Congress Heights, Deanwood or Hyattsville?

20 Replies

First time home buyer here. My husband and I are looking into buying a 2 bd/2 bath house or townhouse (no condo) close to metro (we dont have a car) in the near future. Our our budget is ~$350K which limit us. We have been interested in the Anacostia/Congress Heights, Deanwood and Hyattsville areas as we can still find good houses within our price range there. We are also interested to buy in an area with growth potential. Any thoughts on which of the three areas has higher growth potential? Any other areas that we should be looking around? Thanks! 

Of the three choices, I'd pick Hyattsville, provided it is the Hyattsville near the PG Plaza and West Hyattsville. "Hyattsville" seems to be like Silver Spring in that is all over the darn place, so there is that.

You mentioned you are a car-less person. I have been predominately car free since the 1990s, and I got a car in my life when I married my husband about 7 years ago. I have 2 rentals and a primary home and so it is possible to be a car less real estate investor.

Why Hyattsville? Well the Beltsville to Mt. Ranier Route 1 corridor is our Plan B should I get transferred to another duty location from my current day job duty station in downtown DC. So part of it is for are personal reasons. I've also lived in that general area before while a student at UMD, so I'm aware of the problems of PG County and what I hate about it.  Congress Heights and those other parts of EOTR (east of the river) DC are not part of my traffic patterns so I am not as familiar with them. Deanwood has been touted as up and coming by some people for over 10 years (looking at watch) if it hasn't up and come by now, the way it is now may be as good as it gets. And Congress Heights... I will always wish the best for that area, but it lacks things, that I as a car free person need. Hyattsville, the area also including parts of Riverdale, Adelphi, College Park (Hollywood), and northwest bits of Mt. Ranier (my husband loves University Park but the taxes are too high) despite being in the f-up that is PG County have possibilities for growth because of what UMD and EYA is doing with the Rt 1 corridor. The county which seems to act as if decent sidewalks are an abomination are beginning to put in semi-logical sidewalks in those areas around PG Plaza mall and Rt 1. It is also close enough in to make getting into the city easier. The Purple line might also show up, who knows. Infrastructure and job centers (such as UMD and a few govt agencies) are reasons I would bet on Hyattsville.

@Karelyn Cruz , Hyattsville is your best bet... You also have the proposed Purple Line coming through there so appreciation will likely happen in the future for homes in the area.

@Karelyn Cruz Of the 3 options, Congress Heights is your best bet for the money. The property taxes in PG county are crazy and you get nothing. Nothing and the schools are not that great (sorry). There are major development plans for areas east of the river. The walkability scores are higher compared to the county. I think there are plans for a sports center (you can walk to). Get in early. You may be able to find something in Anacostia, if you are not afraid of renovations your money will go further. Deanwood would be my second choice. Also expand your search to Ft. Dupont and Lily Ponds. Since you are a first time homebuyer check out the NACA program. I got my first property with it. Great program. Good luck with your search!

Thank you all for your feedback! 

@Shadonna N. - Do you know if you loose the NACA loan if you buy a second home later? I was reading that you cant own another property at the time of getting the financing but it wasnt clear to me if you will lose the benefits if you buy a second home in the future. Also, where is Lily Ponds? Couldnt find it on the map :P Thanks!

@Russell Brazil - can you expand on your answer? Why is a no for CH and a yes for the other two? Thanks for your help! 

You cannot have your name on a title (within the last three years i think) prior to your purchase with NACA. But you can get a loan after and have multiple loans in your name. You can also use NACA more than once so long as your name has not been on a title for a certain period of time. To further benefit, you and your husband can both separately go through NACA. As far as Congress Heights, there are rough areas but there are developments with houses (not condos) with professionals and growing communities. As the other poster stated, Hyattsville is nebulous in that everything is called Hyattsville. There is an arts area that is nice but they are mostly condos and then you have the taxes. excuse the typos.

