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Where to buy now: DC real estate experts dish on neighborhoods that should be on your radar

Congress Heights

Congress Heights

Park 7, at the Minnesota Ave metro

Fort Totten



Rhode Island Row, apartments in Brentwood

Housing on Lincoln Ave

Upper 14th Street NW

If you're in the market for a house or condo in D.C., you might feel a twinge of despair looking at prices in the city's most popular neighborhoods. Luckily, there are still bargains out there in D.C.'s lesser-known neighborhoods--some of which are poised to make a big splash soon.

We spoke to five residential real estate experts--and one retail expert--to find where you should spend your money.

Arynne Crane, Crane Wakefield at DCRE Residential
"Between the Minnesota Avenue Metro and the Benning Road station (Map) is a very small corridor...People haven't driven over to Minnesota Avenue, so they haven't seen the fact that there's been this huge [amount of] construction. Older Safeways, one at a time, get torn down and redone. Well, there's a Safeway at Minnesota Ave. You could possibly think that Safeway could come in, see that there's new construction [and renovate]."

I'm also excited about the potential of Congress Heights. (Map) Getting people to cross the Anacostia River is kind of difficult. The way to do it is to promote that there's a farmer's market at the Gateway Pavilion. How many people know you could walk through and have a nice afternoon [there]? I like Congress Heights because of the Giant, the Metro, and the fact that there are a ton of storefronts, close together on Martin Luther King Jr Ave, for three blocks. That doesn't happen a lot east of the river."

Djana Morris, Keller Williams Capitol Properties
"One neighborhood that I think is a great neighborhood, but is going to come up in terms of amenities, is Riggs Park/Fort Totten. (Map) That's a great area. It's been a great area for a long time, but it was definitely off the radar, and still is. The price points are pretty reasonable; you can get something that needs some work in the low $300,000s and something completely fixed up for as much as $500,000. It kind of tops out there...It's just as convenient, just as close to downtown as Petworth is, but about half the price....

The style of rowhouse is different than a Petworth [house] because it tends to be smaller square footage. A thousand to 1200 square feet is the norm, with a front porch and a back yard. It's really cute. There's a big Giant on Riggs Road [just across the border into Maryland]..the best crab place in D.C., that everybody in the know knows about is Ruff N Ready which is on Riggs and Eastern [Avenue]. It is just the best. You go there any weekend and there's a line out the door."

Alix Myerson, Alix Myerson at Long & Foster Real Estate
"I think there will be more of a movement over...in Brightwood. (Map) I think there will be more of an effort to get into Brightwood as soon as we nail down what is going to happen and when at Walter Reed. 

"East of the river is a huge find, [like] Hillcrest. (Map) Get on the Metro and start walking around. It has detached houses on decent-size lots from a variety of eras. Some contemporary, some much older, and it's hilly. It's got great views."

Chris Burns, GreenLine Real Estate
"Everyone's talking about Anacostia (Map). I'm very bullish on Anacostia. I grew up around here, and Anacostia had such a bad rap, but it's no worse than some of these parts of Petworth or upper Columbia Heights. Within the historic district, you can pick up something for $300,000. Being so close to the Green line, you're...about as far from downtown as Petworth. A lot of my younger buyers who are in that $225,000-$400,000 range and they want to stay in the city, I'm definitely pushing them out there.

"I also really like Brentwood (Map). You can get a rowhouse for $400,000, and you're within walking distance of the Rhode Island Ave metro."

Dan Ford, UrbanPace (sales and marketing for new condos)
"Takoma (Map) is a...neighborhood we haven't done work in recently, but it's in the District, on Metro, there's a neighborhood there. I think you'll start to see more neighborhoods like that, where you'll see an acceleration of activity....

"A lot of people who live close-in are getting away from saying they need to be on Metro. We see neighborhoods like Bloomingdale (Map--but seriously?), have a ton of people moving there--there's a lot of price appreciation...You're close to a lot of neighborhoods, especially with the prevalence of bike commuters and more people taking Metrobus."

Bonus recommendation for entrepreneurs:
Chad Shuskey, Washington DC Economic Partnership
"If I was an entrepreneur or local business, the area I'd be starting to pay attention to is upper 14th St NW, by the bus barn. (Map) I think about other corridors in D.C. that have a similar vibe--I think of 11th St in Columbia Heights and I think of Del Ray in Alexandria. Upper 14th St doesn't have the density that Columbia Heights has, but when I walk up and down I kind of get that vibe from it.

"There's an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to make an independent business...it's starting to gain some traction. You have Ruff N Ready [Furnishings], a pizza place, and G Fine Art."

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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