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Delta Associates is dropping a ton of third-quarter housing market data today, and of particular interest is the firm’s observations about renting vs. owning in the District:

The lingering for-sale housing downturn is readjusting the renter vs. owner ratio back toward historical norms—perhaps even overshooting the norm during this recession. Over the past two years, the percentage of renter vs. owners in the Washington metro area has grown at twice the national average.

Crazy! That makes us the “best performing apartment market in the nation.” Thankyou, transient federal workforce.

Vacancy rates have actually increased a little bit over the last year, from 2.2 percent to 3.6 percent (though it’s not even across the District: the lowest rate is 2.2 percent, in Columbia Heights/Shaw, and highest in Capitol Hill East, at 6.6 percent). But that’s because we’re actually building new apartments at the same time, not because people are leaving. And those units are commanding higher rents, up 7.1 percent over last year. What’s more, lots of projects are scheduled for delivery in 2012, putting the 36-month pipeline at 5,079 units. Will construction move fast enough to keep rents from rising even higher?