DC housing is expensive, but it ranks high for comparatively more affordable suburbs, too

The Washington, D.C. metro ranks in the top 10 among most expensive housing markets, but a new report also puts it in the top three among expensive cities with the highest share of comparatively affordable suburbs, behind Salt Lake City and New York.

Residential and commercial real estate site Point2 looked at data on the 20 most populous and expensive U.S. cities, then mapped the suburbs within a 30-mile driving radius from the city center and compared the home price per-square-foot of those suburbs to the price per-square-foot in the immediate urban area.

In D.C., 97% of those suburbs were statistically less expensive per-square-foot than the urban core. Some suburbs, significantly so.

For example, the price-per-square-foot of a home in Waldorf, Maryland, is 62% less expensive than in the urban core. In Upper Marlboro and Largo, it is 59% less expensive. In Dumfries, Virginia, it is 58% less expensive, and in Warrenton, it is 57% less expensive.

Point2’s report shows, with only a few exceptions, the first 100 suburbs that have the most significant price difference compared to the main city are all on the East Coast.

Salt Lake City ranks No. 1 among large cities with statistically more affordable suburbs, at 100%. New York City is No. 2, at 98%. The report said 97% of the D.C. suburbs fall in that category. Boston and Honolulu round out the top 10.

On the other end of the scale is San Jose, California, where only 32% of the suburbs are statistically less expensive than the urban core, followed by 41% in Charleston, South Carolina, and 54% in San Francisco.

There are places where some of a city’s suburbs are significantly more expensive than the urban core. At the top of that list is Sullivan’s Island, a suburb near Charleston, where the price per square foot is 385% higher than in the city. It found 17 suburbs where prices were at least 100% higher than the city.

Point2’s full findings and methodology can be found online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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