Rents Drop in DC For First Time Since 2009

by UrbanTurf Staff

Rents Drop in DC For First Time Since 2009: Figure 1
Rendering of apartment building lobby at Monroe Street Market.

A report out last week analyzing the regional apartment market in the second quarter of 2013 reveals that rents for Class A apartments (large buildings built after 1991, with full amenity packages) in the DC area dropped on an annual basis for the first time since 2009, a clear sign that the supply of new apartments is catching up to demand.

Class A rents fell year-over-year by about a percentage point in the NoMa/H Street area, upper NW and the sub-market that includes Penn Quarter, Logan Circle and Dupont Circle, but the rents drops were more pronounced in Northern Virginia where rents fell almost 5 percent. Rents did not fall everywhere, however. In the Shaw and Columbia Heights sub-market, rents increased 5 percent; in Bethesda, they rose 3.8 percent.

Rents Drop in DC For First Time Since 2009: Figure 2
Courtesy of Delta Associates. Click to enlarge.

Here is a quick snapshot of average rents for Class A apartments in DC area sub-markets, as defined by Delta:

  • Central: (Penn Quarter, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, etc.) $2,759 a month
  • Upper Northwest: $2,651 a month
  • Columbia Heights/Shaw: $2,623 a month
  • NoMa/H Street: $2,295 a month
  • Capitol Riverfront: $2,253 a month
  • Alexandria/Arlington: $1,973 a month
  • Rockville/North Bethesda: $1,855 a month

There are a number of reasons that rents are now falling, but primarily it is due to high levels of new supply and a pipeline that now seems oversized compared with demand. For loyal UrbanTurf readers this should not come as surprise. A little over a year ago, we reported that the delivery of new apartment projects (and resulting increase in vacancies) will put downward pressure on rents.


  • Class A apartments are typically large buildings built after 1991, with full amenity packages. Class B buildings are generally older buildings that have been renovated and/or have more limited amenity packages.

See other articles related to: renting in dc, dc apartments

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rents_drop_in_dc_first_time_since_2009/7285


  1. David said at 1:56 am on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    Are the average rents above for one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, or a mix of the two?
  1. The Editors said at 3:04 am on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    David, It is an average of studios, one and two-bedroom apartments in new rentals in the DC area. The Editors
  1. HappyRicardian said at 2:04 pm on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    When will the "supply and demand does not apply to DC real estate" crowd shut up? This has been expected by some of us, who know that supply does effect price. Lets keep the supply going.
  1. tim said at 3:19 pm on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    DC's new construction seems too heavily tiled toward out of the way, ammenity low neighborhoods like NoMa and Capitol Riverfront. Those neighborhoods don't really give off the city at your doorstep feel. Personally, I would like to see more housing added in the active core (Foggy Bottom, West End, Penn Quarter, Dupont, Logan,etc).
  1. HappyRicardian said at 3:42 pm on Tuesday July 9, 2013:
    Tim There are lots of amenities in NoMa and Navy Yard, and more are being added all the time. As for the established neighborhoods you mention, there simply aren't that many lots suitable for development in those places, and when new buildings are built there, they are very expensive as a result.
  1. Nat said at 11:49 am on Wednesday July 10, 2013:
    I can believe this in theory... But not a single person I know in dc actually had their rent go down this year, with the exception of one who seriously downsized.
  1. Doug said at 1:57 pm on Wednesday July 10, 2013:
    I agree with Nat, the study is all good and well, but who among us actually believes that our buildings would reduce rent or keep it the same when the lease is up? I fully expect the building management to raise my rent in September.
  1. Trespasser said at 5:24 pm on Wednesday July 10, 2013:
    I agree with Nat. I will eat my left foot if someone shows proof of their rent staying the same or going down upon lease renewal.
  1. Alex said at 9:56 pm on Wednesday July 10, 2013:
    I can attest that my rent actually stayed the same. I have a 1-bedroom at Archstone (now Avalon) First & M in NoMa. I just resigned last week. Base rent of $2,222. Of course I'll also be dealing with the construction outside my window on 1st St NE for at least the next year.
  1. Rhetor Marcus said at 9:48 am on Thursday July 11, 2013:
    I don´t think that the writer intended to suggest that managers were lowering rents for existing renters, but rather for new renters and these affect average rents. Someone signing a lease now on an apartment identical to yours might get a lower rent than you did last year. However, the trend will make it less likely that your rent will rise.
  1. C said at 1:36 pm on Thursday July 11, 2013:
    Exactly to what Rhetor Marcus said. It's not that LL will drop or lower your rent; they are just likely not to increase it. LL would lower rents if everyone started moving out in favor of an apartment equal to or better than current apartment for less money. It would depend on how good a deal new apartment dwelling is to make the hassle of moving worth it. It sounds like in central nw/downtown DC that the change is 1% or under, which hardly makes it worth talking about, unless it is the start of a downward trend.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »