Coming off a hot 2021 for multifamily performance, Greater Washington, D.C., is once again picking up steam after a seasonal slowdown. Rent growth accelerated during the last quarter, with rates up 0.8 percent on a trailing three-month basis, just 20 basis points below the national figure. On a year-over-year basis, D.C. rates were up 10.0 percent as of May, putting the city in the lower third among major U.S. metros but still way ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
While lagging the national rate of economic recovery, metro D.C. still added 114,500 jobs in the 12 months ending in March, with only one sector—financial activities—losing positions (-3,200). The overall additions accounted for a 3.8 percent rise in employment in one year, trailing the U.S. figure by 90 basis points. Although unemployment was at a tight 3.0 percent as of April, the MSA still has 130,000 fewer people employed than it did at the beginning of 2020.
While the area is not immune to economic turbulence, Greater D.C. remains a high demand-high supply market. Case in point, the metro had 37,345 units under construction as of May, representing the country’s fourth-largest pipeline, even as occupancy improved. Meanwhile, $1.9 billion in rental assets traded across the metro in the first five months of the year, for an average price per unit of $289,545. Per-unit prices have been on the rise for five consecutive years.