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If the difficulty of finding an affordable place to live in and around the District isn’t news to you, perhaps this is: From 2006 to 2014, the amount of rental housing supply in the D.C. metro area grew 24 percent, significantly outpaced by the 35 percent boom in renter population here over that time.
That’s according to a new report released by the NYU Furman Center and Capital One that examined rental housing in the 11 largest U.S. metro areas. In part because of those changes, the report finds that the D.C. metro area was the least affordable one for the median American renter in 2014: This person could “only afford 12 percent of all rental units and only six percent of those which had recently been for rent” there, the authors explain, referring to units that had been on the market within the past year. In 2014, 57 percent of area renters lived in the District; the rest resided in the suburbs.
“This study shows that affordable housing is becoming increasingly out of reach for many low- and even moderate-income renters in the nation’s largest metro areas,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, the Furman Center’s faculty director, in a statement. “In all of the metro areas we studied, the renter population grew faster than the housing stock. As supply did not keep pace with this growth in demand, vacancy rates decreased, the average number of people living in a rental unit increased, and, in most areas, rents rose.”
In the D.C. metro area, the rental vacancy rate dropped two points between 2006 and 2014, from nine percent to seven percent of all units. Still, the area’s relatively high median income among renters—$22,000 greater than those in metro areas across the U.S.—helped offset the area’s high rents, according to the report. In the District, rents grew 27 percent over the study period, whereas they grew eight percent in the suburbs. The share of “severely rent burdened” renters in the area (those who pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent) rose from 21 to 23 percent over the study period.
Seven of the 11 metro areas examined in the report became less affordable to the median American renter. Behind D.C. were San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
Below is the D.C. metro area’s profile, which includes median cost and income figures. You can read the full report here.
Screenshots via report