Elevator project update. The Stiltz elevator has been ordered and the permits have been requested! The beginning of the project is just around the corner.

While there are a lot of naysayers in the real estate community about residential elevators, I continue to see new construction, luxury townhouse communities in Bethesda, Chevy Chase and now Potomac, Gaithersburg adding elevators to their homes. (See these ads I just pulled out of the latest Bethesda magazine issue.) The logic is simple. “More established” households are moving closer to DC and downsizing from their big family homes into smaller townhouses. They still want space and amenities. In order to do this, these townhouses have three and four levels. Enter the elevator. Now couples can downsize to these communities and age in place.

While I cannot tell you what the ROI is on putting in an elevator… yet… I can tell you that putting in an elevator allows several groups of people who couldn’t otherwise live in a community purchase there.

I pulled a quick search of all of the residential single family detached homes and townhouses, actively on the market or coming soon, in Montgomery County, with an elevator. There are 48. Currently the least expensive of these is a townhouse in North Bethesda listed at $699,900 (and the most expensive at $8M). 5 of the 48 are under $1M. If your budget is less than $1M, you have 5 homes you can consider unless you look at condo buildings and ranch/ramblers. One was built in 1998 and the rest are newer than 2015.

Even if we argue an elevator adds no value to the price someone would pay for a house, if you are a buyer who needs an elevator and you want to live in a townhouse or detached home and your budget is less than $1M, you are going to be very competitive in your bid on one of those 5 houses, and you are not going to consider the other competition of that house on the market. That is value to the seller. Just some food for thought.

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