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Is it Still Affordable to Rent in Downtown Washington?

The words ‘affordable’ and ‘downtown Washington’ might be two phrases you’d not readily put together. But if you’re considering moving to this district, it’s essential to find out how much the average rent is here and how expensive the general cost of living is.

Downtown Washington is a fantastic place to call home. With its vibrant neighborhoods, rich history, and excellent opportunities for shopping, eating, and partying, it’s no surprise that this area is a massive draw for singles, couples, and families. But can you afford to live here? We will find out more below. 

What Neighborhoods are in Downtown Washington DC?

Downtown Washington DC
We love downtown Washington DC!

The areas of Washington DC are divided into wards; downtown is in Ward 2 and includes the following neighborhoods, many of which are within Penn Quarter, Chinatown, City Center, and the F Street shopping district:

  • Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Mount Vernon Triangle
  • Mount Vernon Square
  • Shaw
  • Logan Circle
  • North Capitol NW
  • Louisiana Avenue NW
  • Capitol Hill
  • Constitution Avenue NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Federal Triangle

Unfortunately, downtown Washington isn’t as affordable to rent as it was in years gone by. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment, as of 2022, was a hefty $2,604. The national average in the same year was $1,977. Those looking to buy a property in Washington will also find their money won’t go as far as in other cities in the US. The general cost of living, too, has seen a significant increase, in downtown Washington just as nationwide.

Why Rent Prices Have Skyrocketed in Downtown Washington DC

There are several key factors that have contributed to rent prices skyrocketing in Washington, DC, in recent years – all come down to a general issue with supply and demand. Basically, there are more prospective renters competing for fewer available properties. As a direct result, landlords and property managers have been able to be highly selective when it comes to tenants and have steadily raised rental rates.

Why Buying in Downtown Washington DC Might be Better

Buying home in washington DC
Buying might be the better option.

Given the current rent situation in Washington, DC, if you’re on the fence about buying versus renting, you may come down on the side of the former. If you’re in a financial position to do so, buying will give you both security and an asset that will almost certainly increase in value – possibly substantially.  For example, in 2020, the average price of a home in the city was $620,000; in just a year, this had jumped to $709,000. Plus, property taxes are relatively low throughout the city.

More Affordable Options to Rent or Buy

There’s more good news. There are several great neighborhoods in nearby areas of Washington DC that are more affordable and an easy commute to downtown, meaning you can enjoy the best of both worlds. So, where exactly are these relatively affordable areas near the downtown district? Here are the places to check out to find your perfect affordable property to rent or buy:

  • Silver Spring
  • Bethesda
  • Hyattsville
  • Fairfax
  • Annadale
  • Franconia
  • Springfield

How About the General Cost of Living in Downtown Washington?

As with everywhere in the US, the cost of living in downtown Washington has significantly increased in recent years. In fact, as a whole, the city is one of the most expensive places to live (in terms of cost of living) in the entire nation. However, it’s important to remember that this is an average, and the capital and its surroundings will push this average.

But, again, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you’re thinking of renting in downtown Washington, then you’ll be pleased to know that taking out renters insurance in Washington, DC, remains very affordable. And this is something you’ll definitely want to have. Renters insurance protects your stuff and usually provides an element of personal liability insurance. This means you’re covered if someone suffers an accident or injury in your home. It’s important to shop around, though: you may get an even more affordable price for protection.

Downtown (Washington), Everything’s Waiting For You

There’s no denying it: downtown Washington is a great place to live. Vibrant, full of life, diverse, and rich in history and culture, who wouldn’t want to call its neighborhoods home? There’s a fly in the ointment, though: it’s not an affordable place to rent and live.

The great news, however, is that several great neighborhoods very close to the downtown district are much more affordable – just a few miles out, and you could save hundreds of dollars a month on your apartment rental. So, when you’re apartment or home hunting, seek a bit further outside the downtown Washington district to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Let Eng Garcia’s experienced realtors help you find the perfect place to call home. Contact us today!

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