NW DC: Forest Hills “Bargain”

Forest Hills, DC, means suburban-style living in the middle of the city. Nestled between Rock Creek Park and Connecticut Ave NW, north of Van Ness St, this is a place of large lawns, some winding streets, older and newer/rebuilt homes, the occasional embassy, and gently rolling terrain. Unlike most real suburbs, however, it has sidewalks, and you only have the illusion of being away from it all.

So, with all these assets, what can you get for under $1 million? Nothing. The average list price is closer to $2 million.

But I did spot one potential “bargain” out there. For $1.15 million you can grab this 1952, 5-bed/4.5 bath rambler at 4421 Linnean Ave NW. It is the cheapest house on the market in this neighborhood, with a woodsy location and maybe (??) decent bones. It was reduced by $200,000 in June and originally hit the market in December at almost $1.6 million.


The listing photos for this house are humorous. The first 14 of them show mostly trees. Then you’ll see a room with several windows overlooking those trees. By the way, this is Linnean Avenue, the dead-end portion of Linnean Drive that shoots off of Albemarle St.  The house is at the end of the street, where forest pathways lead into Soapstone Valley, which leads to Rock Creek Park.  The property is selling “as is” and has been on the market for more than 200 days. 

For any Forest Hills renovation, beware: keeping up with the Jones’ in this neighborhood is no small undertaking. For example, Jones Family #1 might be buying the modern luxury home pictured below


Located on the cul-de-sac of 2800 Chesterfield Pl NW, this architectural stand-out is surrounded by other equally interesting modern homes. It has 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths, over 400 windows, large spaces, goji screens and a gym. It is on a large property that backs to Broadbranch Rd, along Rock Creek Park. At $3,895,000 it still seems cheap compared to a couple of other Forest Hills home!

To see something more “moderate” in the Forest Hills mid-range, check out the 6 bed/5 bath Tudor home with a pool, at 4933 30th Pl NW. It is listed at $1,895,000. The location is great for those who need contact with civilization without getting in a car: walk to the famous Politics & Prose book store/cafe, Comet Pizza  (brick-oven, thin-crust pies and ping-pong), CVS and several other handy places. Walk also to St. Paul’s nursery school, Auguste Montessori, and three public schools: Murch Elementary, Deal Junior High, and Woodrow Wilson High.

On the schools issue, I know that many of the kids in Forest Hills and surrounding areas go to private schools. But many local children also go to the public schools, especially at the elementary level where parent involvement is very high. I know people who love Murch, and I know people who think Deal and Wilson are “good” although they often give caveats.

Whatever you have heard, if schools are an important part of your choice in a neighborhood, then talk to local parents (try contacting the PTA) and visit potential schools before making any major decision. Don’t just go by assumptions and general statistics. You may be surprised.