Are you looking for a new home in the DC metro area? Depending on the type of home you are looking for - condo or coop versus single family or townhome - and the price range with which you are most comfortable, you may have to adjust your search to a different part of the region.
"State of the Capital Region" is a new report which tracks how residential development post-2000 has impacted pricing and affordability in the greater DC area. An unsurprising finding is that the metropolitan region has added twice as many people as housing units since , ratcheting up the cost of housing.
The report, which was coauthored by the Brookings Institute, looks carefully at the location of the growth in housing starts since 2000, the type of housing being built in various locations and the cost of that housing in comparison with the mean income of the region.
Exurban areas have led the region in housing starts since 2000 with 45 percent. Most of the housing built since 2000 has been in exurban areas, with 45 percent more housing added compared to a 15 percent increase in the urban and suburban areas. Loudoun County, for example, built as much new housing as DC and Arlington County combined. DC proper, meanwhile,leads the urban core (defined as DC, Arlington County and Alexandria) in new housing built.
Land costs dictate the type of housing being built in each part of the region. Since 2000, most of the housing built in DC has been multi-unit construction, while single-family homes represented 70 percent of the new housing built in Prince George's County and 60 percent of the new housing built in Fairfax County. In Montgomery County, development since 2000 has been split pretty evenly between single- and multi-family housing.
Overall, two-thirds of the housing built regionwide, both before 2000 and between 2000-2017, was single-family stock. New housing units in multi-family buildings with more than 50 units were 10 percent of the housing stock before 2000, but 20 percent of housing units built from 2000-2017. In the urban core (DC, Arlington County and Alexandria), more than 80 percent of new housing built since 2000 was in multi-family buildings with at least 50 units.
Because of the disparate distribution and decreased construction of housing stock, affordability has vastly shifted in the region. In 1980, the median home value in the region ($275,000 in 2017 dollars) was 3.7 times the median household income ($70,000 in 2017 dollars); now, the median home value ($415,000) is 4.5 times the median household income ($95,000). In DC proper, the median housing value is nearly 7 times median household income; the ratios in Arlington/Alexandria, Montgomery and Fairfax counties, and Prince George's County are respectively 6:1, 4.5:1, and 3.5:1.