2012 BAH: more in line with the average housing costs in the Washington, DC Metro Area
The yearly publication of the new BAH rates are always highly anticipated. The BAH rates for 2012 were released mid-December and reflect an increase of 2% across the board.
Local rents, average utility costs and renter's insurance are the factors the BAH is based on - the emphasis is on local, thus the BAH varies greatly across the country. It takes some getting used to if you PCS from a high cost area to a low cost area and see your BAH decrease substantially - but it's all put into perspective when you start house hunting and see how much more affordable rent/housing is.
On the other hand moving to a high cost area can be quite the culture shock. The Washington, DC Metro Area is such an example and average housing costs can seem overwhelming at first. The 2012 rates are great news for everyone stationed here as many will be enjoying a large increase! The average BAH is increasing by almost 10% compared to the 2011 rates!
Personally the increase resulted in a happy dance in my household since we haven't seen one of this magnitude the whole time we've been stationed at WRNNMC Bethesda, formerly NNMC Bethesda. As a matter of fact, I can't remember a noticeable increase during the last 7 years ...
Here are a few examples of the 2012 BAH rates for the Washington, DC Metro Area in comparison to 2011:
and for Fort Meade 20755:
increase not quite as large, decrease for some pay grades w/dependents
(*) I'm sorry I can't share the good news with you. I'm not sure why these rates have been adjusted downwards, good rentals are in high demand and can fly off the market and/or attract multiple applications.
Fortunately, the BAH for troops already stationed at Fort Meade is protected and cannot be reduced due to the individual rate protection.
For the most part the 2012 BAH rates for the Greater Capitol Region - WRNMMC Bethesda/NSA Bethesda & Fort Meade are more in line with the average housing costs.