Compared to other major East Coast metropolises in the United States where skyscrapers and monoliths dwarf pedestrian life, Washington D.C. feels like a city built on a human scale. An ordinance first passed in 1899 capped the maximum height of new residential and commercial buildings, which today stands at roughly 12 stories. This ensures nothing impedes views of the downtown monuments while at the same time bringing nearly all the city’s structures down to a more intimate level on the street. And with its civic plan of wide avenues, open spaces and roundabouts—designed by Frenchman Pierre Charles L’Enfant—and its
As the capital city of the United States of America, Washington’s distinctive culture and institutions have economic implications too. Governmental operations support an array of job sectors including contractors, consultants, lobbyists, embassies, military operations, politicians and every consequential field of support. The metropolitan area has had one of the lowest unemployment rates among major American cities over the last six years, helping insulate the real estate market against the recession. As the economy recovers home prices and sales have rebounded strongly.
“One of the really interesting parts of being in this city is the political power and influence that is here,” says Michael Rankin, Founder and Managing Partner for TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington D.C. “What happens in Washington often decides the direction of the country, and as a result of that there’s a really unique energy to the city.”
Buyers here all begin with one fundamental decision—less space in a row house, condominium or turn of the century mansion in a centralized neighborhood, or, for the same price, a larger home in a leafy Virginia or Maryland suburb like Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda or Chevy Chase with strong public and private schools and a sense of retreat.
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