Our Stories

Desperately Seeking Non-Luxury Development in DC

An apartment-hunter “drowning” in listings for luxury rentals posed a question to DC’s NPR radio affiliate: Are any developers in the DC area making non-luxury housing? The answer is a qualified “yes,” and LISC DC’s Ramon Jacobson offers insight into the complexity, and imperative, of building affordable housing in the nation’s capital, where one in five tenant households is severely rent burdened.

The excerpt below is from:
Why There Isn’t More Affordable Housing In The D.C. Area
By Ally Schweitzer, WAMU

When Troy Holley was looking for a new place in the D.C. region, he found himself drowning in listings for luxury apartments.

“I was kind of amazed that you couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t ‘luxury’ in the title,” says Holley. Even buildings that didn’t seem especially high-end were marketed as “luxury,” with rents grazing $3,000 for one-bedroom apartments.

“I was just kind of shocked,” he says.

So Holley turned to WAMU for an explanation. In a question submitted to the station’s “What’s With Washington?” project, the Arlington resident asks, “Are any developers in the D.C. area making non-luxury apartments?”

The simplest answer? Yes. But there’s a big caveat: They’re not building anywhere near enough.

That’s not a result of sheer greed or government complicity, however. The main issue is that a lot of people want to live in the Washington region, there isn’t enough housing for everyone, and demand is driving up real-estate values. That affects people at every level of the housing market — from developers to everyday apartment seekers.

And right now, no local jurisdiction is doing enough to fix the problem.

Continue to full story [+]...