Congress Heights is the best bet investment wise. Deanwood being second....I wouldn't look at Hyattsville at all. Whoever said don't consider Congress Heights on this thread is a friggin moron. Look at all the development going on - New Arena opening in the Fall. Homeland Security moving to the neighborhood in 2020...The area by the Congress Heights Station set for redevlopment around the same time, It's a neighborhood on the rise. No other area in the entire metro area saw property value increase more last year. Deanwood is a nice area as well - but Congress Heights has more development activity at present. Yes you still have pockets of crime - it is the poorest neighborhood in the entire city, but Congress Heights is a neighborhood you want to invest in NOW. Also as a 1st time homeowner, you can apply for the DC Opens Doors 1st time homeowner program, where you will pay zero money down on your 1st property with NACA. Hyattsville has zero going on, property values are on the decline, taxes are high, and schools are no better than the ones in Congress Heights. Plus there is the longer commute downtown depending where you are in Hyattsville. If you are on the immediate borders of DC or near the metro- prices are higher vs living near Deanwood or Congress Heights Station...Congress Heights is a get in now before it's trendy situation....It will be the next hot neighborhood in 5 years, easily...I have been here 2 years and already would not be able to afford to buy a house in my neighborhood if I were buying today. A house directly across the street from me is selling for $100K more than I paid Houses that need work are selling for just as much as I spent on a fully renovated property. The potential is HIGH and it's already marked next by developers. Get in now before Gentrification (which is already occuring NOW) gets even worse.

Originally posted by @Jim Brownski :

Congress Heights is the best bet investment wise. Deanwood being second....I wouldn't look at Hyattsville at all. Whoever said don't consider Congress Heights on this thread is a friggin moron. Look at all the development going on - New Arena opening in the Fall. Homeland Security moving to the neighborhood in 2020...The area by the Congress Heights Station set for redevlopment around the same time, It's a neighborhood on the rise. No other area in the entire metro area saw property value increase more last year. Deanwood is a nice area as well - but Congress Heights has more development activity at present. Yes you still have pockets of crime - it is the poorest neighborhood in the entire city, but Congress Heights is a neighborhood you want to invest in NOW. Also as a 1st time homeowner, you can apply for the DC Opens Doors 1st time homeowner program, where you will pay zero money down on your 1st property with NACA. Hyattsville has zero going on, property values are on the decline, taxes are high, and schools are no better than the ones in Congress Heights. Plus there is the longer commute downtown depending where you are in Hyattsville. If you are on the immediate borders of DC or near the metro- prices are higher vs living near Deanwood or Congress Heights Station...Congress Heights is a get in now before it's trendy situation....It will be the next hot neighborhood in 5 years, easily...I have been here 2 years and already would not be able to afford to buy a house in my neighborhood if I were buying today. A house directly across the street from me is selling for $100K more than I paid Houses that need work are selling for just as much as I spent on a fully renovated property. The potential is HIGH and it's already marked next by developers. Get in now before Gentrification (which is already occuring NOW) gets even worse.

 You might want to consider the qualifications of someone before you call them a moron. You like congress heights, thats great. I choose not to recommend to people to live in neighborhoods where they have a 1 in 20 chance of beong a victim of a crime. And no, prices in Hyattsville are not on the decline. Prices in the entire metro area are currently rising if you understand how to read the data.

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

I stand by what I said....PG County is tops in the entire DC area with highest negative equity rates....You can read here

https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/0...

I also can show where crime data in Hyattsville isn't drastically better than either Congress Heights or Deanwood.  My post is written for a homeowner looking at investment potential. So yeah lets not make it it like Hyattsville is Bethesda.  It's a Dump too.  Difference between the two in DC and that one is both have potential for greatness.  Congress Heights is Petworth circa 2002....Get here now before it's up up and away.  You have much better school choice in DC vs Hyattsville as the entire city is open enrollement.  You gonna realistically tell someone property value is increasing in Hyattsville at the same pace as either Deanwood or Congress Heights?

