6 of the Best Neighborhoods in DC for First Time Home Buyers

Posted on Nov 05, 2020


The real estate market in Washington, DC is extremely competitive. First time homebuyers often struggle to find a place that suits their needs – especially if they’re not in the market for a condo. 

First-time homebuyers are looking for a good deal in a neighborhood they can get to know intimately. We reviewed real estate data and spoke with several of our top real estate agents to see what they had to say and uncovered several neighborhoods that hit the right notes of accessibility, affordability, and appeal. 

Here are 6 of the best neighborhoods in DC for first time homebuyers.

DC Neighborhood Guide: Brightwood

You may have heard of Brightwood as DC’s “best kept secret” – which indicates the good deals here won’t be a secret for too much longer. Brightwood is a residential community located North of DC’s main metro area, and manages to maintain a neighborly, local feel while lying within DC city limits. While hip restaurants and bars may not be what Brightwood is known for, there are several popular, foodie-friendly places within easy walking distance.

Brightwood: Real Estate Trends

In every city, first time homeowners are on the hunt for hidden gems, and Brightwood is just that. Rather than condos, it’s the colonials, row homes, and duplexes that are typical here. Homes are well maintained, though they may not have the latest updates to kitchen and bath that might be standard fare elsewhere. The neighborhood’s location next to ample green space makes it appealing to families looking for something outside the concrete jungle.

What our local Realtor has to say about Brightwood:

“Brightwood has become a trendy place for buyers looking to live on the outskirts of the city. Nestled behind Petworth and near the Maryland line, the area offers a slower paced feel than the hustle of downtown, with easy access to popular destinations,” says local buyer agent John Marcario.

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in or around Brightwood.

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This 1,908 sq.ft home in nearby Takoma listed for $684,650 in 2020 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a gourmet kitchen, a large rooftop deck, a finished basement, gorgeous hardwood flooring throughout, and a one-car garage. 

  • Average home price today: $633,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $431,000
  • Number of residents: 3,725
  • Median age: 36.8
  • Walkability score: 77
  • Local bar: Anxo Cidery & Tasting Room
  • Local restaurant: Deset Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Local coffee spot: Qategna
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium

DC Neighborhood Guide: Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring, MD is hard to beat when it comes to affordable homes with an easy commute to downtown DC – and this little city has plenty going on besides. It’s been rated #2 out of 192 Maryland cities as the best suburb for young professionals, and boasts over 100 restaurants, plenty of outdoor activities, and locally-owned small shops to fulfill every shopping need. 

Silver Spring MD: Real Estate Trends

Silver Spring has a competitive real estate market but it’s possible to get good deals on homes here, with a lot more square footage than you might get in other similarly-distanced DC suburbs. Home prices have gone steadily upward over the past five years, and buyers can choose from a variety of condos, single family homes, and townhomes. 

What our local Realtor has to say about Silver Spring:

“Silver Spring is a great mix of urban and suburban living with quick access to DC without DC housing prices,” says buyer agent Anita Mutumba.

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in Silver Spring.

home for sale in Silver Spring MDhome for sale in Silver Spring MD

This 1,569 sq.ft home in Silver Spring listed for $485,000 in 2020 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a charming custom-built screened-in porch, an updated kitchen, beautifully restored hardwood flooring, and a two-car driveway. 

  • Average home price today: $423,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $378,000
  • Number of residents: 71,452
  • Median age: 34.6
  • Walkability score: 61
  • Local bar: The Society Lounge
  • Local restaurant: Copper Canyon Grill
  • Local coffee spot: Kefa Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Wheaton Regional Park

DC Neighborhood Guide: Wheaton

Wheaton is a suburb that’s been revitalized in recent years. Space, affordability, and a sense of community form the bedrock of this DC enclave. The region is both diverse and boasts plenty of green space, with sprawling Wheaton Regional Park in one corner which features a conservatory, dog park, ice arena, and plenty of trails. 

Wheaton: Real Estate Trends

Wheaton is a great opportunity for first time home buyers who need more square footage – whether it’s for fur babies, real babies, or simply a backyard – without giving up DC accessibility. Single family homes and townhomes are common here. Unlike some DC suburbs Wheaton has a high walkability score, with plenty of casual restaurants and cafes just a few minutes away.

What our local Realtor has to say about Wheaton:

“Wheaton allows for great shopping, moments away from the red line. The home values in the area are competitive when compared to other DC suburbs,” says Buyer Agent Anita Mutumba.

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in or around Wheaton.

