16th Street Heights is one of the least known and least tread upon neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., but, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin, it is set to be the city's second hottest neighborhood of 2016. The neighborhood doesn't have a Metro stop or restaurants and retail spaces, but it does have spacious single-family homes and great deals.
So, what is there to know about a neighborhood that didn't even have its own name until the mid 1980s?
It's difficult to know where exactly the neighborhood starts and stops. There are no official boundaries to Washington, D.C.'s neighborhoods, and as the areas grow over the years, so too do those imaginary boundaries set by residents and realtors. The current boundaries of the neighborhood are Military Road NW to the north, Georgia Avenue NW to the east, Arkansas Avenue to the south, and Rock Creek Park to the west, according to D.C. realtors Ellen and Barry Levy.
The name of the neighborhood came about thanks to Ellen, who told Curbed she coined the term, "16th Street Heights," when she was trying to list a property in the neighborhood some time around 1986. Residents at the time referred to the area either as East Crestwood or North Columbia Heights, while tax records for the legal subdivision named the area "16th Street Highlands." When Ellen discovered this title, though, she said it was too long to fit into a Washington Post ad. So, she decided to switch "Highlands" to "Heights," and soon enough the name caught on.
The types of homes found in the neighborhood are brick rowhouses, semi-detached Tudors, and colonials with prices that can run as low as $170,000 or as high as the millions. The median listing price for the area, including Crestwood and Brightwood Park, is $300,000, according to Redfin.
The abodes found in 16th Street Heights date all the way back to the 1920s when the early residents were Italian and Jewish families. Ellen told Curbed that after the 1968 Riots these residents fled to just outside the edges of Washington, D.C. in areas like Bethesda and Silver Spring. The next wave of residents were largely African Americans.
After this, the sounds of circular saws and hammers became common. The houses needed to be restored and renovated, and even today, it's not uncommon to see a few gutted houses ready to be sold within the next year or so with high-end fixtures and appliances. UrbanTurf. also reported in February 2015 that the neighborhood is located in the second most profitable ZIP code in the nation for highest gross profits for flipped homes.
With the neighborhood in a new wave of change, the residents in 16th Street Heights today are more varied in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age.
When Ellen lived in the neighborhood in the early 1980s, she said that there were issues with crime. She told Curbed:
"One of the things that happened very early on when I was new to the neighborhood is I was returning to my home. I was driving, and there was a guy sitting at the bus stop, bleeding profusely and shaking, and I called the police, and he'd been beaten, and some time not terribly long after that at about two in the morning I was awaken by gun shots. I'd say, I think, the neighborhood has improved since then."It was difficult to sell houses in 16th Street Heights to clients during this time. Despite the neighborhood's low prices, large houses, and proximity to Rock Creek Park, those given the possibility to move into the area were wary. Even so, Ellen noticed that there were a number of realtors who lived in the neighborhood.
"We are people who look at houses all the time, and we look at values all the time," she said. With that, she continued to believe in the neighborhood, and it looks like Redfin believes others should think the same.
If you live in 16th Street Heights or are familiar with the area, let us know what you think of the neighborhood in the comments.
· 16th Street Heights [Official Website]