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What you said about what we said last week
2014 is poised to be a packed year for ribbon cuttings, as Housing Complex columnist Aaron Wiener laid out in his look at the highest profile upcoming developments in local real estate. But he wasn’t the only one wondering who will benefit from the city’s continued growth. “Well, lets see,” wrote DCShadyBoots. “Considering that the maximum amount permitted on a FHA home purchase loan is being rolled back on Jan. 1, to $625,500 from the current ceiling of $729,750, the biggest beneficiaries will be D.C.’s 1 percent, who will be the only ones able to fork out a 20 percent (vs. 3 percent) down payment in a city where the median home selling price is $800,000. (Meaning the average home will not qualify for an FHA loan.) Starting New Years Day, D.C. begins its trek to becoming the city of 1 percent—the Mid-Atlantic’s newest Manhattan.”
But maybe don’t decamp to the ’burbs just yet. “The 1 percent (or 10 percent, whatever) are already occupying the D.C. houses over $800,000,” commented er,uh. “So all of a sudden a $770,000 house that used to be affordable to someone fairly affluent, with an FHA loan, isn’t anymore. Does the number of rich people interested in living in D.C. suddenly increase to buy all the homes between $700,000 and $800,000? Or do those homes sit on the market till the prices are lowered to, say, the high 600s where more people can make 20 percent down payments? With the result that not-quite-so-nice houses, previously listed in the high 600s, have to cut prices—maybe back down into the FHA zone.”
On the other end of the market, reader Kathryn Baer poked at Wiener’s assertion that “there’s no better way for a mayor or a city to demonstrate compassion for less fortunate residents than by providing more affordable housing.” Compassion “isn’t what I see in the (less than) 3,200 units the mayor and his people announced,” Baer wrote. “Of those the Department of Housing and Community Development can account for by income level, more than half will be for middle-class households.” Again, er,uh weighed in: “I am willing to bet that families of four with incomes of $40,000 to $52,000 in D.C. consider themselves less fortunate, and (if they are D.C. natives, people of color, etc.) ‘victims’ of gentrification.”
Only a truly heroic glutton (or a expense account–wielding food journalist) could have dined at all the D.C. restaurants that opened in 2013, and yet, somehow, 2014 is already looking to be a banner year for the gustatorily inclined. For her preview of the year in restaurants, Young & Hungry columnist Jessica Sidman listed 10 establishments she’s looking forward to; readers, naturally, had a few more eateries to add.
“Honorable mention: Carolina Kitchen. It should open in January at Rhode Island Row,” wrote D.C. Ward.
“Don’t forget about the new John Shields restaurant,” wrote JT. “I’m annoyed that it’s in Georgetown, but it should be awesome.”
But what will be D.C.’s up-and-coming restaurant corridor in 2014? “14th Street has to cool down (are there vacant spots left?), but other areas could heat up,” wrote Cook In/Dine Out. “In addition to this list, I’m interested in Bread Furst, the new bakery coming to Van Ness, an area sorely underserved by good restaurants.”