New construction helping keep DC rents flat, report shows

WASHINGTON — Renting a home or apartment in D.C. isn’t cheap — but new construction could give an advantage to renters.

Most renters dread getting notices about their rent going up, and in D.C. on average, people are paying $41 more this year than they did at the same time last year, according to Axiometrics.

Jay Denton, vice president of analytics at Axiometrics, said even with the slight increase, rents remain a far cry from the 5 percent to 10 percent increase seen in some cities on the West Coast.

Some of that is due to new construction which creates more supply while limiting some of the demand.

Denton said the Capitol Hill neighborhood is home to 15,000 of the 35,000 new apartment and condo units being built in the city, and the available spaces are keeping the market moderate. He said many of the new buildings will come with units ranging in rent from $2,500 to $5,000.

“From a consumer’s perspective, you have nice new housing and your rents aren’t going up nearly as much,” Denton said.

Rental rates in the D.C. area as a whole are flat, according to Denton, which means landlords are not raising rents much.

The District and Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia, are only up 2.5 percent compared to rent growth seen the same time last year, with the average rent this year at $1,700.

The best deals continue to be found when you go outside the Capital Beltway.

Rents in Maryland’s Silver Spring, Frederick and Rockville areas are only up about 1.2 percent over last year, putting the average rent at $1,285.

Denton said there are also newer units coming on the market in the suburbs, which come with more amenities for lower prices than units in D.C. New one-bedroom apartments are showing for $1,300 on average.

Looking to the future, Denton believes rents will continue to rise, but right now the market is slanting one way or another when it comes to whether or not someone should buy or rent a home.

“The market is adding jobs and that’s gonna make rents go up some; it’s going to make the value of the homes go up a little bit as well,” Denton said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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