Moving To Washington DC Metro Area: The Ultimate Relocation Guide
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Moving To The Washington DC Metro Area
Are you thinking of moving to the Washington, D.C. area? You’re not alone.
With Amazon, Facebook, Google, Yelp, Microsoft and Apple coming to the DC area there will be even more demand and price insulation in the market place.
If you’re headed this way, you’ll love this vibrant area full of monuments, museums, national landmarks, cultural events, musical and theatrical entertainment, and sporting events — just to name a few options.
The District of Columbia itself has a population of 600,000+, while the larger metropolitan area (the ninth-largest in the country) has a population of approximately 5.3 million.
Since you’ll be new in town, we wanted to give you an overview of what will soon be your new home: we’ll talk cost of living, give you a snapshot of several local neighborhoods, as well as some all-important traffic tips.
DC Metro Home Prices
According to Zillow, the median home value in Washington is currently around $581,100, and Washington home values have gone up 5.9% over the past year. The prediction? They’ll likely rise 5.6% in the year ahead.
The median list price per square foot in Washington is $532, while the Washington/Arlington/Alexandria Metro average is about $225.
Which DC-Area Neighborhood Should You Call Home?
The DC Metro area has a diverse set of neighborhoods to choose from. With faster-paced urban communities, family-friendly suburban neighborhoods, and quiet rural areas with lots of green space, you’ll be able to find a new home that’s exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Here are a few of the DC area’s popular neighborhoods to get your search started.
Capitol Hill (Washington, DC)
This is the neighborhood surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building and is the biggest residential historic district in DC. You’ll find lots of 19th and 20th-century row homes, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Capitol Hill is certainly a prestigious address — and the political center of the U.S.
Georgetown (Washington, D.C.)
Because of its perfect location right on the Potomac River, Georgetown was a major port and commercial center during colonial times. A neighborhood full of restored row homes and a sought-after tourist destination, it’s also home to plenty of high-end shops, bars, and restaurants. On the western edge of the neighborhood, you’ll find Georgetown University. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal also begins in Georgetown, stretching 184 miles all the way to Cumberland, Maryland.
Dupont Circle / Embassy Row (Washington, DC)
Consider this area of DC if you want to be surrounded by museums, historic homes, foreign embassies, a selection of ethnic restaurants, bookstores, and private art galleries. And if you love nightlife, this might also be a great fit for you.
Adams Morgan / U Street (Washington, D.C.)
Many consider this part of Washington the hub of D.C.’s liveliest nightlife. With a huge variety of restaurants, nightclubs, coffee houses, bars, bookstores, art galleries, and unique specialty shops, it’s very popular with young professionals. In this rapidly0changing area, you’ll also find the U Street Corridor with some of the city’s most buzzed-about nightclubs and theaters.
Penn Quarter / Chinatown (Washington, DC)
Head just north of Pennsylvania Avenue downtown, and you’ll find this revitalized hub with some of the country’s best museums, trendiest restaurants, high-end hotels, nightclubs, contemporary art galleries, and more.
Anacostia / Southwest (Washington, D.C.)
Huge transformations are happening in these neighborhoods along the Potomac and the Anacostia Rivers. Head over to this part of DC to find rapidly-growing areas of employment, entertainment, and new home construction. The revitalization began with the construction of Nationals Park, the baseball stadium. The Southwest Waterfront’s beautiful location along the Potomac River is currently being crafted into a truly world-class city community.
Rockville / Bethesda / Chevy Chase (Maryland)
Located in Montgomery County, Maryland, these neighborhoods are close to the nation’s capital and are also among the most affluent and highly educated in the country. You’ll find the National Institutes of Health, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, and the National Naval Medical Center, all located in Bethesda. Rockville is the second-largest city in Maryland, while Chevy Chase is a mostly residential suburb of DC.
National Harbor (Maryland)
This 300-acre waterfront area has been open since the spring of 2008, and enjoys a prime spot on the beautiful Potomac River. This area is always growing, with hotels, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums, a full-service marina, a convention center, and commercial office spaces continuing to crop up. Meanwhile, major attractions include an outlet shopping mall, a giant Ferris wheel, and a much-visited casino.
Gaithersburg / Germantown (Maryland)
Gaithersburg, Maryland’s third-largest city, is part of a diverse community located in the center of Montgomery County. It’s also home to historic Old Town, new urban communities and suburban subdivisions alike. Meanwhile, nearby Germantown has seen huge residential and commercial growth ever since the 1980s.
Silver Spring / Kensington / Takoma Park (Maryland)
Just north of Washington, D.C. these neighborhoods provide easy access to highway I-495. The area is primarily residential with a variety of unique neighborhoods, as well as plenty of shopping, schools, and restaurants. The University of Maryland calls this area home.
This charming independent city is just six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C, along the Potomac River. The historic center of Alexandria (simply called “Old Town” by the locals) is the third-oldest historic district in the country. More than 4,200 historic buildings date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, including homes, churches, museums, shops, small businesses, and restaurants.
Ready to dive into more research of the DC metro neighborhoods? Take a look at this comprehensive guide.
DC Area Traffic Tips
You’ll find DC itself to be very walkable and bikeable, complete with a reliable public transit system.
However, the Washington, DC area is also notorious for horrible car traffic. DC drivers spend more than three days out of every 365 sitting in traffic.
To avoid the worst of the gridlock, it’s best to live on the same side of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as you work, if possible. Crossing the river bridges contribute to the slow pace of commutes, so keep them to a minimum when deciding where to live.
If you’ll be driving into work, you’ll also want to invest in an EZ-Pass if you don’t already have one. It’s part of the electronic toll collection system used on most tolled roads, bridges, and tunnels in the area.
If you’ll be a federal worker, you can receive a monthly transit benefit to pays for your public transit. Even if you don’t work for the feds, you can still probably use a pre-tax deduction from your salary to pay for transit use.
Washington, DC is one of the leading housing markets, with a strong value hold on properties due to the low inventory and the super high demand from buyers. With great public schools, a strong job sector the DC area has been insulated from the ups and downs in the overall market nationally.
So if you’ll be moving to the Washington D.C. area and need a dependable realtor, contact us today. We’re proud to be ranked #1 in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area for volume and units sold.