that in the five years preceding 2000, there was only one notable record-breaker, barely above $800,000, at 816 East Capitol St., still a far cry from a million bucks.

From 2005 to 2010, the number of million dollar sales on the Hill skyrocketed to 149 sales, nearly six times the number of sales in the previous five years. The vast majority of these were still well within the Historic District boundaries, but many were beyond it. The $2 million mark was broken by a Washington Post book critic’s home at 5th and A streets NE, followed by a handful of others. It was a period of huge increases!

There have been 279 residential sales over $1 million from 2010 to today, but a $2 million price tag is still rare. And the market has barely begun closing in on $3 million.

Of course, many economic variables, not addressed here, led to these dramatic price leaps. I’m reminded however, that the time span from man’s first flight to man’s first step on the moon was only 60 years — a relative blip in time.

Otherwise, some may say it’s just a number, that millionaires are everywhere, but I say no way. A million bucks is, after all, a million bucks. That’s something …

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.

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