Starter Homes in the DC Area - What $500k Gets A Buyer

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

According to a front page article in the New York Times on September 25, 2022, a starter home in Denver Co in the 1990s was a two level house with three bedrooms and 1400 square feet or less.  In the 1990s that starter home sold for $90,000 to $125,000.  Now that home will cost  approximately $500,000. 

That made me wonder.....  What do you get in the DC metro area for $500,000? 

Of course, in the DC metro area, there are lots of choices.  Do you look in DC (trendy or trending)?  Do you look in Montgomery County?  How far out do you go into the suburbs? Do you look in Prince Georges County or perhaps you go to Northern Virginia? 

For purposes of this search, I used the criteria that defined a starter home in Denver in the 1990s - a two level home with three bedrooms and less than 1400 square feet for no more than $500,000.  Then I looked at the criteria without price restrictions to see what kind of house you can get with the same criteria but in a central location.  


The least expensive home in DC is 2553 Alabama Ave. SE, which is  listed for $289,900.  It is a bank owned 3 bedroom 1 bath property being sold as is and is described as a major rehab opportunity.   Built in 1910, this property has 1296 square feet of space on a 6604 square foot lot.  


4119 Beck Street SE in Fort Dupont  comes close to being the perfect starter home!  It is listed for $439,990 with 1365 square feet and 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  With hardwood floors, granite counters, stainless appliances and a charming front porch, this one should be on any realtor's list showing in SE DC. 




Meet 18501 Nutmeg Place, Germantown, with 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and 1248 square feet of living space with no basement.  Nutmeg Place, listed for $309,900, is the least expensive home in Montgomery County which meets the criteria.  It has new carpet and new paint, and the seller will give a credit for new kitchen appliances. 


10612 Edgewood Avenue in Silver Spring is listed for $500,000 with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1040 square feet and two levels.  This home has a front porch and a back porch, hardwood floors and tall trees in the yard.  This home is near University Blvd. and Colesville Road, about a mile outside the Beltway. 



8209 Ackley St in Alexandria Virginia is listed for $499,999.  With 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, this split level has 1004 square feet of space above ground.  It has granite counters and stainless appliances, a back porch and a new fence, HVAC and washer and dryer.  This home is near Route 1 and slightly north of Fort Belvoir in Alexandria. 


If you want to be in the heart of North Wests DC, near restaurants, shops in Friendship Heights like Tiffany and Saks 5th Ave, and the metro, then you might consider 4546 Harrison Street NW.   Listed for $1,059,900, it has 1260 square feet,3 bedroom, 2.5 baths and 3 levels.   The kitchen is renovated with an open floor plan, granite and stainless and the basement has a bedroom/den and a renovated bathroom. 


Regardless of your price range, there is a home in the DC metro area.  If you want to start your home search now, just give us a call at 240-401-5577 or email us at  To see all the homes on the market now, just click here.

Comments (6)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Lise,

I think this may be even better than a market report.  Your clients can see what they get for the money.  Nice job!   I thought about the cliche in your last entry.  "It is location, location, location!  "

Sep 26, 2022 06:07 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Lise I loved your post and in case you are interested for the price point you described in Los Angeles you get a vacant lot at best:)Endre

Sep 26, 2022 09:30 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Lise... this certainly made me smile... I never expected to talk about homes in the half million price point as "starter" homes.

Sep 27, 2022 03:50 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lise,

Love your post and a great visual on seeing what you get for the money! I like Nina Hollander, Broker never in my wildest dreams thought I'd refer to half a million $ for a starter home!

Sep 27, 2022 03:58 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Lise. At $500,000 a starter home price simply amazes me. So glad I am not considering the DC area. I would be in shock. Enjoy your day.

Sep 27, 2022 05:47 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I like how you presented these homes, it appears that there are some decent choices for people looking under $500K in your area.

Sep 27, 2022 07:52 AM