1914 vs. 2013: A Century of Rent Appreciation in DC

by UrbanTurf Staff

1914 vs. 2013: A Century of Rent Appreciation in DC: Figure 1
The Cairo

In his ever continuing ability to pluck cool things from the city’s past, Ghosts of DC published a post today that included a pocket directory of apartment rental rates from a century ago.

While many of the buildings have since come and gone, there are a few still in existence, which means that a cool comparison can be made when it comes to the change in rental rates between 1914 and 2013.

For example, a hundred years ago, a one-bedroom rental at The Cairo on Q Street NW went for somewhere between $15 to $26 a month. That same apartment now rents for between $2,200 and $2,300 a month.

The other interesting takeaway from the directory is that it reveals just how much larger apartments were back in 1914. In many instances, buildings in the directory did not offer anything smaller than a three-bedroom rental, and in some cases only four and five-bedroom apartments were available. Good luck finding an apartment that big downtown these days.

Check out the full directory here.

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See other articles related to: the cairo, renting in dc, ghosts of dc

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/1914_vs._2013_the_100-year_rent_appreciation_in_dc/7289


  1. Zesty said at 5:37 pm on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    On the site is shows that the Cairo was renting for between $15 and $87.50. Adjusted for inflation, this is $349 - $2,038 in 2013 dollars (source: BLS). Essentially, apartments back then catered to a wider income bracket; nowadays apartments are essentially segregated based on income (which I think is sad).
  1. PCC said at 4:42 pm on Monday August 12, 2013:
    Well, besides adjusting for inflation, one should also correct for purchasing power parity (PPP). Wages have gone up faster than inflation, on balance. The apartment directory listed didn't purport to be universal; it's an advertisement for the "better class" of apartment houses. People needing smaller units then would have turned to boarding houses or residential hotels.

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