Trinidad neighborhood is hot real estate commodity

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Five years ago, prospective home buyer Danielle Bays couldn't resist the tree-lined sidewalks and quiet streets of the District's Trinidad neighborhood.

Bays, who now chairs the Trinidad Neighborhood Association, considers Trinidad a calm pocket of homes just on the cusp of the hustle and bustle of nearby H Street, Capitol Hill and downtown.

She expected a modest home value appreciation. So Bays was a bit surprised to learn real estate site Zillow predicts Trinidad property values will outpace those of Washington as a whole.

"You have a lot of people who have lived in Trinidad a long time," Bays said. "People who have lived in the neighborhood and rented now want to buy."

Zillow projected Trinidad home values will increase 6.2 percent next year, beating the 5.2 percent jump predicted for Washington as a whole.

In terms of prices, Zillow reported its data showed the median Washington listing price is $435,000. Trinidad currently hosts several 1,200 square-foot, single-family homes listed between $440,000 and $450,000. Trinidad even just recorded its first $926,000 home sale in April.

Barely five years ago the Metropolitan Police Department, reacting to a few headline-grabbing violent crimes in Trinidad, set up military-style checkpoints restricting access to Trinidad to residents. The interesting thing about the summer of 2008, Bays said, was how the experience drew the neighborhood together and spurred residents to push for improvements.

By 2011 violent crime in the police district including Trinidad had decreased to levels near or below those reported in 2007, according to Metropolitan Police Department statistics,

"I think the summer of 2008 was a notorious one here, but because it was so out of character," Bays said.

Trinidad was always a tough neighborhood, said Amy Fisher of Realty Group Inc. and a Capitol Hill-area real estate specialist. Metro isn't close and until the rebirth of nearby H Street there wasn't much nearby.

"What gets me is there's not really a draw," Fisher said. Still, she added, it appears the neighborhood is in demand, with most listing prices at or below $450,000.

"You can't touch Capitol Hill for that price," Fisher said.

So Trinidad's draw is simply being close enough. Trinidad isn't Capitol Hill, but considering the sprawl of the metro area, Bays said Trinidad is not far either. Trinidad's corner touches the end of H Street. Capitol Hill and downtown are short trips away. Even accessing the Baltimore Washington Parkway is easy.

Trinidad could just be the latest in a line of Northeast neighborhoods to become desirable.

"If this is true, and happening in Trinidad, the next neighborhood to go would be out Benning Road; could be Deanwood," Fisher said.

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