Trinidad: Crime Concern to Hot Neighborhood in 3 Years

One of the hottest zip codes for real estate in D.C. was a hot spot for crime not too long ago.

Three years ago, multiple shootings in the Trinidad neighborhood led to controversial police checkpoints. There haven't been any violent events that significant since, neighbors told NBC Washington. Crime hasn't vanished, but residents said what happens in Trinidad isn't much different than what happens in other parts of the city.

That may be starting to reflect in the sales numbers. In Trinidad, median home prices are up 24 percent over the past few years. Tax assessment values are up 33 percent. And there are plenty of buyers waiting to move in. 

Recently, the northeast garden community has become a mix of original homeowners, renovators and young people.

“I think this is one of the top three most sought-after residential neighborhoods in the city,” said Tim Barley, of ReMax Allegiance. “It's really one of the last remaining close in neighborhoods that is still affordable to folks.”

Buyers can find rowhouses for less than $300,000, and when a house makes it on to the market, it's not available for long. 

“They're very large houses in comparison to the rest of the housing stock in D.C.,” Barley said. “A lot of them have basements, and they're really charming houses. Their owners have taken care of them over the years. … One of the things people don't realize about Trinidad is that it sits up on a hill and a lot of these houses, from the second story, you can actually see the Capitol and the Library of Congress.”

Scores of young professionals like Mike Kelly have made Trinidad home. Kelly doesn't give much credence to its reputation of being a crime-ridden area.

“We have really wonderful neighbors,” Kelly said. “It's a nice neighborhood. Everyone's really friendly. Everyone's hanging out all the time.”

Part of the attraction of the neighborhood is its proximity to the booming H Street Corridor. New restaurants, bars and businesses have revitalized the commercial thoroughfare, and a new streetcar line under construction has also added to the area's value.

Lonnie Gilliam, who has lived on Trinidad Avenue for 53 years, doesn't want to see his senior citizen neighbors taxed out. 

“It went from being an older, family neighborhood to a lot of times you don't even know who your neighbors are,” he said. “So it's changed a lot. One thing I've noticed is different cultures, different nationalities. We was only African-American and now you have a  lot of whites coming in, which is probably good, but with that a lot of people really don't like changes. 

The diversity drew Jordan Farrar to Trinidad.

“If you're going to buy a home, this is where you need to do it, because I see this area a lot like Columbia Heights,” she said. “I mean, five years ago, Columbia Heights had a lot of gang violence and now it's really nice, and I see this is going to be the next area.”

Most homes are selling above the list price, with multiple buyers bidding to win.

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