The real estate market for Bethesda, MD is not only competitive but popular among an affluent echelon of society. Increasingly, current and prospective residents are attracted to Bethesda real estate by the promise of “Life within walking distance.” The Bethesda urban district is flourishing with nearly 200 restaurants, two dozen art galleries, and prime shopping opportunities.
Many residents are transplants, not only from out of town but from abroad. The typical local is well-educated, well-employed, and a patron of the arts. Many residents enjoy lives that orbit around the national capital. Within this context, they favor a residence that is somewhat removed from D.C. and yet retains its own cosmopolitan atmosphere.
If you are deciding between Bethesda and Arlington, you can check out this helpful infographic breaking down key differences between the cities. Alternatively, if your heart is set on Bethesda, you can visit the official Bethesda website for more details on downtown living.
Summary of Bethesda Real Estate Statistics
The State of the Bethesda Real Estate Market
Bethesda Magazine reported, “Buyers are hunting for homes closer to the buzzing city core, nothing is sitting on the market for long, and hopes are high for a strong sales year.” This summary represents not only the present and immediate past, but also expectations for upcoming years.
Bethesda remains a seller’s and homeowner’s market. Sales prices increased 8% between 2015 and 2016, and the number of units sold rose 4.5% in 2016. Often properties sell at above listing price, especially properties listed under a million dollars. Importantly, the median house price has appreciated 109% since the turn of the century. While past statistics are never a guarantee of future trends, these facts and figures bode well for anyone intending to hold Bethesda real estate long-term.
These data reflect a simple truth about Bethesda. The market is competitive and coveted. In short, it will require persistence to become a resident, especially for those looking to spend less than $1.75 million on a home. While higher echelon properties are more difficult to sell nationwide, the trend is bolstered in Bethesda by a prevalent desire to trade in extra square footage for more favorable, central locations. The Washington Post has written an article on this very trend. Once you’re in, however, you’re well-positioned for stable appreciation and strong resale values.
The State of Bethesda Homeowners
With a median sales price of $855,000 and median monthly rent of $3700, the types of people that reside in the upscale communities of Bethesda are fairly predictable. The median age is 44, only 26% of residents are single, and the median household income is $172,000. Additionally, a staggering 86% of residents are college educated. In fact, Bethesda is considered by NerdWallet as the most educated city in the United States. This is further reflected by the presence of Lockheed Martin, the National Institute of Health, Marriott International, and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, all of which are headquartered in Bethesda. This makes Bethesda Real Estate one of the best investments in the U.S.
Apart from the overwhelming number of residents employed in the fields of biomedical engineering, national defense, and hotel management, there are numerous diplomats who call Bethesda home, especially of German, Russian, and Polish ancestry. All of these factors contribute to Bethesda’s status as a desirable and cultivated place to live, a fact reflected in real estate statistics.
Types of Property Ownership
Large single family homes, upscale apartment complexes, and luxury condominium complexes are abundant in Bethesda. On the other hand, townhouses and studio apartments are in short supply. Of the entire market, only 2.5% of properties are studio apartments and 4% are townhouses. Perhaps this is partly because the area has become attuned to the needs of affluent families moving further out from the Washington, D.C. city center.
About 29% of properties are valued at over a million dollars, another 29% between $800k and $1M, and another 26% are between $500k and $800k. Of the 25,000 properties in Bethesda, only 17% are listed at less than $500k. Those searching for a simple condo at $200k do have some, albeit limited, buying options. Unfortunately, they are far less common, attract significantly more attention, and will very likely require the buyer to bid well above asking price.
For more comprehensive information on deciding whether to buy a house, townhouse, or condo, check out this Investopedia article.
Main Property Elements
The primary property elements to consider when looking at Bethesda homes for sale are property age, style, location, and amenities.
