Why NoMa is a Growth Neighborhood
NoMa is still trying to earn its identity. You can pull up five different maps and see five different boundaries of NoMa. Most agree that its central intersection is North Capitol Street and H. Beyond that, some maps list New York Avenue as the northern boundary; others include the neighborhood of Eckington to its northeast. Some stop it at 2nd Street NE while others extend it further east by a few streets. But everyone agrees that NoMa is “North of Mass,” and the important point remains that NoMa is a growing, culturally interesting and increasingly important neighborhood in DC.
NoMa is a recent designation. After the Red Line Metro station opened in 2004 as “NY Ave – Florida Ave – Gallaudet University” (even Metro’s naming of it is confusing), it was renamed in 2012 as “NoMa – Gallaudet University” which helped residents say, “I live in NoMa.”
In DC’s past, in the late 1800s, it was an Irish neighborhood called Swampoodle, appropriately named because the Tiber Creek overflowed often. The building of Union Station in 1907 removed many of the houses, and “Near Northeast” was the most commonly used reference.
The confusion serves it well: NoMa is rapidly evolving. Because of its renewal, the area is, I believe, a good section of the City to live and gain homeowner value. The NoMa Business Improvement District calls it “DC’s fastest growing neighborhood,” and since over 6,000 people live there, and there are another 4,000 residences in the building scope, they may have a solid point.
In substantive data, there is great upside to NoMa. Union Station is central to the neighborhood, meaning Amtrak to New York in three hours is terrific. There is also Interstate 395 at its doorstep, plus two Red Line Metro stations, and seven bikeshare stations. Its walkability score is 92, impressive since New York and Florida Avenues are notoriously busy. REI has taken over Uline Arena and will open this fall; there is a planned Landmark Theatre to open in 2017; and there are a wealth of new parks and greens in the works.
NoMa Real Estate
The real estate measures are the most difficult to describe. Redfin, according to my research, lists Median Solds in NoMa at $681K, yet in March of this year, I noticed they were listed at $720K and last October, $651K…an unusual swing. Redfin lists Median Days on Market at 23. This is a relatively high number in comparison to other growing neighborhoods in the District. It also lists Average Sale to List at 98%. This signals to me that the residential market in NoMa has softened a little. To add to the confusion, Realtor.com lists NoMa Median Sold properties at $280K, and yet it lists “Near Northeast” (practically the same area) as $722K. Worse still, MRIS, the real estate historically accurate data center, does not even list NoMa as an advertised subdivision. It lists “H Street Corridor” and “Mount Vernon Triangle,” each of them near to NoMa.
Since the real estate research models are nearly impossible to track, you will need an experienced realtor to help guide you through the buying opportunities in NoMa. There is a strong slate of neighborhood improvements, listed above, that warrant a serious look into this exciting growth community. And with its proximity to Capitol Hill, the Mall, Eastern Market, the growing H Street Corridor and other areas, NoMa is on track to become one of DC’s most desirable places to live. steve(at)faulknerteam(dotted)com