Our nation’s capital is a mecca for the culturally and politically attuned. Not only is Washington, DC, the seat of some of our country’s most important decisions, it boasts some killer museums and a vibrant community. If you’re looking for the most valuable works of art or simply a new social network, it’s likely just around the corner from you in DC.
This city’s offerings are continually growing. Residents of DC will never run out of exhibits to attend, restaurants to sample, or politicians to hobnob (if that’s your thing). And when it comes to renting in DC, access to all this hubbub may be more affordable than you’d think. Although the capital isn’t always known for its affordability, the reality of the data may surprise you.
Currently, the average rent in Washington, DC is $2,280 for a one-bedroom apartment.1 But averages don’t give you the full picture. Rent prices can change wildly based on each apartment’s size, and location in the city matters, too. Will rent prices go down in 2023? What is a normal rent increase? Let’s break down what to expect if you’re renting in DC.
What is the Average Rent in Washington, DC?
You already know that the average rent in DC is $2,280.1 But that’s a bit of a vague figure. While the rental market in the capital does skew towards the more expensive side, it’s important to consider how it compares to other cities of comparable size.
A move to the nation’s capital is actually much more affordable than many of the other major metropolitan cities in America. Let’s compare DC to other major cities around the country:1
- New York – $3,486
- Los Angeles – $2,310
- San Francisco – $2,921
- Boston – $2,677
While DC may be more expensive than other less populated cities, it ranks fairly well among the top metropolitan areas. That said, the average cost of median rent can range up or down depending on which neighborhood you choose to live in. And while saving money is always a wise goal, it can also be helpful to know whether you’re choosing a neighborhood that will feel like home.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the rental trends of average rent in Washington DC by neighborhood—but also at what those neighborhoods have to offer.
What is the Most Expensive DC Neighborhood in 2023?
In a city known for its population of senators, diplomats, and ambassadors, you can bet that there’s going to be some pricey real estate around town. But what are the most expensive neighborhoods in the city?
Federal Triangle is known as the most expensive neighborhood in DC. The average monthly rent for an apartment there is $3,197.2 But the rental prices make sense when you consider the neighborhood’s attractions.
Federal Triangle is the area of land contained by Constitution Avenue, 15th Street, and (yes) the very famous Pennsylvania Avenue. You may know the neighborhood as the area between the White House and the U.S. Capitol building.
Federal Triangle is sometimes also referred to as “America’s Main Street” and includes such important attractions as:
- The White House Visitor Center
- The National Archives Library
- National Gallery of Art
West End Washington
West End is a paradise for DC’s foodies. The neighborhood is known for having some of the absolute best restaurants in the city. It also boasts a bounty of museums, attractions, and nightlife hotspots. Residents also love the neighborhood’s:
- Easy metro access
- Several Michelin-starred restaurants
- Historic buildings
In order to live in this vibrant part of town, you’ll pay an average monthly rent of $2,885.2
Although the Navy Yard is a historic neighborhood, it is a perfect example of a truly modern place to call home. The neighborhood is brimming with life, thanks to its thriving riverside boardwalk (which often hosts summer concerts) and its plethora of award-winning restaurants and craft breweries.
The neighborhood is known for:
- Nationals Park baseball stadium
- National Museum of the U.S. Navy
- The Yard Park riverside boardwalk
In order to live in proximity to these covetable features, residents of Navy Yard pay an average monthly rent of $2,825.2
What DC Neighborhoods Are the Most Affordable in 2023?
DC isn’t just for the rich and famous. There are plenty of neighborhoods throughout the capital with affordable rent and thriving scenes.
Dupont Circle has become incredibly popular for its mix of culture and affordability. The average rent in the neighborhood is about $2,465 per month.2
Residents of the neighborhood tend to move there for its eclectic mix of art galleries, boutiques, and coffee houses. But Dupont Circle also has an impressive mix of high-class institutions, like:
- Embassy Row
- The Phillips Collection (a modern art museum)
- The National Geographic Museum
The neighborhood is also renowned for its thriving nightlife, array of shopping on Connecticut Avenue, and the convivial feel around the Dupont Circle Fountain.
More than 100 years ago, Columbia Heights was nothing more than a streetcar suburb to DC. Today, it’s a thriving neighborhood all its own, known for its incredible diversity and mouth watering cuisine.
