Time to Buy? DC is Sixth Most Expensive Rental Market in the U.S.

by Mark Wellborn

Time to Buy? DC is Sixth Most Expensive Rental Market in the U.S.: Figure 1

If you have been debating whether or not to continue to rent or dive in and buy a home, a study released by the Center for Housing Policy might push you in the direction of buying.

The study, entitled Paycheck to Paycheck: Wages and the Cost of Housing in America, ranks DC as the sixth most expensive rental market in the U.S. where the average monthly rate to rent a two-bedroom apartment is about $1,500. San Francisco ranks as the most expensive city in the country to rent with an average monthly rate of $1,760. The rents used in this study are based on the Fair Market Rents for fiscal year 2009 and 2010, issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The study also provided some interesting insight into the home buying market in DC. From 2008 to 2009, the annual income needed to buy a home in the area actually fell 5 percent, according to the study, from $89,674 to $85,074. The study attributed this mainly to low interest rates:

Although home prices rose or held steady in more than two-fifths of metro areas studied, the income needed to purchase a home dropped in almost all areas due to lower mortgage interest rates. Between 2008 and 2009, home prices rose or held steady in 90 (43.5 percent) out of 207 metropolitan areas. Over the same time period, the income needed to purchase a median-priced home decreased in 193 metro areas (93.2 percent). A drop in mortgage interest rates reduced monthly mortgage payments (and the income needed to afford them) even in most of the markets in which home prices rose or leveled off.

See other articles related to: renting in dc

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/time_to_buy_dc_is_sixth_most_expensive_rental_market_in_the_u.s/1918


  1. Thomas said at 4:30 pm on Friday March 26, 2010:
    Yep, this is about right. My rent has been going up steadily for the last three years.
  1. Mary said at 7:41 pm on Friday March 26, 2010:
    An interesting story on renting in the DC area, tune in tonight on your local NBC News4 at 5. RENTING Looking for a place to lease in the Washington area? Prepare to pay. How does DC rank among other metropolitan areas? More on this tonight on News4 at 5.
  1. Jamie said at 7:26 pm on Tuesday March 30, 2010:
    They must have used a mean number including rentals in seedier neighborhoods, because $1,500 will only get you a ONE-bedroom in a safe neighborhood in this city, sadly! I live here and my brother lives in Manhattan, and we find the rental costs to be very comparable.

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!