It really depends on the temperament of the person.  If you are looking for a suburban like atmosphere, go to the suburbs but go to Montgomery County.  You get more for you tax dollars.  PG is big and the crime rates overall will keep certain businesses and restaurants from moving there.  They have a Wegmans but good luck getting a Whole Foods and forget about a Nordstrom.  The Bowie, Mitchellville, Glen Dale areas are nice but you got those darn taxes.   But PG may be more of your style.  Congress Heights has tree lined streets but turn the corner and cross the street and there may be something else.  Jokes aside there are some really nice homes in Congress Heights but it all comes down to your patience and lifestyle.  The area is definitely gentrifying and the time would be now to get in.   BUT no point getting a good deal and being miserable because you don't like the area or the people around you.  Only you can answer that question.  Try doing a few weekend trips and stay in an AirBnb in the areas you are interested in purchasing.  The people here know the DMV down to the street so you can get your questions answered.

@Russell Brazil is a great asset to the forum and has given me lots of good information.   I love DMV + Baltimore posts.  I think our area is the most interesting.

@Shadonna N. there is a Whole Foods in PG County near Hyattsville in "Riverdale Park" https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/riverdalep... and it has been open for nearly a year. We've eaten at the hot bar and it has the usual WF stuff, flowers, sushi, bread, pretty veggies, kumbucha and at least one pierced tattooed hippie dreadlocked staff member. 

It's part of that development that is making Baltimore Ave... Route 1, a pain in the butt from a wee bit north of University Blvd down to the DC/ MD Eastern Ave border. There are new large developments, some spurred on by UMD-CP and other's EYA. I forget who is responsible for the Whole Foods on Baltimore Ave but there are more cookie cutter townhomes popping up behind the Whole Foods and all the other new establishments over there in that shopping center. In addition to a WF there is a Gold's Gym and some bar and grill I've never heard of, and a pizza place.... like the area needs one more stinking pizza place.

Since @Karelyn Cruz mentioned she was car-less let's focus on the areas that have MARC, WMATA bus & subway and have bike paths and semi-functional sidewalks. Parts of PG have that, but not all parts. PG is not MoCo, but that's why it is more affordable than MoCo.

There is a useful blog I've been semi-following Congress Heights on the Rise ( https://www.congressheightsontherise.com/index ) and she has a real estate section. Compared to hotter parts of DC the units she features are very affordable, but they tend to be condos, which the OP wanted to avoid. Yes, DC has the school choice option, but it is a gamble, a literal gamble. In 2 years I'll be playing that lottery. Former neighbors have played and lost, and that's why they are former neighbors (we live in NW DC, east of the Park).  And yes, there are some great programs run by the city. Check out the DC Housing Finance website- http://www.dchfa.org/ a zillion years ago I got my 1st home loan from them at below market rates.

Yes, @Russell Brazil is an awesome and knowledgeable guy.

Thank you all for your feedback and recommendations on both different areas. We are currently actively looking into both CG and Hyattsville areas. Let's see where we end up. One big challenge is the high taxes in MD. We will have to lower our price point if we want to buy a house there. Alternatively, the challenge in DC is that most houses in our price point are small and need a lot of work. Not easy for first-time home buyers right now... We are running some numbers to see what makes sense financially. 

Thanks again for all your help! 

Hi @Karelyn Cruz , I would recommend Deanwood. It's a neighborhood we have been keeping an eye on and think will appreciate quickly. About 1/4 of the houses in Deanwood are walkable to the Deanwood Metro station, and the Deanwood recreation center is a nice family-oriented amenity. Some other DC neighborhoods we see growth in are Petworth, Eckington, Edgewood, Brookland and Trinidad...however, home values have spiked in those areas, so it may not be as easy to find something within the price range you are seeking. 

My team and I are very familiar with the DC metro area, so if you have any additional questions, would be happy to connect and chat. 

Best of luck!

