We couldn’t afford the neighborhood we created

I was looking in the sales database on the DC.Gov website from 1999 to 2001. This was before the Real Estate boom. Prices were just starting to rise, and I remember in 2001 there were many stories about bidding wars and houses being sold in a day. Anyway, the database shows that many of the properties selling in those years, less than $100K. 19 Bates for 60K, 1426 North Cap for 63K and 1628 4th for 33K. Of course, it doesn’t say what condition the houses were in when sold. There is another bunch of properties selling in the low $100’s. Between 2002-2004 there is a greater variety in the sales prices, few properties under 100K and several in the 200K-300K range. I stopped being able to afford this neighborhood a year after I moved in.
First I have to praise those who came before me. The hard working men and women, who value hard work, who moved in and made a home for themselves during the 70s and 80s. Their work, though seemingly futile against the crime and negativity, created a neighborhood for those of us moving in later could tolerate. If it weren’t for Dinah and Lem, I wouldn’t be here. People like them battled the crime and bad behavior, they fixed up their homes and yards and fed the spirit of neighborliness. And I’m going to be bold enough to say that if it weren’t for myself and the other neighbors who moved in 1999-2001, the folks who moved in 2002-2004 wouldn’t be here. And those moving in after 2004 will add, and are adding, to neighborhood.
Each year this place gets better. There is still crap like the gunshots on 1st and the friendly neighborhood drug dealers on the corner, homeless guys peeing on houses, crackhos conducting business in alleys and so on, but it isn’t as bad as what it used to be. This gives me hope, that next year will be better. That there will be fewer guys on the corner next year, that Big Bear and EC-12 and maybe whatever replaces Dave’s will be places where I run into friends and neighbors, that gunshots will be rare, and that the new Ward 5 Councilperson knows about the character of Truxton Circle.
In 2000-2001 I couldn’t of afford a neighborhood like this, with so much about to happen. I could just hope that the one I could afford, something that could be, in time could be what I wanted.

5 thoughts on “We couldn’t afford the neighborhood we created”

  1. I hear you Mari. We moved here in 2004 and even then I feared that we were making a mistake and stretching ourselves too far for this neighborhood. In two short years, we’ve seen so much development and so much promise. But more than that, we feel a common bond over this with our neighbors.

  2. I hear you too. I moved here in 1997 – renting. In 1999 I finally bought a house. I was apprehensive because at the time people were saying the market might be peaking. My house was listed for $99k. I had already lost 2 houses to competitive bidding, so I offered $105,000, which made me even more apprehensive because I was offering “top dollar”, and among multiple bidders, they selected my bid. The previous owners where investors that bought in 1979, remodeled, installed separate metering for the basement gas and electric, got a certificate of occupancy for the new basement apartment, removed a lot of the original detail (unfortunately), and didn’t even break even after 20 years. Jesus I got lucky.


  3. Crackhos in the alley?

    Try crackhos on the unit block of R NW in broad daylight; working out of their front doors.

  4. Oh, and, try neighbors who routinely turn a blind eye to the crackhos working in broad daylight out of the front door of their house on R st. Neighbors who raise their children a couple of doors down from the crackhos, and don’t care about all the pimped-out Caddies with MD plates that pull up in front of their houses to conduct “bidness” at all hours.

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