Rent prices increasing as home availability decreases in DC

New numbers show rent is rising in DC after a major decrease during the pandemic. 

When the pandemic began there was a mass exodus from cities and many luxury apartments dropped their rates offering huge incentives for people to move in, but now, people are returning to cities and prices are going back up.

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According to Apartment List, the average dc area rent fell around 15 percent, but since January, it’s risen 11 percent. Not only are prices now much higher, but it’s getting harder to find an apartment. numbers from Apartment List show the vacancy rate in DC is just 5 percent.

FOX 5’s Natalie Rubino spoke with an analyst who says rates are rising higher than they were pre-pandemic and it's possible they’ll keep going up.

"We’ve been seeing really fast rent growth across the country right now," Apartment List Housing Economist Chris Salviati said. "There are a lot of folks looking for apartments and it’s just a really tight market that may be starting to level off but I think we’ll continue to see above-average rent growth at least in the near term."

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And while tenants who got good deals during the pandemic may see their rent increase during the renewal process, fortunately, there are regulations in place here in DC that limit just how much most landlords can up their rent. 

It all depends on the consumer price index. Certain landlords are only allowed to increase rent two percent above that index and that increase cannot exceed 10 percent of the previous rent amount.  

The president of the National Apartment Association who says the best way to prevent and unexpected rent hike is to be proactive and don’t wait until it’s too late to talk with your landlord.

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Don’t wait until you’re 30, 60 days out from renewal. Have a conversation ahead of time. Ask them what’s happening and what they anticipate is going to be going up in terms of renewal," said Bob Pinnegar, President and CEO of the NAA. "And then also look at the market. Look around at similar properties in the area where you want to be and figure out what’s happening with the market. That way you’re going to be a better-informed consumer." 

Analysts say the numbers we’re seeing here in DC are in line with what we’re seeing across the country, including in the surrounding areas of DC like Arlington and Bethesda. 

Part of the uptick also has to do with the housing market. With it being harder to buy an affordable house right now, more people are staying in apartments, which is driving up the demand.