• Twenty-three percent of D.C. renters are "severely rent burdened."

  • Rental rates are expected to rise by 1.8 percent to 2.8 percent this year in the metro.

  • The metro appears to be an ok market for millennial renters.

Of the 11 largest metros in the nation, Washington, D.C. was recently cited as being the least affordable for the typical renter household.

According to a report from New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, 23 percent of DC metro renters were “severely rent burdened” in 2014. The primary reason why: The metro’s median gross rent during the year reached $1,530 – also cited as the highest among the top 11 metros.

When looking at only recently available units during 2014 that figure jumps up to $1,620.

As of 2014, 34 percent of DC metro households were renters. Of those households, 29 percent lease single-family homes. Within the metro’s “central city” region an estimated 57 percent of residents are renters.

In a different report that eyes more recent data, RealtyTrac also pointed to several counties within the metro as overall being some of the least affordable markets for renters nationally.

Last month, roughly half of all metro renters whose lease came due chose to renew. According to MPF Research, renewal rates for rentals in the metro were somewhere between 49.3 percent and 56.1 percent during February.

DC rent in reach for millennials

While RealtyTrac suggest the metro is unaffordable as a whole, it also pointed to three counties that are among the more affordable rental markets for millennials.

These counties include Arlington and Fairfax, along with the district. In each of these markets the firm expects rents to grow by only 1.8 percent this year. This means the average millennial renter will contribute 30.9 percent to 32.6 percent of their monthly income toward housing this year.

Other sources expect rents to climb a bit higher.

In a 2016 multifamily forecast Marcus & Millichap recently predicted that metro-area rents will increase by 2.8 percent this year reaching $1,670.

The firm also expects net absorption of 13,100 rentals this year, which will push the metro’s overall vacancy rate down to four percent. This is good news considering developers will complete nearly 12,000 rental units this year.

Email Erik Pisor

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