Monday, November 15, 2010

Will New Staffers Have a Place to Live?

Apparently this is not a new conversation.


Photo courtesy of UrbanTurf.com
As UrbanTurf reviews, each election cycle brings questions about how the influx of staffers will affect DC's real estate market. This year, according to Lydia DePillis (CityPaper, The Housing Complex), we can expect to see as many as 2,500 new staffers coming to the area. Washington Post's Al Kamen (who estimates about 2,000) has a more detailed breakdown here.

DePillis' article concludes that these new staffers won't significantly affect the market, as per the real estate professionals she approached. However, I think these experts are discounting how tight DC's rental market has become. Granted, some existing staffers will leave DC. But I think such a high number of new residents is going to overwhelm DC's already stretched supply of rental units.

UrbanTurf draws a similarly pessimistic conclusion. They cite an instance of an owner receiving a whopping 50-60 applications for a Mount Pleasant "group rental" house. And, as one of their own writers recently shared , finding an apartment along the 16th street corridor seems virtually impossible. As UrbanTurf cites,vacancy levels in some neighborhood's have already dipped as low as 2.5%.

Why such a difficult rental market? DC's job market has remained brisk, if not booming, but developers' economic woes have slowed the pace of new development. Construction has picked up recently, especially in areas like H street, NOMA and Shaw. But the majority of these projects won't be finished until 2012...i.e. not in time for the influx of new renters.

So, good luck to those incoming staffers and interns--finding an apartment will not be easy!

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