For all their gyrations, DC rents pretty much where they were before pandemic

D.C.-area rental rates posted double-digit percentage declines in the early months of the COVID pandemic, when out-of-work renters led to a jump in vacancies. Rental rates recovered quickly in 2021 and 2022, when renters were returning to work. Rising rents have waned in 2023.

ApartmentList reports average rents in the District were unchanged in September compared to August. Compared to one year ago, average rent in D.C. is up just 0.3%, compared to the year-over-year jump of 4.1% last August.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three years ago, average rents in D.C. are up 4.8%.

D.C. is still an expensive market for renters.

The median rent in Washington is $1,899 a month, 39.2% higher than the national average, making D.C. the 20th-most expensive rental market in the U.S.

The apartment vacancy rate in D.C. is currently 5.7%, up from 5.2% last September.

While rent held steady in the District in September, nationwide rents fell 0.5%, accelerating what ApartmentList calls the late-year rent declines that typically hit the rental market this time of year.

The slow season has spread across the country, with 85 of the nation’s 100 largest markets seeing rents fall in September.

ApartmentList’s monthly Washington market rental report is online, and includes rents in the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs as well.

Below is a chart showing median rent changes in D.C. since 2020:

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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