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How much house $500K buys in Washington

WASHINGTON – Homebuyers can expect a varied house hunt in Washington, all depending upon where they look.

The median sale for a home in the D.C. area is $490,000, according to real estate website Urban Turf. Based on that figure, WTOP put together a photo gallery showing just what potential buyers can get around that price in different neighborhoods around the region.

While it remains a buyer’s market, real estate agents say Washington’s plump home prices often keep some potential buyers from investing in a home.

But there are affordable options everywhere and they don’t stay on the market long, says Tim Pierson of Pierson Real Estate.

“Whenever the country goes through a recession, D.C. tends to grow in size because we have more government jobs here. So, we’ve got an increase in demand from a growing city and low interest rates. And we’ve got a stagnant supply because housing has not been built to keep up with the increase in demand,” Pierson says.

He lists Bethesda, Clarendon, Northwest D.C., Glover Park and Capitol Hill as the most in-demand neighborhoods among buyers. Pierson says buyers shouldn’t be looking at how trendy a neighborhood is, but rather should be paying attention to indicators that are most important to them such as schools, crime and capitol improvements.

Pierson says the buyers who are willing to look outside the most desirable neighborhoods can stretch their budgets by looking elsewhere. Some are choosing to purchase homes in transitional neighborhoods, he says.

“So you’re able to get more for your dollar when you go into neighborhoods that are still more in transition. So it’s a risk reward factor. The higher risk that you take, the better off, the more you’ll get for your money,” Pierson says.

While there is a disparity between the median price of a home depending on where you look, most reports land the average Washington home sale in the mid-$400,000s.

However, no one debates that the median sale price is climbing — up 8.2 percent in May 2013 from the year before, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence. The real estate website lists the median price for a home sale at $424,800 in the D.C. metro area.

“Both Alexandria City and the District of Columbia posted their highest median price on record at $525,000 and $490,000, respectively,” RealEstate Business Intelligence says.

Working off that general price point, WTOP researched what buyers are finding on the market.

A $500,000 budget will get you a one-bedroom home in Dupont Circle, a three-bedroom home in Silver Spring, Md., and a five-bedroom home in Leesburg, Va. But it’s not always about going farther from the city.

A four-bedroom home in Northwest D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood recently sold for $499,000.

See a breakdown of what houses in specific Washington-area neighborhoods are selling for here.

WTOP’s Rachel Nania and Natalie Tomlin contributed to this story.Follow @WTOP on Twitter.