December 31, 2005

Another Year Of Fewer Crimes and Rising Housing Prices

Well almost. The DC housing bubble has been discussed at length. But crime rates are a different story.

Not since the mid-1980s will DC have endured/enjoyed two years in a row with less than 200 murders. As of Dec. 30, there have been 194 murders in DC compared with 195 for the same date last year when the total number for the year was 198. The last back-to-back years when there were fewer than 200 murders was in 1985 (147 murders) and 1986 (194 murders).

Even better, DC is way off the high water mark when our city was declared "the murder capital." In 1991, there were 481 murders. In fact during each year of the 1989 to 1993 period, DC had over 400 murders annually.

Not surprisingly, the turn around in the DC real estate market also began around this time. Of course, one could argue rising prices were a national trend and DC was just part of it, but then again we could have missed out on the jump altogether. It seems like the two trends fed off of each other here in town. As crime fell, condos were developed and new neighborhoods (U street for instance) became safer and more attractive, which led to even lower crime rates and more development.

AND WHERE DID THAT CRIME GO? In contrast to the situation in DC, Prince George's County has experience a sharp increase in murders with 168 homicides in 2005 compared with 148 the same time last year. Fairfax also experienced a crime wave of its own as murder jumped from 11 to 22. Putting the violence into perspective, even as far back as 1960, DC (81 murders) had more murders then than Fairfax does today.

One Liners

Hoping to ward off a glut, condo and single-family home developers are offering incentives to potential homebuyers.

Three new supermarkets are slated to open in DC in 2006, says the Washington Times. Three stores are opening in the District -- Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan in the old skating rink and on Capitol Hill by the Potomac Avenue metro and a Giant in Van Ness. The timing and newness of these openings seems fuzzy to us.

With arbitration hanging over DC's head, DC and major league baseball met on Saturday, Dec. 31, to discuss ways to manage the cost of building the stadium. Under consideration are: selling development right within the stadium footprint, using a special WMATA fund to pay for metro renovations and getting MLB to kick in more free tix for city youth.


Anonymous said...

That article in the Times is almost non-sensical; where do they get their writers? Anyway, in addition to the DC stores mentioned in the article, there are also plans for a new Safeway around 4th and K NW and redevelopment of the Giant at 8th and O NW. Not sure if it counts, but a Balducci's (high end grocery) is going in at at 7th and E NW as well.

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