Readers of Washingtonian.com recently shared their opinions on our “The Right Place for the Right Price” feature, an article that was intended to expose potential issues with new developments that are hoping to turn central Washington into a “condo paradise.”
We chose that title because it represents the image many people have of condos in Washington: smart, sleek, mostly rental — but pretty.
While we didn’t suggest that was a true representation of the typical Washington condominium, we also didn’t disagree with our readers who shared the vision of condo towers in DC as being high-rise neighborhoods with open sidewalks and pretty buildings. While the growth of condos in DC is nothing new, it is getting faster, says the neighborhood’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, who opened up her office to write about the subject.
Here’s how some of you interpreted our content:
If condos should be a trendy, no-brainer neighborhood, why are they so expensive?
I do not believe we should allow condos to become even more expensive, especially ones that further diminish and will further congest our neighborhoods that we call home. While we know that our condos are meant to be a home for income, I believe that we should all find a way to make way for reasonable supply.
How will new development spoil the lively neighborhood?
I am concerned as to the increase in construction and apartment buildings due to the influx of new investors. New construction doesn’t create new residents, and that will be to the detriment of the location, the different businesses in the area and the neighborhood as a whole.
Should this issue be handled by the DC city government?
The city has to find a balance between controlling how rents are controlled so that people can afford a living, but not at the expense of other residents’ ability to live and afford in the area. If we can’t provide a decent living and lower prices at the same time, then a compromise is necessary, and the first step is to rezone the current buildings to allow for more apartments, and maybe having the city change zoning laws so that certain types of housing, like townhouses, can be built in certain areas. These are some options that can be considered to help offset the growing prices and the rising number of condos while allowing for existing properties to be taken off the market.
Where are I supposed to go to live in the District of Columbia?
If you live in the District you should be encouraging new development, even if it comes at the expense of your neighborhood, but you should also realize that you may have to move. These new developments are the only way that District residents will have affordable, safe, and above all, comfortable housing options.
The ability to purchase property is essentially a luxury, and it makes little sense that we should expect homebuyers in the District to be able to buy a brand new unit for hundreds or thousands of dollars more than what the market is asking. It’s no wonder that we’re not getting many new buyers in the District. One reader summed it up well:
Developers are the only ones who seem to make a profit from working here. Buyers are the only ones who pay for the schools, drainage, streets, zoning, police, fire and public transportation, etc. So they don’t have a vested interest in the District.
Have any thoughts? We welcome your comments.