I agree with Aaron that areas around the metro are always going to be a good investment. Neighborhoods with good housing stock will be discovered too, and begin to appreciate. Two of my favorite neighborhoods are LeDroit Park for the spectacular detached Victorians and Eckington, particularly west of North Capital, in the unit blocks which are tree lined and sunny and really really charming. I remain hopeful that in the next five years the area around the new(ish) Nationals stadium will finally reach its potential, and the SW waterfront has some possibilities, although much of that housing stock is coops with high fees that will hold back prices.
The one thing I can honestly endorse is that Washington is a dynamic city with lots of neighborhoods to discover and develop! Happy hunting.
As an aside, for anyone reading this who doesn't want to live in DC itself, I am seeing great appreciation outside the city along the new silver metro line. There are some great properties in Reston, and the new Reston town center makes it an appealing suburban lifestyle if your work takes you that way. Another area with potential is Lincoln Park, behind the Rockville Metro. Small homes within a few blocks of the metro and the Rockville Town Center with large lots offer lots of rehab possibilities. Lets check them out!
While some great deals can be bought in Trinidad, the neighborhood does not have the renewal going on in other areas and folks are not wanting to live there. It would be great it it could be turned into another U-Street Corridor, but I see that as many years down the road. Another area to watch is Anacostia. Some folks avoid going "across the river", but a lot has been happening there, renewal, renovations - both of homes and businesses, the city is fixing the street issues, young professionals are starting to look at it. I see it as one of the hot spots in the next 5 years.
Other awesome places that have not fully peaked is Woodridge, Petworth and Columbia Heights has been on the steady rise for the last 3 years, Brightwood is like living in the suburbs with the Old Wardman style homes that go on for days inside and porches that take you back to your grandmothers house. All of these areas are increasing in value steadily and the houses and/or dramatic condos consistently have eager buyers. Call us for further details.
Take a map of DC, showing the METRO stops.
Get a compass (not the N/S kind, but the 'draw a circle' kind._
Draw a series of shaded circles around each METRO Stop, at 1/4 mile, 1.2 mile, 1mile, 2 miles, etc. (These may overlap)
Historically, Areas with METRO access have best appreciated.
where the shaded circles overlap, you'll have the most appreciation. Where there is no shading, or little shading; no appreciation.
The trouble with this is, that the METRO's have been around a while. Most of the appreciation due to METRO's has already happened.
BUT, its a good technique to look at other factors that might 'apprceiate' an area .(sorry, just turned appreciate into a verb!)
Try similar for:
Streetcar (not just the one coming soon, but the larger plans DC has, they're on-line.
Major developments planned for Federal or Private groups, such as Malls, etc.
Anything else, you think are assets for homeowners, inlcuding, new interstate access, etc.
So, No, I haven't answered your question, but I have given you some tools to answer them yourself!