Age: While Bethesda features numerous properties built in the 1940s, 50s, and 60’s, there is also a selection of properties from the decades before and since. Importantly, many neighborhoods have been the subject of tear-downs and rebuilds, leading to numerous post-2000 properties. Finally, the past decade has brought a number of luxury apartment and condo complexes to the area. Those looking into the market should ensure they consider the build date of every prospective home, as well as the pros and cons of buying property from that era.
Style: As mentioned, there is are three main types of properties: older homes especially from the 1940s-60s, newly built homes, and newly built luxury complexes. The older homes feature traditionally American and British architectural styles, including Tudors, Colonials, and Ramblers.
Location: As one of the most expensive cities in the United States, it should come as no surprise that Bethesda is a prime location. Not only does it abut the national capital, it has also developed a posh and upstanding downtown center.
Amenities: Many single family homes feature 4, 5, and even more bedrooms with the amenity packages to match, including multiple car garages, gourmet kitchens, and more. Similarly, the newly built luxury complexes feature a full suite of amenities, including underground parking, roof terraces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and front desk concierges. Check, check, and check.
Bethesda Real Estate | Communities
Situated between River Road and MacArthur Blvd, Bannockburn is a subdivision of single family homes. The most affordable properties begin around $600k, but prices range into the multi-millions. Homes feature a wide variety of architectural styles, including estate-sized Colonials. The presence of single-story homes makes this an attractive option for elderly homeowners. The average age of its 3342 residents is 52 years old, and 92% are homeowners. While this is one of the larger Bethesda communities, there is little turnover of properties.
Close to downtown, this smaller subdivision features about 200 properties. Houses are typically Colonials, Cape Cods, and bungalows. The area also features its own community pool and tennis courts. Because the lots are smaller than other Bethesda communities, there is a lower rate of tear-downs. Even so, there are a number of newly built properties available. Properties are valued between $700k and $3 million. The average age of its 545 residents is 55 years old, and 82% are homeowners.
Bradley Hills is known for its newness. Many older houses have been torn down and replaced, and many of the surviving original homes have been extensively remodeled. Nevertheless, there are still a fair amount of houses built between 1940 and 1969. Prices range from $750k to $10 million. Those looking into luxury condominiums should consider the newly built Cheval Bethesda residences.
Bradley Hills Grove
Properties in Bradley Hills Grove enjoy proximity to downtown Bethesda and well-proportioned lots, often a full acre in size. Like Bradley Hills homes, there are numerous tear-downs from the 1950s and 1960s in addition to regular remodeling of these older homes.
Glen Mar Park
Properties here are split between large, 3-5 bedroom houses and luxury apartment complexes. Like much of Bethesda, many of its houses were built between 1940 and 1969, although there is an additional selection of single family homes built between 1970 and 1999. As with all Bethesda subdivisions, it is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the entire nation with housing prices and competition to match.
As one of the older neighborhoods, many Greenwich Forest homes were built between 1929 and 1941. Accordingly, they are usually of the Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. Like many other neighborhoods, it features quiet, tree-lined streets in close proximity to downtown Bethesda. Of special note, however, is the closeness of its community.
Another neighborhood known for its tight community and neighborliness is Hillmead. Residents gather every year for the Winter Holiday Party and Halloween Party. It shares a similar price range to other neighborhoods at $600k-$2M. However, like Greenwich Forest, it features a selection of homes built in the 1920s. There is also a significant number of homes that have been torn down and rebuilt. The average age of its 811 residents is 50 years old, and 88% are homeowners.
Westmoreland Hills is close to Washington D.C. and consequently features excellent commute times to the city center. It also has its own playground and community pool. The average age of its 795 residents is 54 years old, and 97% are homeowners.
The majority of single family houses in Woodhaven are split between Colonial Revivals and Tudors built in the 1930s and the split-levels and Ramblers of the 1960s. The average age of its 795 residents is 54 years old, and 97% are homeowners.
Wyngate has also been the subject of numerous tear-downs, but surviving properties tend to be Ramblers, Colonials, and Cape Cods from the 1950s. It also features a nearby YMCA. The average age of its 5889 residents is 47 years old, and 87% are homeowners.