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 $1,570 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Washington was $1,569 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 Washington median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

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 (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%
Washington, DC Median Gross Rent $1,570 -0.19% +5.44%

Washington, DC Real Gross Rent Trends

Median gross rent for Washington peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,573 and is now $3 (0.19%) lower. Average gross rent for Washington peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,582 and is now $13 (0.82%) lower.

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
2016 $981 $1,376 $1,570 $1,569
2015 $972 $1,436 $1,573 $1,582
2014 $942 $1,371 $1,538 $1,555
2013 $910 $1,314 $1,489 $1,521
2012 $898 $1,255 $1,447 $1,481
2011 $898 $1,254
2010 $912 $1,278
2009 $916 $1,153
2008 $932 $1,144
2007 $885 $1,048
2006 $895 $1,072
2005 $869 $993

Washington 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 Washington District of Columbia was 4.95% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Washington 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%
Washington, DC 4.95% +0.38% -0.19%

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 0.22% to 4.95%. Data records for this series originated in 2012. From a 2015 post peak low of 4.57%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 0.38%.

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
2016 5.89% 6.86% 4.95%
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 19.66% in 2016 according to the ACS.

Washington 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%
Washington, DC 19.66% -0.32% -0.06%

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 0.41% to 19.66%.

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
2016 20.43% 21.87% 19.66%
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 2016 37.58% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Washington 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%
Washington, DC 37.58% -0.17% +0.27%

Trends in the Washington, DC Renter Fraction

The Washington household renter fraction peaked in in 2015 at 37.75% and is now 0.17% below that 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
2016 36.88% 60.75% 37.58%
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.