Call me a moron.  Been looking in Mt Rainier, Hyattsville areas for two~three months and it just seems like the area is exploding with flip opps with everything in the $200-$300K getting a lot of action (Multiple contacts first week).  Decided to move lock stock and barrel to Forest Heights just inside the beltway from MGM with an awesome view of river, Alexandria and the top of the Washington Monument.  We found Deanwood and most of DC east of the river still a little back of the gentrification curve with MD inside the beltway jumping with activity.   Excited to move and about ready to wholesale this house in Vienna.  Anyone interested in need of lipstick rehab job - in the last two years new fence, HVAC, 20 windows, kitchen ten years old ~ 4,500 square feet 4br 2.2 baths three levels, pool an so close - three lights  to 66 - and one exit from 495 and hot lanes.  

Do yourself a favor and check the crime stats on MPD's website, go to the crime mapping section where you can break it down by district versus looking at citywide crimes stats at a glance. Deanwood is in 6D and Congress Heights is in 7D. The city has had 35 murders so far this year, 25 east of the river, 19 in 7D. Both CH and DW should be crossed off your list without hesitation but if you absolutely had no other option I guess I'd say Deanwood, if you've got a kid make sure he/she's a black belt b4 letting them frolic at the Rec Center, unless you're cool with them coming home shoeless/coatless etc.

If you like hearing rapid gunfire, smelling weed 24/7, stolen cars flying up and down the block 24/7 and a complete feeling of lawlessness then move on in (oh the occasional naked people on PCP running around make for an interesting sight too).

Seriously, do not move to either location (especially if you have kids or plan on having any) it's not going to be the next U St / H St / Petworth blah blah for a longgggggg time, if ever.  

I grew up in Deanwood and own in Deanwood.  Deanwood as the up and coming neighborhood is true.  Home values have gone from 250k AVG past 350k in the last few years.  Lots of gentrification.  That being said your not going to get in to Deanwood on the low end without the home needing major renovations.  Congress Heights may very well be the new Deanwood but you have the same renovation issues and crime is a little worse, not that Deanwood is great by any rep.  And no your not dogging bullets or being held up on the corners. Its very safe in that regard mostly property theft. So you will be getting a security system.  

Transportation wise, District heights is serviced by 1 metro station and near by Anacostia is full of potential and 10 years from now will be great again.  But I can't recommend it today.  Hyattsville is serviced by at least two stations but its also a larger part of local PG county. Where your home is will dictate how useful the Metro is. But even if your close to PG plaza for example your going to be taking long walks or the bus to close the distance.  Deanwood is the best of both worlds. Most of Deanwood is close to 2 of 3 metro stations.  If you ride share with Zipcar they are several parked at the Minnesota ave station.  And you will find that you are driving wise exactly in the middle of drive times.  And unlike most everwhere else where you get stuck with one way in or out.  There are 5 or 6 ways to get to Deanwood even in the worse traffic.

Aside from MoCo or Fairfax, it’s a hit or miss.

You’re better off trying to find something in Silver Spring. Now that Discovery is moving its headquarters up to NYC and taking a huge number of employees with it/laying them off, you might get lucky and find a good deal.

PG has a long ways to go, so does DC.

The hospitals in both areas are always slammed with GSWs and drug overdoses...

Good afternoon all,

Lots of great discussion here.   I bought a new construction home in Congress Heights.   The value of it has gone up significantly over the last 2 years.   Additionally, one of the older houses in our neighborhood recently sold upwards of $720, 000.   I am renting my house out and live there as well as I am recently getting into real estate.  

There is a lot of plans for development with in the area across the river with the new bridge being funded, a town center coming to that side of the river as well.   Just my thoughts.   Although there is crime, it has been significantly reduced over the past decade.   There is a lot of new construction townhomes, condos, and single family homes coming up in the area.   I think there is opportunity and it is on the up and up.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/south-capitol-street-project-promises-a-new-bridge--and-new-life--for-anacostia/2018/03/03/51aec4b4-1cad-11e8-ae5a-16e60e4605f3_story.html?utm_term=.f30996501170

 

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