Department of Numbers

Washington District of Columbia Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Washington, DC (the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area) was $1,553 in 2015 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Washington was $1,562 in 2015. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2016 Washington median and average rent data will be released in September of 2017.

Data is also available below for Washington rental vacancy rates, Washington rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Washington.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Washington District of Columbia (2015 dollars)2

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $959 +3.12% +8.24%
District of Columbia Median Gross Rent $1,417 +4.73% +14.46%
Washington, DC Median Gross Rent $1,553 +2.31% +8.75%

Washington, DC Real Gross Rent Trends

At $1,553, real median gross rent in Washington was at its highest level in 2015 since the series began in 2012. At $1,562, real average gross rent in Washington was at its highest level in 2015 since the series began in 2012.

Real Gross Rent in Washington: Washington DC Median, Washington DC Average, District of Columbia Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Washington

Date US
Median
District of Columbia
Median
Washington, DC
Median
Washington, DC
Average
2015 $959 $1,417 $1,553 $1,562
2014 $930 $1,353 $1,518 $1,535
2013 $898 $1,297 $1,470 $1,501
2012 $886 $1,238 $1,428 $1,462
2011 $887 $1,238
2010 $901 $1,262
2009 $905 $1,138
2008 $920 $1,129
2007 $874 $1,034
2006 $883 $1,058
2005 $858 $981

Washington Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2015 the rental vacancy rate for Washington District of Columbia was 4.57% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Washington District of Columbia

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.85% -0.47% -0.92%
District of Columbia 5.12% -0.29% -0.78%
Washington, DC 4.57% -0.60% -0.33%

Trends in Washington, DC Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Washington peaked in 2014 at 5.17%. Since then it has fallen by 0.60% to 4.57%. Data records for this series originated in 2012.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Washington DC, District of Columbia, US

Rental vacancy rate in District of Columbia

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Washington

Date US District of Columbia Washington, DC
2015 5.85% 5.12% 4.57%
2014 6.32% 5.41% 5.17%
2013 6.49% 6.23% 5.14%
2012 6.77% 5.90% 4.90%
2011 7.40% 4.94%
2010 8.17% 9.55%
2009 8.43% 6.07%
2008 7.86% 6.52%
2007 7.87% 5.23%
2006 7.70% 6.03%
2005 7.74% 5.58%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Washington, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Washington, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 19.98% in 2015 according to the ACS.

Washington District of Columbia Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.63% -0.26% -0.02%
District of Columbia 22.48% -0.29% +0.23%
Washington, DC 19.98% -0.09% +0.61%

Trends in Washington, DC Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Washington household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2014 (relative to the 2012 series origin) at 20.07%. Since then it has fallen by 0.09% to 19.98%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Washington DC, District of Columbia, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Washington District of Columbia

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Washington District of Columbia

Date US District of Columbia Washington, DC
2015 20.63% 22.48% 19.98%
2014 20.89% 22.78% 20.07%
2013 20.78% 23.21% 19.71%
2012 20.65% 22.26% 19.37%
2011 20.70% 23.12%
2010 20.50% 23.60%
2009 20.12% 21.43%
2008 19.00% 20.94%
2007 18.66% 20.63%
2006 18.90% 21.15%
2005 18.89% 21.14%

Renter Fraction in Washington District of Columbia

You can calculate the renter fraction in Washington in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Washington as a fraction of total Washington households. In 2015 37.75% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Washington Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2015 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.97% +0.07% +0.88%
District of Columbia 60.06% +0.62% +1.57%
Washington, DC 37.75% +0.45% +0.63%

Trends in the Washington, DC Renter Fraction

At 37.75%, the 2015 household based renter fraction in Washington was at its highest level. The origin year for the series is 2012.

Fraction of Renting Households: Washington DC, District of Columbia, US

Fraction of renters in Washington

History of Washington Renter Fraction

Date US District of Columbia Washington, DC
2015 36.97% 60.06% 37.75%
2014 36.90% 59.44% 37.30%
2013 36.50% 59.32% 37.31%
2012 36.09% 58.49% 37.12%
2011 35.42% 58.82%
2010 34.65% 57.53%
2009 34.13% 55.22%
2008 33.36% 56.57%
2007 32.80% 55.46%
2006 32.73% 54.25%
2005 33.10% 57.49%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.