Established as the nation's capital, Washington D.C. doesn't really seem like an actual state but it does exist as a legal entity separate from the other states. The District of Columbia has its own laws, police force, and city management. The District is predominantly a government zone, made up of mainly the federal government agencies. However, there is also a vibrant industry of law firms and advocacy offices as well. The District's economy is predominantly services but it also enjoys a healthy contribution from tourism as well.
With a population of over 640,000, DC is the 24th largest city in America. The Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes parts of Virginia and Maryland, has a population of 5.7 million, which is the 7th largest metro area in the United States. The District of Columbia's economy is quite robust, with an annual GDP of over $100 billion. If the district were a state, this would rank in the low 30's, an impressive number for such a small area.
As of 2013, the average home value in DC is almost $450,000, a nearly 14% increase from 2012. It's an expensive place to live, which makes shopping for a great mortgage all the more important.
If you're interested in buying property in the nation's capital, the first step is to examine the neighborhoods and determine which is likely to be the best fit for you. Some of DC's neighborhoods are great for young adults and singles, while others are perfect for raising a family. Here's our take on your options for living in Washington D.C.
Located in northwest DC, this neighborhood is centered around Dupont Circle, a traffic circle / park with a fountain in the middle. It is full of popular restaurants, museums, and bars. Dupont Circle is one of the top destinations in the city for young professionals with an active social life.
Logan Circle, another neighborhood centered around a traffic circle, has undergone significant gentrification over the past 10-15 years, which some argue began with the opening of a Whole Foods in 2000. The neighborhood is home to a large LGBT community, and both 14th Street and P Street are local hotspots.
This is a relatively new neighborhood, and indeed some locals still refer to Penn Quarter as Old Downtown. The neighborhood took off when the Verizon Center, home to the NBA's Wizards and the NHL's Capitols, was built in 1997, and today it is home to a variety of restaurants, art, and entertainment options.
Though it is located in Maryland, Chevy Chase is a close suburb of Washington D.C. - it's located at the border between Maryland & DC - and it is a great location for families. Chevy Chase boasts great schools and a very low crime rate, and the scenery is also top notch - this neighborhood is home to beautiful cherry blossoms.
The following national banks have branches in DC. We've also provided links to relevant reviews on RateZip.com.
See here for a complete list.
The following credit unions are also based in the District of Columbia:
As you can see, there is no shortage of choices for the citizens of DC when it comes to banking. Comparing options, however, is not always simple, which is why RateZip offers you the opportunity to see offers from multiple financial institutions.
For those looking to move to Washington D.C. a review of mortgage rates on RateZip.com is a must to arrange the best purchase financially. With the high cost of living in the city, it's important to find the lowest rate and the best terms available to you. If you are a first time home buyer in the District of Columbia, it may be wise to consider a loan backed by the Federal Housing Authority, or FHA. FHA home loans have more flexible underwriting standards than conventional loans backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which means that these mortgages are available to borrowers with less than perfect credit. Additionally, it's possible to obtain an FHA mortgage with a low downpayment, including one of just 2.5%.
Many DC homebuyers must also consider a jumbo mortgage, which is a loan for borrowers who need more money than the conventional loan limits of Fannie and Freddie allow. Jumbo mortgage rates tend to run a bit higher than conventional mortgage rates, although in 2013 the two interest rates converged to a great degree. Washington D.C. is considered a high cost area, so the conforming loan limit is over $600,000.