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Breakfast links: Nuances in crime stats


Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.
WMATA board member skips Largo station: WMATA board member Artis Hampshire-Cowan (PG) doesn't use her nearest station for fear of crime. Despite that, she says Metro is still safe. (WTOP)

Mixed news in PG crime stats: Violent crime fell in several neighborhoods targeted for increased patrols. Even still, the county is set to outpace last year's homicide count and is nearing DC's count for the year. (Washington Times)

Too many apartments in DC?: Some developers are nervous that the city might face an oversupply of housing. (City Paper) ... Considering that DC rent increases continue to outpace the region and nation, perhaps developers shouldn't worry so much.

Barry decries displacement, whites, renters, etc.: Marion Barry (D - Ward 8) criticized gentrification as displacement. Also, CM Barry, who previously complained that "renters will allow drug dealers in the neighborhood," admitted that he is a renter. (CHotR)

Counties coordinate on streetcars: Fairfax and Arlington Counties are coordinating their streetcar plans for Columbia Pike. The plan is to have the first stretch open in 2016 with a second leg opening afterward from Crystal City to Alexandria. (Post)

VA politicos criticize BRAC: Several state lawmakers are asking DoD why it reduced the number of Metro shuttle routes to Mark Center from 5 to 4. Lawmakers also worry that the 3,800 parking spaces will induce more traffic to I-395. (Lorton Patch)

Arlington & DC safe as houses: Arlington and DC home prices have hit 95% and 90% of their pre-recession peaks respectively. Prince William and Prince George's Counties bottom out the list at 65% and 47% respectively. (Examiner)

Flimsy historic designation not a total hurdle: A proposed condo building near Mt. Vernon Square is moving forward despite the controversial historic designation for the plain brick building on the site. (City Paper)

And...: The Census Bureau asks its employees to stop counting sheep on the job. (Post) ... DC GOP suggests auctioning off DC Council tickets to the Verizon Center. (DCist) ... DC rescue workers participated in a disaster drill at RFK yesterday. (Washington Times)

Have a tip or dubious historic designation for the links? Submit it here.
Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

Comments

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"Considering that DC rent increases continue to outpace the region and nation, perhaps developers shouldn't worry so much."

Could someone explain this further? It seems like you are suggesting that increasing prices necessarily = healthy market which I think the housing bubble (most recently) dismissed? Maybe there is better data out there to assuage developers.

by Jeff on Sep 29, 2011 9:51 am • linkreport

@Jeff

The housing bubble wasn't really about housing, it was about housing debt. Big difference.

These are developers building apartments (i.e. for-rent housing), not for-sale housing. And DC's apartment vacancy rate is really low and rents are climbing really fast.

I don't think Eric is suggesting that these increased rental rates are 'healthy' exactly, merely that they are a sign of demand. It's a lot harder to get the kind of speculation on apartment rents that you saw on for-sale home prices.

by Alex B. on Sep 29, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

Well, and don't forget that rental places are gonna keep going up while Ward 8 replaces its rentals thanks to the keen views of their visionary and highly experienced Ward CM. It's a doggone fact!

I wonder if Marion ever considered who's gonna buy those drug-dealer free houses.

by Jasper on Sep 29, 2011 10:39 am • linkreport

DC needs more affordable apartments and condos. Developers need to consider what federal salaries are and that they're likely to stay there for some time.

by Redline SOS on Sep 29, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

It does seem like there's a glut of luxury condos an other expensive housing... this is specific to my experience, but when I've looked for housing here in the past it seems like the luxury housing stock is cheaper than it should be and normal housing is way, way, way more expensive than it should be. Maybe part of the problem is that basically all new housing built is luxury?

by cbishop on Sep 29, 2011 11:15 am • linkreport

The Arlington-Fairfax County streetcar proposal sounds like a great project. If this is built in 2016, we'll have the Silver line to Tysons, the H Street streetcar, and this route (and hopefully work will be underway for the Purple line). Virginia has a $550M budget surplus. A loan to ARL/FFX Counties to help finance this infrastructure investment, paid back by development fees assessed on properties along the route would be an excellent way to create good jobs when they're desperately needed now and to help improve mobility in Northern Virginia.

by Ben on Sep 29, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

Rental rates are no indication of a healthy market. If people are filling vacancys, then that is great. However, a lot of these higher-end places popping up everyone are out of range for a lot of people. If people aren't moving into these places, then that's a problem.

I think the focus should be more on a shortage of affordable housing.

by Cassidy on Sep 29, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

@Ben; ARL/FFX stretcar funding is up in the air.

The linked articles quotes a proposed FTA grant of up to 75M. The rest would come locally and from the state.

There are no state plans that i know of to fund this project.

The articles cites that the Pike buses already carry 15K a day, and the streetcar carries up to 26K. Is there a way to find out how large orange line traffic in Arlington is during the day?

by charlie on Sep 29, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

@Charlie:

The 30s buses on Wisconsin Avenue carry over 18,000 passengers per day (probably closer to 20,000 daily passengers now). A streetcar route on Wisconsin Avenue and the propoesd Columbia Pike route can help reduce capacity issues on the Orange line, especially if the Wisconsin Avenue route connected to the proposed Benning Road - Georgetown line.

by Ben on Sep 29, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

"renters will allow drug dealers in the neighborhood," [Barry] admitted that he is a renter.

