Housing Complex

Ugh, Why is D.C. the Hardest Place to Find An Apartment?

So, I'm reading this Wall Street Journal article about apartment vacancy rates and it's telling me how easy it is find an apartment these days: rents are down 3 percent nationally. The vacancy rate is 8 percent. In New York City, "60% of rental buildings dropped their rents in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter." Building managers are tossing Starbucks cards at tenants to get them to stick around for another year.

The article also reported that 120,000 new units came on the market in 2009–"the most new construction since 2003"—including a number of buildings that were originally slated to be condos. That sounds like D.C.!

And yet...everyone that I know here in Washington has struggled to find a decent place. It takes hours of mind-numbing clicking on Craiglist, months of pounding the pavement.

And then, I get 12 paragraphs down:

Marcus & Millichap is to release a separate report on Friday that forecasts a further 2% to 3% drop in apartment rents over the next year, most of which will be concentrated over the next six months. The report forecasts Washington, D.C., will be the healthiest rental market in 2010 for the second straight year.

  • Former Staffer

    The disproportionate number of interns arriving from the Midwest?

  • Eric

    Interns come for the summer, not year-round! Why do you think the rental market is so tight here? The population is growing fast but construction has basically halted on new apartment buildings!

  • Rick Mangus

    The rental market is not tight if you don't mind paying thur the nose.

  • http://freckledcitizen.com Maggie

    I'm (hopefully, fingers crossed, hoping not to jinx anything) moving to DC soon, and my husband and I have had a tough time getting beyond Craigslist in our apartment search. We keep hoping there's a DC version of the amazing NYC website Streeteasy (http://streeteasy.com/), but no such luck.

  • oboe

    Ah, come now. There's plenty of housing available East of the river! Get to it...

  • jules

    I didn't know a housing search could actually move me to tears, but after getting turned down for an affordable, cute apartment (which I could pay for!) because someone else made more money than me...I broke down.

    I ended up moving into a friends place which is about $300 a month over my desired rent budget. I'm moving back to Chicago this summer. I'll take a brutal winter over a brutal housing sitch any day.

  • Valerie

    I know that searching for an apartment can be really tough and time consuming. When I was searching for my place I found this site that I love. It's called Rent Jungle and it's this apartment search engine. It takes the listings from the major apartment sights and puts the results on a single page. It's also has some cool features that let you see if you're paying too much in rent and gives you market trends in your area. I hope this site helps and here's the link if you want to check it out!



  • http://streeteasy.com/dc/sales John

    Check out Streeteasy DC! http://streeteasy.com/dc/sales It makes apartment hunting super easy!

  • http://streeteasy.com/dc/sales John

    Actually- this is the page for rentals: