By Hilary Reaves and Jill Mertens - As someone who has been tracking the downtown condo market for more than a decade, the numbers and prices can be somewhat predictable, so I was pleasantly surprised to find something that stood out. While we all tend to know instinctively that new development can drastically change an area, the kind of impact isn’t always clear. So I enlisted the help of my colleague Jill to test the numbers.
The warehouse district of Downtown Raleigh has completely changed over the past few years. Prior to the Dillon and the new Union Station, condos at Park Devereux and Dawson sold within a fairly predictable price range. The Martin Place Condos were built in 1997 and there are only 12 of them. They’ve traditionally sold for under $300/ft ($278/ft for 2015), and the turnover is quite low. Only one a year, or none at all, as there were in 2016 and 2014. But low and behold - suddenly in 2017 the price per SF jumped to a average $348/ft.
The Dillon complex has brought stores like Urban Outfitters, restaurants like Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku Sushi, Barcelona Wine Bar and – soon, the Weaver Street grocery store. The new train station and the Morgan Street Food Hall are also welcome additions. So Jill dug deeper to see if all this new activity also drove an increase in the rest of the condo buildings.
In 2017- when the Dillon was announced, average sold $/sq ft for condos in the warehouse district increased a whopping 11.29% over 2017- thanks in large part to a huge bump in the value attributed to the oldest units at Martin Place condos. Living through construction was surely not fun but owners at Martin Place were rewarded financially for the inconvenience.
Construction may have dampened the interest in the area for a period of time. During the primary construction year of 2018, condo values in the area increased- but at a rate (4.41%) a bit below that of condos in ITB overall (6.28%). But perhaps after the big jump, the rest of the prices fell in line with the more traditional rate.
Now that construction is complete and facilities are open, YTD 2019 condo values in the warehouse district have gone up 6.21% over 2018 - which is more than 4 percentage points more than that ITB overall (now at a year-over-year increase of 1.95%
It’s worth noting that the volume of condos we’re talking about are pretty low in the warehouse district, compared to a couple hundred overall ITB, so perhaps not the most statistically significant data. But those in the area can feel the difference from the before and after the new development. The warehouse district is truly buzzing with activity where old warehouses once stood vacant. Clearly buyers value the proximity to all that the Warehouse District has to offer.
By Hilary Reaves - When you google “raleigh walkable neighborhoods” you get some pretty interesting results. One blog post touted a neighborhood in Raleigh with “gushing rivers and mountain views.” Umm… not sure where the algorithm went wrong there. Walkscore listed Stonehenge as one of the top 3 walkable neighborhoods. I saw that and literally laughed out loud. Stonehenge might be conveniently located to several things, but top 3? No. After my quick search, I felt like a human needed to step in and explain the best options without regard to SEO keywords and GIS based algorithms.
Here are the best Raleigh walkable neighborhoods, judged by an NC native and resident of the Triangle for 25+ years, and someone who has lived in several of these neighborhoods.
This is defined as 1 mile of the capital. Obviously the best access to just about everything you need given the density. This includes condos, apartments, Oakwood, Boylan Heights, Mordecai, Glenwood/Brooklyn, Glenwood South, South Park, College Park, etc. You’ve got a lot of options, depending on your budget, from 100 year old houses to townhomes to new construction homes. The center of it all.
A destination with 2 grocery stores, library, multitude of restaurant styles and price ranges, dry cleaners, hair salons, fitness/yoga, and more. Several apartment buildings now surround the retail area, but many single family homes are close by in Cameron Park, Cameron Village, University Park, and further down past the Little Theater. Cameron Village kind of overlaps onto Hillsborough Street near the NCSU area, so any of those neighborhoods all the way down to Faircloth are pretty walkable.
Only 2 miles from the downtown core, Five Points is a destination known for its intersection. Lily’s Pizza is the most famous place here, but Hayes Barton Cafe is well known, in addition to Nofo at the Pig. A post office, drug store, banks, and many antique stores are available, plus the Rialto Independent theater and several additional restaurants. Much more of a residential feel than the downtown core, but still very active.
One of the largest destinations after Downtown, North Hills is a newer development where they ripped down the old mall and redeveloped it into an outdoor shopping area, kind of like a downtown. Complete with a Target, hotel, REI and many boutiques, North Hills has parking decks, programmed activities, and tons of restaurants. While there are limited locations to actually live within walking distance, with an ample amount of parking, many might be satisfied living a 5 minute drive away. Because once you park, you can have dinner, see movie, and do some shopping, without getting in your car between each activity.
This neighborhood has become the place where people graduate to when they have outgrown their bungalow and need more space. The huge yards in Longview and older homes let people keep the charm they want in a home, it adds some square footage, and they are only 2 miles from the core of Downtown. The Alamo Drafthouse and continuing evolvement of retail in this area will only make it more attractive.
Those looking for more of a greenway access for walkability may venture further out, but stay “inside the beltline.” Many properties in the Ridge Road area provide access to Whole Foods and other retail in the Ridgewood center, but are close to the greenway access that takes you over the 440 bridge to the NC Art Museum grounds.
Rex Hospital Area
The thing about many parts of Raleigh is that a popular area does not look very sexy to a newcomer. No curb appeal and the retail areas might even be a bit run down. This is the case with the area off Lake Boone Trail near the hospital. Fast food and a giant parking lot aren’t the typical things people want in a walkable neighborhood. But the Village Deli, Chubbie’s Tacos, and Sushi Thai have been around forever. The mid century ranch homes in Meredith Woods, and the townhomes right off of Wycliff Rd, are some of the more affordable properties within walking distance to something. There’s the newer shopping area with Guasaca, a bottle shop, and other restaurants and retail as well.
Woodcrest / Belvedere Park - Just outside the 1 mile radius of Downtown Raleigh, these neighborhoods give you proximity to Downtown and have parks and the revitalized Gateyway Plaza to walk to, as well as access to the greenway. I like this neighborhood for cyclists because you can get to downtown through other neighborhoods without relying on a major road.
Agree? Did we miss something more walkable than some of these? Tell us your favorite neighborhoods and why you like them for walkability.