Maybe he sees this as a neighborhood amenity?

by Tina on Sep 29, 2011 12:02 pm • linkreport

Maybe the governor can dedicate surplus funds in exchange for the NVTC not crying about the seat. If he is concerned about transportation in Northern Va. he should be putting money into as well

by Canaan on Sep 29, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

DC GOP suggests auctioning off DC Council tickets to the Verizon Center.

My, what a grand stand they've taken! Now if they'll just promise to ban energy-saving lightbulbs from all municipal buildings, they've won *my* vote!

by oboe on Sep 29, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

CM Barry, who previously complained that "renters will allow drug dealers in the neighborhood," admitted that he is a renter.

I don't see how these two facts are in any way incompatible.

by oboe on Sep 29, 2011 12:44 pm • linkreport

@ Ben:Virginia has a $550M budget surplus.

Well, that's only because the governor decided to forgo this year's payment into the state's retirement system, just like last year. In a decade or so, some governor is gonna find the state's retirement fund massively underfunded and call for retirement benefit cuts.

@ oboe:CM Barry, who previously complained that "renters will allow drug dealers in the neighborhood," admitted that he is a renter.

I don't see how these two facts are in any way incompatible.

I agree. I am sure Marion is speaking from personal experience. He is after all, a convicted drug-user.

by Jasper on Sep 29, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

The cost of rental housing is directly connected to vacancy rate. The higher the vacancy rate, the slower the rental rates rise and generally the lower priced they are.

As of January the DC area vacancy rate for Class A apts was 3.4%, down from 4.3% last year. This in comparison to the national rate of 6.6%.

A developer arguing that there are too many apartments in dc right now is in the same vein of Saudi Arabia arguing that the price of oil is too low.

by freely on Sep 29, 2011 1:25 pm • linkreport

@Jasper:
Yeah, but the [expletive deleted] set him up.

by Matt Johnson on Sep 29, 2011 1:35 pm • linkreport

*chuckling*

But wasn't Barry a drug "user" and not "dealer?"

Although he's certainly not the best person to advocate this point of view, he is correct in noting that homeowners, overall, maintain their homes better than renters.

by HogWash on Sep 29, 2011 2:43 pm • linkreport

"CM Barry, who previously complained that "renters will allow drug dealers in the neighborhood," admitted that he is a renter.
I don't see how these two facts are in any way incompatible."

Marion Barry will always be the "For-ever Mayor"!

by Boe on Sep 29, 2011 2:49 pm • linkreport

homeowners, overall, maintain their homes better than renters.

BTW: This statement is a fallacy. Renters rent from home-owners. Don't blame the renters for their home-owners not keeping up their home. The home belongs to the home-owners, not the renter. Renters can not maintain "their" home because it is not theirs.

Oddly, renting home-owners never seem to realize that if they'd maintain their homes better, they could charge a higher rent.

A correct statement would be: Home-owners that live in their home maintain their home better than home-owners that rent their home to others.

by Jasper on Sep 29, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

Where is the research and statistics that show that homeowners take better care of their property than renters?
Is there a houses to apt/condo/coop comparison? How do apartment building owners keep the property better than the people that live in them?

There are too many luxury apts, and way to few affordable ones. You'd have to make 80 grand a year, to afford 2k a month rent, and keep it at 40% of your income.

by greent on Sep 29, 2011 3:26 pm • linkreport

Oh boy here we go.

Now we have to debate whether someone who owns a house would maintain it better than someone who rents it.

Jasper, did you see me blame anyone for doing damage to a home? GEEZ!

Ok, let's try this one out. Section 8 renters don't maintain their units better than homeowners.

Since I've added a "class" element to it, is that now a more acceptable statement to the masses?

by HogWash on Sep 29, 2011 4:34 pm • linkreport

No Hogwash, it ain't. Because I'd love to see any study that says what Jasper says:
---------------------------------
A correct statement would be: Home-owners that live in their home maintain their home better than home-owners that rent their home to others.
---------------------------------

by greent on Sep 29, 2011 5:43 pm • linkreport

A correct statement would be: Home-owners that live in their home maintain their home better than home-owners that rent their home to others.

To put it yet another way: The problem is not that renters don't maintain "their" property. It ain't theirs. They have a contract, and pay rent. Done deal. The problem is that landlords tend to neglect their properties.

Oddly, it's the renters that get the blame for that.

by Jasper on Sep 29, 2011 9:12 pm • linkreport

Even though renters would often not mind doing some maintenance, while their rental contract specifically forbids them from making any changes to their property.

by Jasper on Sep 29, 2011 9:14 pm • linkreport

Freely,
I don't think Mr. Kelly was saying there are currently too many apartment units in DC, but that there will be when a) all the units underway now deliver in 2012 and 2013 and b) if too many of those who have not yet broken ground but plan to start contructution soon. DC fills up roughly 1,000 units of new apartments a year, nearly 3 times that many are expected to open up next year. You do the math.

by The Prophet on Sep 30, 2011 3:57 pm • linkreport

@The Prohpet

I don't think they were even talking about too many apartments in DC, but rather too many apartments for the short term competing directly against one another - same types of neighborhoods, same price points, same level of amenity, etc.

Hence the phrasing: "in certain markets, spot oversupply." The operative words being "certain markets" and "spot."

by Alex B. on Sep 30, 2011 4:10 pm • linkreport

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