A Young Professionals Guide to the D.C. Rental Market

. By: David Illes
“…real estate experts are projecting significant growth within the rental market as developers continue to renovate and construct new housing in order to meet the growing demand in D.C.”

Congratulations! You have just achieved young professional status by landing the career you always wanted in the big city, and somehow you’ve even convinced yourself that the three hour round trip commute from suburbs “is really not that bad.” Then, the months slip away along with your hard-earned money to transportation costs and other commuting fees. Not to mention, if you hear Karen from accounting brag one more time about that trendy new cafe that just opened around the corner from her place in Shaw, you’re going to scream.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re probably already considering a move to a place in the city. But with your current income, buying isn’t really an option—couple that with everyone telling you that the cost of rent is way too high and it all becomes enough to scare some people off. But as a Millennial, you belong to a resilient, resourceful generation, and facing the crisis of unaffordable housing in today’s rental market won’t deter you from living out your dreams in the city. So, what’s stopping you?

Here are a few helpful tips so you can find the right rental options for you:

  • Do Your Research

More often than not, taking the time to do a little quality research can be something we all take for granted. In regards to D.C.’s ever changing landscape it is important to not let areas that once had a negative reputation in the past scare you off today. At first glance, you might think a property isn’t situated in a place that best suits your needs, but there are many up and coming areas with great multifamily projects in the works like this 45 unit project, which is currently under construction by the talented property development company, Ditto Residential. It may not always be easy, but doing your homework and looking for upcoming real estate projects can provide you with invaluable information to make an educated decision.

  • Location, Walkability, and Amenities

These are the big three features that everyone wants out of a rental property in D.C. However, on a tight budget having all three in spades might not be exactly realistic. When looking for your next potential home pay attention to the property’s walkability score. The walkability score determines how easily daily errands can be accomplished on foot, and a location’s proximity to restaurants, bars, and other local amenities. Just know that even if a property does not have the best location, a building’s amenities can still make that specific property great, and vice versa. The important part is reflecting on what is essential to you, and then finding a property that meets your needs. Luckily D.C. ranks 4th in the nation for transit friendly cities, and 7th in the nation for most bike friendly cities and thanks to programs like Capital Bike Share the city is more traversable than it has ever been.

  • Patience is a Virtue

Listen, no one wants to hear about patience in our age of instant gratification, but when talking about the housing market, patience becomes a necessity for knowing when to rent and when to wait. Similar to many major cities in the U.S., Washington, D.C. experiences a constant ebb and flow between the availability of housing and the demand from new potential residents. This never-ending balancing act can either drive the cost of rent through the roof, in times of property scarcity, or create the perfect conditions for young professionals to find new, exciting properties/rentals in the District. Currently, real estate experts are projecting significant growth within the rental market as developers continue to renovate and construct new housing in order to meet the growing demand in D.C. So remain patient—the District’s rental market is rebounding to be more of a renters market after the Great Recession and your ideal property could be currently in the stages of being built in the next hip Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

If I could leave you with one piece of advice; don’t be discouraged when looking for housing options in D.C. The rental market is fluid and always changing, and if worse comes to worse, you could always ask Karen from accounting if she’s looking for a roommate.

Most importantly, we may already have your next home waiting for you, take a look at Longford Management’s available rentals here.



Rent Jungle

Urban Institute Predicts Rental Surge Among Millennials, Minorities, Seniors-Bendix Anderson