One afternoon in Columbia Heights is like a tour around the world. Residents can take advantage of:
- The Mexican Cultural Institute
- Diverse restaurants
- Speakeasy bars
Average rent in Columbia Heights for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,262 per month.2
What Are the Most Popular DC Neighborhoods in 2023?
In DC, new stores and restaurants are continually popping up in practically every neighborhood. But there are a few neighborhoods where people seem to be flocking with particular ardor—and the following two might show you why.
Known amongst locals as the hippest neighborhood in DC, Shaw is chock full of indie essentials, like:
- Craft cocktail bars
- Beer gardens
- Indie and vintage clothing boutiques
- Global restaurants
The neighborhood is perhaps most famous as the home of the Howard Theatre, where legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington used to perform. Today, the venue hosts the world’s coolest indie acts as they pass through DC.
Average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the trendy neighborhood costs residents about $2,780 per month.2
This historic neighborhood was named for the influx of Chinese immigrants who settled here in the 1930s. Today, it’s home to some of the city’s best southeast Asian restaurants.
When you’re walking around, you’ll notice features like colorful archways that give the neighborhood a distinctly eastern feel. And every Chinese New Year, the neighborhood comes alive with a parade and festivities.
The rest of the year, you’ll be able to enjoy Chinatown’s:
- Capital One Arena
- International restaurants
- Bustling vibe
You’re in the middle of it all in Chinatown. And average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the neighborhood clocks in at $2,780 per month.2
How Common is Renting in DC?
If you’re choosing to rent your home in DC, you’ll be in excellent company. The housing market is broken down as follows:3
- Renters – 57% of households throughout the city are occupied by renters. That would put you in the majority if you chose to rent in DC.
- Homeowners – The remainder of the city (about 43%) owns the home where they live.
Of those 57% of households that are rented in DC, the majority are one-bedroom apartments.3 You’ll likely be able to find something that will fit your living style, whether you prefer kicking it alone or rolling with roommates.
What Are Apartments Like in Washington, DC?
The average apartment in DC is 746 square feet.4 That might be less than you’re used to, if you’re coming from another large metropolitan area.
In a 2020 study from STORAGE Cafe, DC ranked as the third smallest apartments in the country. It only came behind:4
- Seattle – Average of 676 square foot apartments
- New York City – Average of 726 square foot apartments
But shrinking apartment sizes is a fairly common phenomenon for a desirable city. As the real estate editor of STORAGE Cafe, Mirela Mohan, noted, “Apartment size is dictated by supply and demand. There happens to be an uptick in demand because the city registers positive net migration. As a consequence, developers have turned to building smaller units to accommodate more people in desirable neighborhoods.”4
That said, there are other options that can help you make the most of your space (and your rent). If you’re looking for a bit more floor space in your DC apartment, one solution could be coliving. You’ll have your own private bedroom, plus a larger communal space where you can kick up your feet and stretch out. Some coliving options even include shared lounge areas, gyms, and meeting rooms.
Find Your Perfect DC Home with Common
Moving to a new city can be an endeavor, and DC is no exception. But you can make your move much easier with Common. Our DC coliving homes come fully furnished, so you don’t have to spend your first months in DC finding furniture or sleeping on an air mattress.
Plus, every Common home in DC includes:
- Regular professional cleanings of common areas
- A high-end kitchen
- WiFi + Utilities
- Access to community events and app
Depending on your location, your home may also include a finished roof deck, in-unit laundry, and a coworking space.
When you decide to move in, we’ll take care of all the essentials—plus we’ll connect you with other Common renters, many of whom are also new to the city. We have more than 10 different locations in some of DC’s most desirable neighborhoods, like Shaw and Columbia Heights.
Contact us to find out more about Coliving in DC today!
- SmartAsset. Income Needed to Pay Rent in the Largest U.S. Cities – 2022 Edition. https://smartasset.com/data-studies/income-needed-to-pay-rent-in-largest-us-cities-2022
- RentCafe. Average Rent in Washington & Rent Prices by Neighborhood. https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/dc/washington/
- Zumper. Washington, DC Rent Prices. https://www.zumper.com/rent-research/washington-dc
- WTOP News. DC’s incredible shrinking apartments. https://wtop.com/business-finance/2020/09/dcs-incredible-shrinking-apartments/
- Zumper. Zumper National Rent Report. https://www.zumper.com/blog/rental-price-data/