Thoughts on Reservoir Hill, Baltimore?

12 Replies

What are your thoughts on investing in Reservoir Hill, Baltimore. Seems like there is a surplus of beautiful brownstone for cheap, and idea on the future of the neighborhood?

The question is, what are you looking to do? 

But, you are correct to say that there is a ton of great architecture to be purchased in that part of town for. To be truthful, I moved out of town a few years back, so I am not up to date on all of my information. Check out reservoirhill.net for the community association. They are big boosters of the neighborhood.

In the 80's and 90's, that area was a war zone. In the early 2000's, some urban pioneers, started staging a comeback, but it suffered a setback in the 2007-2011 crash. A ton of money was poured into the neighborhood in 2005-2007 as investors bought up cheap multis with the idea of doing condo conversions or cheap shells with the idea of turning them into gorgeous 3500+ sq ft single family homes, complete with historical details preserved for under $300k. At that same time, I was about to buy into a block on Linden Ave. About 8 or 9 families bought up shells on Linden with an eye towards renovating them, and some of the renovations were fantastic.  Some never got off the ground. I remember one investor in particular was buying up shells left and right and ended up losing his shirt when the market tanked. Things are picking up again, but I honestly don't know the market in that part of town as it is today.

Historically, I would have called Eutaw the western border. Again, I haven't driven the area in quite some time, so I don't know what its prospects are. I can tell you that right across North Ave in Bolton Hill, brownstone multi units are listed on the MLS for upwards of $700k, but, keep in mind, Baltimore is block to block, and North Ave acts as significant border. Station North, to the south east of Res Hill, has been steadily improving, as has the area between North Ave and Charles Village.

So, in short, I don't know if I have helped, but there is some background. As an investment play, I think flipping may be the best option. If you are looking buy and hold, I don't know if that market works as well as other parts of the city.

I absolutely would not count on reservoir hill getting better anytime soon. The city was promoting renovation in Reservoir Hill a decade ago and it is no better today then back then. Admittedly the crash didn't help.

I would buy there based on a good deal at today's numbers, but I would not be counting on appreciation.

Agreed @Ned Carey . The guy I'm thinking of who lost his shirt radically overestimating his ARV. I think he was banking on selling 2/2 condos in the $299k range. To me and my father, that seemed outrageous then, even with the madness of 2007.

This might not make any sense, but the desire for that neighborhood to come around is far greater than the amount of money actually flowing into the neighborhood. 

@Andy Gross   you are right, there were a LOT of people buying back then counting on converting to condos all over the city.  It was silly because their numbers they were buying at only made sense if they could sell as condos. There was no track record of selling condos in Baltimore. It was all a pipe dream.  Even without the crash there was little chance of most condo conversions making money.

Big story in the Baltimore Sun today. Madison Park North, a housing complex with about 280 unites, is going to be razed. The place is a dump, but it's going to put a bunch of people out of housing. This might present a good opportunity to buy rentals in the surrounding areas for those with vouches.

Not great or horrible, block by block, further north and central to 83, the better. Big places. the 6 unit apartment buildings investors seem to like. There will be a big shopping complex in the not too distant future with a Wal-Mart I believe on the other side of 83 (Remington). appreciation? don't bank on it, rentability? sure.

Originally posted by @Ned Carey :

@Andy Gross   you are right, there were a LOT of people buying back then counting on converting to condos all over the city.  It was silly because their numbers they were buying at only made sense if they could sell as condos. There was no track record of selling condos in Baltimore. It was all a pipe dream.  Even without the crash there was little chance of most condo conversions making money.

 @Ned Carey   Would you still say Condo Conversions all over the city are still a bad Idea? I've been looking in to this idea for a 3 unit building in Charles Village. The Comps are spotty and vary in price. Some have it being a very good deal and others approach break- even. 

I'm concerned because I'm not sure if Baltimore is a "Condo city" like DC is. 

Have you heard of anyone making money from conversions? Do you happen to know some factors of making money vs losing money in a conversion.

What are your thoughts on investing in Reservoir Hill, Baltimore. Seems like there is a surplus of beautiful brownstone for cheap, and idea on the future of the neighborhood?

As long as you can buy or control properties well below market value, you will do very well in Reservoir Hill, I have. You can't make money there buying listed properties, you need to negotiate and control properties directly for owners.

Charles village is one place where condos might work but I still look at it as a high risk venture. I presume converting to condos is and setting up a condo association is a lot of work. To do that for only three units would be high cost of time and money per unit.

I like Reservoir Hill. No boards, and I think the areas East of Eutaw are pretty good with some nice overall values. I don't know if I would go bonkers trying to flip in the neighborhood, unless there was a REALLY good opportunity but I think it's a stable area for rentals, for sure.

Ned is correct as to both Reservoir Hill and Charles Village. In Reservoir Hill, if you are buying to renovate and resell, I would in all seriousness hire someone to sleep in the House until the property is sold. The neighborhood is famous for renovations disappearing over night. In Charles Village, most large buildings are 3 to 5 units. Most are rentals. Condo conversion in that area, with the prices already full valued, would not be my recommendation.

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