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This 2,100 sq.ft ranch home listed for $475,000 in 2020 through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a fully updated kitchen, a large rooftop deck, a finished basement, gorgeous wood plank flooring throughout, and a backyard with stone fire pit and built-in grilling area with deck. 

  • Average home price today: $464,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: unknown
  • Number of residents: 48,284
  • Median age: 36.1
  • Walkability score: 97
  • Local bar: The Limerick Club
  • Local restaurant: Cristina Ristorante Italiano 
  • Local coffee spot: Java Nation
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Brookside Nature Center

DC Neighborhood Guide: Lily Ponds

This bucolic-sounding neighborhood doesn’t disappoint: Lily Ponds is a tranquil and somewhat insulated neighborhood thanks to its location between the river and the freeway. This area is also known as Mayfair and River Terrace. For families looking to escape the noise and density of the city without giving up on proximity, Lily Ponds can be the perfect solution.

Lily Ponds: Real Estate Trends

Just because it’s affordable for first time home buyers, doesn’t mean it isn’t competitive – homes for sale in Lily Ponds often close in a matter of days. Unlike many DC neighborhoods that are technically affordable due to a glut of condos, Lily Ponds offers true affordability with plenty of single-family and row homes available. While this area may lack the trendy eateries available in other neighborhoods, it offers plenty of green parks and metro accessibility.

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in or around Lily Ponds/Mayfair/River Terrace.

  • Average home price today: $363,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: unknown
  • Number of residents: 3,725
  • Median age: 36.8
  • Walkability score: 48
  • Local bar: Trusty’s 
  • Local restaurant: Sala Thai Restaurant
  • Local coffee spot: Eclectic Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: River Terrace Recreation Center

DC Neighborhood Guide: Eckington

For those in search of a neighborhood with some old-fashioned charm, Eckington may be the one. As one of Washington, DC’s oldest neighborhoods, it has a picturesque small-town flavor while maintaining easy accessibility to downtown DC. A tight-knit community makes this a good choice for families looking to settle in for a while, and beautiful, mature trees line the streets.

Eckington: Real Estate Trends

Eckington’s diverse housing stock allows home buyers to choose from condos, single-family homes, and row homes. Despite being so close to the heart of the city, this neighborhood hasn’t been as hyped as its neighbors – leading to plenty of potential good deals considering the potential square footage and proximity. 

What our local Realtor has to say about Eckington:

“Eckington is benefiting from the build up along the H Street Corridor. With a slew of townhouses and access to Union Market it has become a popular location for those looking just outside Capitol Hill,” says local buyer agent John Marcario

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in or around Eckington.

  • Average home price today: $369,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $278,000
  • Number of residents: 8,653
  • Median age: 33.9
  • Walkability score: 92
  • Local bar: Showtime Lounge
  • Local restaurant: The Red Hen
  • Local coffee spot: Qualia Coffee
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Harry Thomas Recreation Center

DC Neighborhood Guide: Kingman Park

Having recently been declared a historic neighborhood, Kingman Park, DC has plenty of old-fashioned charm to match its tight-knit community. Beautiful, mature trees line many of these streets, and residents appreciate local treasures like the open air farmer’s market and skate park. Easy access to downtown puts this neighborhood high on the list for many a home searcher.

Kingman Park: Real Estate Trends

Brick homes built in the federal style are common here – expect century-old row homes and condos. Though there aren’t as many trendy restaurants in this neighborhood, it remains a popular option for home buyers set on finding an affordable home that ticks off all the boxes. 

What our local Realtor has to say about Kingman Park:

“Kingman Park has become an area buyers are looking at after the announcement of work around RFK Stadium. Long considered a possible reunion for the Washington Football Team returning to the grounds, the area is a potential gold mine for increased property value,” says local real estate agent John Marcario.

What Can You Get?

Here are the Houwzer homes for sale in Kingman Park.

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This 768 sq.ft home in Kingman Park listed for $479,950 in 2019 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a charming porch, and hardwood flooring. 

  • Average home price today: $625,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $482,000
  • Number of residents: 6,524
  • Median age: 33.2
  • Walkability score: 80
  • Local bar: The Ella Grace
  • Local restaurant: Maketto
  • Local coffee spot: The Hill Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Kingman and Heritage Islands Park

Of course, this list of the best neighborhoods in DC for first time home buyers doesn’t cover everything – there are great starter homes in every neighborhood. Schedule a consultation with one of our buyer agents to start getting a feel for which neighborhood will be right for you.


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