The median home price in Potomac’s 20854 fell by 3.7 percent last year, to $855,000. Great Falls dropped by 4.7 percent, to just over $1 million. Over the past ten years, as demand for homes in walkable urban centers has steadily increased, demand for those in swanky drivable suburbs has slipped, according to research by Christopher Leinberger, chair of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis and an expert on walkable urbanism. Leinberger says Washington has an excess of suburban cul-de-sac homes and a shortage of two-bedroom downtown condos: “We built too much of the McLeans and the Potomacs.”
The result will likely be downward pressure on home prices in farther-afield neighborhoods with large lots and mansions (or at least McMansions).
Bravo might want to consider making its next series The Real Housewives of Downtown Bethesda. Below, the Zip codes with the most luxurious (and expensive) homes.
Great Falls (22066)
Median Sold Price: $1,060,000
You’ll Love It If: Your dream house is at least 10,000 square feet on lots of land.
It’s only 20 miles from the District, but Great Falls feels distinctly country—less down-home Midwestern, more Downton Abbey. If you want (and can afford) lots of land but your DC job keeps you from fleeing to Virginia hunt country, this is your best bet. You’ll find mansions larger than 10,000 or even 12,000 square feet. There’s no public transportation—two-lane roads wind through farms and rolling hills—and not much of a public water utility. Properties generally use wells and septic systems.
Great Falls is a home base for defense contractors and tech executives who commute to Tysons and the Dulles corridor, an easier feat than taking Georgetown Pike into DC. Still, high-powered lobbyists and lawyers do make the journey—which can take about an hour at peak rush. The traffic—and general trend of moving into city centers—is a culprit for the Zip’s median price drop of nearly 5 percent. Even so, Great Falls remains the priciest locale in Washington, and families gravitate there for the outdoor space. For those whose own five-acre yard isn’t enough, Great Falls Park lies just to the east, with 15 miles of trails.
Local Haunts: Old Brogue (760-C Walker Rd.; 703-759-3309) is the go-to place for a casual meal. April through October, neighbors head to the Katie’s Coffee parking lot (760 Walker Rd.; 703-759-2759) for the Saturday classic-car show.
See all the neighborhoods at The Washingtonian