DC Apartment Rents Increase Slightly

by Mark Wellborn

Apartment rents in DC rose two percent overall during the past 12 months, according to a recent report from research firm Reis, Inc.

A two percent increase may not seem like that much, but nationally, DC had the second highest rent increase over the past 12 months, second only to Colorado Springs. Still, most renters in the city are likely only taking into account their annual rate, and the two percent increase means little.

What is more interesting is how long renters are staying in their apartments. An article from The Wall Street Journal noted that in addition to the rate increase, renters are also remaining in one apartment for longer periods of time than in the past.

From The Journal:

The average renter now stays for 19 months, up from an average of 14 months, said [Jeffrey Friedman, chief executive of Associated Estates Realty Corp.], and despite low mortgage rates and greater home affordability, fewer renters are leaving to buy homes.

“This is the first time in many, many years that it feels like even people who could afford to buy are making the investment decision not to,” Mr. Friedman said.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_apartment_rents_increase_slightly/1949


  1. Ashley said at 5:08 pm on Tuesday April 6, 2010:

    I think in the DC area it is also probably neighborhood by neighborhood how much the rent changed.  I have a feeling areas such as Columbia Heights which is becoming increasingly more popular probably had heigher rental increases than more established neighborhoods such as Dupont Circle.  For example a year ago we moved to Fort Totten because they were running a great special, when we received our renew notice, the cheapest option (a 13 month renewal) was a 10% increase from our current rate.  This just happened to align with our searching for a house. If all goes well we will be purchasing a brand new town home that has a mortgage payment equal to the month to month rate of our current place only a few blocks away.  Most people haven’t yet discovered how convenient and accessible Fort Totten is but by that point we hope to own, and thus not have to worry about what the rental company determines is a reasonable monthly rate.

  1. jj said at 10:47 am on Wednesday April 7, 2010:

    rental rates will continue to increase until they reach the max people will pay versus a mortgage for a similar space. there was a time in 97-01 when mortgages were cheaper than rent. then the housing prices skyrocketed and renting made sense again. however, with the incentives going away, down payments at 20% and rising interest rates, the rental market continue to be strong with less supply, further driving up rental costs. with fewer condos coming on the market, there’s no supply to buy. the equalibrium will be reached at about 3k for a one bedroom and 4200 for a one bedroom plus den with parking in a desirable, crime-lessened (not crime free), metro accessible neighborhoods.

  1. Beth said at 12:31 pm on Wednesday April 7, 2010:

    To jj:  The equilibrium could also be reached by a decrease in housing prices.  Also, your numbers for equilibrium price seem to be a little off.  In order to pay $3000 monthly on a mortgage for a one bedroom, the selling price would have to be well over $500,000, particularly after a 20% down payment assuming an interest rate of 5.5%.  I think 1 bedroom apartments in desirable, crime-lessened, metro accessible neighborhoods can still be found for less than that.

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