Washington, D.C. Multifamily Market Snapshot

The D.C. multifamily market is one of the strongest in the nation

D.C. multifamily market

The Washington, D.C. multifamily market has historically been one of the strongest nationwide. With a large, often transient, government workforce, demand for rentals remains high. Our staff has binge-watched all four seasons of House of Cards to get a glimpse into what makes this city tick, and we we are anxiously awaiting the premiere of Scandal later this month. Oh, and there’s this little thing called the Presidential Inauguration going on this weekend as well.

Washington, D.C. is full of diversity and culture with limitless opportunities for entertainment or experiencing American history from within the District and in the surrounding suburbs. No amount of swamp-draining can undo these truths. It is vibrant and buzzing, and it’s one of the most sought-after places to live.

Below are just some of the factors shaping this market in 2017:

Strong rent prices

The market supports some of the highest rent prices in the country, with average in-city rents of $2,266. It ranks in the top five for highest rent prices in the United States and, in recent years, has been supported by an influx of renters in the millennial generation.

Homeownership is often unattainable for people who want to live in this expensive and popular city. Ivanka Trump’s new $5-million pad in the city is evidence of that. Renting allows people to live in attractive neighborhoods for a more reasonable budget.

However, 2016 showed a decline in absorption rates (i.e. how quickly vacancies are filled) due to a demographic shift. While younger professionals are more likely to rent apartments, Washington, D.C. is experiencing more growth from international professionals. Experts expect that demographic shift to level out absorption rates for the next few years, but they also expect job growth to remain strong in the metro area.

Attracting D.C. renters

The demographic shift, coupled with the addition of new multifamily properties, means that properties will face slightly stronger competition for renters this year. We have to admit that we had a vision of gray-haired politicians in three-piece suits when we first entered this market, but we were pleasantly surprised to find D.C. brimming with polished young professionals who enjoy culture, history, great food and an overwhelming amount of living destinations.

The city, of course, is rich with history, and one almost feels transported back in time with museums and monuments at every turn. There’s also evidence that our forefathers and mothers were multifamily and density experts as you walk along the streets with historic, 12-foot-wide homes.

To attract renters, D.C. property managers should capitalize on the following assets and amenities:

Affordability

In an expensive rental market, offering relative affordability can make a big difference. From microapartments that offer luxury in small spaces to suburban options with access to transit, renters are looking for ways to save.

Lush suburbs

Maryland and Virginia suburbs have plenty to offer people who don’t relish city life. With a lush green landscape, outdoor recreation, wineries and easy commutes into D.C. via the Metro train system, the suburbs offer renters quaint style of living with a historic main streets filled, shopping and world-class dining.

Sharing economy

In a metro area with limited parking options and heavy traffic, access to services like car-sharing and guest rooms for rent can appeal to D.C. professionals.

Co-living

For young professionals looking to save money, another option is co-living. New concepts will be tested in the D.C. area this year, which will allow individuals to rent a private bedroom within a larger suite with shared common areas for four-to-five renters. (These ‘real life Golden Girls’ in D.C. prove that co-living is not just for younger renters.)

Location

As with any city, location is often the biggest sell. Proximity to incredible dining, local hot spots, markets or gathering spots will draw the most interest. Whether you are located in one of Washington D.C.’s ‘5 Hottest Neighborhoods’ or elsewhere, promote your neighborhood’s most attractive assets.

Modern flair

For the 25-35 demographic, properties with clean lines and modern sensibilities are a nice change from D.C.’s classic red, white and blue traditionalism. Our work for Ashton Dulles Corner is a great example of creating a modern update for a classic apartment community.  

In a city of busy professionals, long commute times and the constant buzz of government activity, renters are looking for a quiet escape. D.C. renters are looking for apartments that can be an oasis, regardless of square-footage, and that offer a sense of place and home.

Contact us today to learn more about our design and branding services for multifamily properties across the United States.