Department of Numbers

District of Columbia Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in District of Columbia was $1,376 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent was $1,463 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 District of Columbia median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

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

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in District of Columbia (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
District of Columbia Median Gross Rent $1,376 -4.18% +4.72%

District of Columbia Real Gross Rent Trends

Median gross rent for District of Columbia peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,436 and is now $60 (4.18%) lower. Average gross rent for District of Columbia peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,494 and is now $31 (2.07%) lower.

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

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for District of Columbia

Date US Median District of Columbia Median District of Columbia Average
2016 $981 $1,376 $1,463
2015 $972 $1,436 $1,494
2014 $942 $1,371 $1,470
2013 $910 $1,314 $1,404
2012 $898 $1,255 $1,345
2011 $898 $1,254 $1,320
2010 $912 $1,278 $1,346
2009 $916 $1,153 $1,262
2008 $932 $1,144 $1,263
2007 $885 $1,048 $1,158
2006 $895 $1,072 $1,155
2005 $869 $993 $1,100

District of Columbia Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for District of Columbia was 6.86% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in District of Columbia

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
District of Columbia 6.86% +1.74% +0.63%

Trends in District of Columbia Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in District of Columbia peaked in 2010 at 9.55%. Since then it has fallen by 2.69% to 6.86%. Data records for this series originated in 2005. From a 2011 post peak low of 4.94%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 1.92%.

Rental Vacancy Rate: District of Columbia, US

Rental vacancy rate in District of Columbia

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for District of Columbia

Date US District of Columbia
2016 5.89% 6.86%
2015 5.85% 5.12%
2014 6.32% 5.41%
2013 6.49% 6.23%
2012 6.77% 5.90%
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%

District of Columbia Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for District of Columbia, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For District of Columbia, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 21.87% in 2016 according to the ACS.

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

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
District of Columbia 21.87% -0.62% -1.34%

Trends in District of Columbia Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median District of Columbia household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2010 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 23.60%. Since then it has fallen by 1.74% to 21.87%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: District of Columbia, US

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

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

Date US District of Columbia
2016 20.43% 21.87%
2015 20.63% 22.48%
2014 20.89% 22.78%
2013 20.78% 23.21%
2012 20.65% 22.26%
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 District of Columbia

You can calculate the renter fraction in District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia as a fraction of total District of Columbia households. In 2016 60.75% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

District of Columbia Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
District of Columbia 60.75% +0.69% +1.43%

Trends in the District of Columbia Renter Fraction

At 60.75%, the 2016 household based renter fraction in District of Columbia was at its highest level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: District of Columbia, US

Fraction of renters in District of Columbia

History of District of Columbia Renter Fraction

Date US District of Columbia
2016 36.88% 60.75%
2015 36.97% 60.06%
2014 36.90% 59.44%
2013 36.50% 59.32%
2012 36.09% 58.49%
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.