Washington D.C.’s Rental Property Market is Strong Again

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2022 and earlier 2022 had a severe impact on rental property. According to a report from the Urban Institute (Goodman et al., 2022), renters were especially affected by the global health crisis, particularly those who lived in small, unsubsidized multifamily housing units. Many of these renters also worked in industries that were vulnerable to the crisis and the loss or their jobs. After a year of struggle, the D.C. rental market has rebounded, although lease incentives are less plentiful than in recent months.

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A difficult market

Goodman and his colleagues reported that many areas had tight housing markets even before the global health crisis. Many tenants paid far more than the federal minimum of 30 percent of their income. Land use restrictions and rising construction costs have impacted the availability of homes to rent, especially for those who are renting at a low or moderate rent level. The most affected households since the beginning of the millennium have been those with an annual income of less than &75,000.

Rents on the Uptick again

According to The Washington Post, three months ago, rental demand began rising as workers returned to work or found employment with other metropolitan companies. To take advantage of the lower rental prices, The Post suggests that tenants rent sooner than they think. For example, some companies which used to only show six properties per year are now showing twice as many. Individual homes are in high demand right now, as many employees require more space to work remotely. Mercer’s May 2022 research showed that 70% of companies plan to adopt a hybrid work model. Many companies, including Adobe, Spotify and Twitter, have successfully adapted to this type of work. The 10th Annual Flex Jobs Survey reveals that approximately 97% of Flex Jobs workers want to work remotely. This means that they will need significantly more space than before.

Lease incentives are available at a low price

Tenant inducements are also known as lease incentives. They are a way to get tenants to sign a lease. Tenant improvement allowance (TIA) is one of the most popular incentives. It reimburses tenants for any improvements made to the property. Other benefits include rent-free periods, payment for tenant’s obligations to another lessor and cash payments to tenants when their lease begins.

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In reality, landlords don’t have the opportunity to offer appliances like ovens, washing machines and dishwashers to tenants. Tenants can take steps to lower their appliance repair costs. This includes paying for work per job, instead of an hourly rate, and only paying professionals after the work is completed.

Temporary Perks

Many of the incentives that were offered to tenants during the worst of the pandemic are no more. Some of the perks that were offered to tenants during C19’s peak included 3 months rent reductions, parking discounts, as well as the elimination of any up-front fees for moving into vacant properties. The fact that prices are rising is also logical considering the fact that they dropped by as much as 15% in 2022 makes it seem reasonable. Between January and August 2022, the rental prices increased by around 11 percent. Apartment vacancy rates in Washington fell to less that 5% in August 20221. WTOPNews reported that D.C. rents dropped so quickly in the first months of the pandemic because the rents in this area were so high prior to the pandemic.

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Smart Steps to Take for Tenants

Tenants should not only move fast but also seek out as many benefits as possible from potential landlords. These incentives include free parking and no move-in fees. Ask your landlord if they are willing to waive these fees. You may also be able to pay the cost by instalments. Check all costs when looking for an apartment. This includes background checks and screening fees, deposits and keeping pests away. Negotiate fees such as pet deposits. If the landlord is not flexible, ensure they don’t exceed maximum amounts. Pet deposits, which can be used in the event that your pet causes damage to the property, should not exceed 25% of one month’s rent.

Is buying a better alternative to buying?

DC’s housing market is competitive. This means that one must consider whether they have the budget to buy a luxury home. Interstate home buyers may be surprised at the high price of home purchase. Houzer real estate experts state that the median home sale price in the United States is currently $377,000. This amount is $709,000. In Washington, D.C., however, it is around $377,000. Experts say that buyers who are looking to purchase homes in D.C. suburbs or towns won’t find homes at the same price as what they would be able to afford back home. For a small home, prices can start at $500,000 in areas such as Bethesda or Hyattsville.

Additional reasons to avoid buying

There are many other reasons that buying right now may not be the best choice. D.C. homes can be considered good investments as their value increases fairly regularly. Five years ago, the average home price was just over $550,000. Today, it is over $700,000. These high prices can sometimes be seen as prohibitive by high-end buyers, making it difficult for homes to sell quickly. If you are looking to invest in a D.C. property and live there for a while before flipping it, then consider the newer areas of Anacostia, Deanwood, and Lilyponds. Anacostia is a good example. However, it has a large selection of houses, including modern apartments, Victorian single-family homes, and condominiums.

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As it is in many other urban areas, the demand for rental properties in the D.C. metropolitan area is on the rise. Tenants who wish to sign a lease agreement should do so as the prices will only rise in response to increasing demand. Tenants can reduce their costs by asking landlords for waivers and looking at rental agreements to find hidden fees. Lessees with savings may wonder if this is a good time for them to buy a home. This idea has its downsides, including the high cost of housing in Washington D.C. These homes are perfect for people with higher incomes who plan to flip their house in the near future. If you are looking for a long-term home, then consider Anacostia, Lilyponds or Deanwood. These areas have houses around $200,000 less than the older, more established areas. However, there are many housing options and close amenities.