News & Politics  |  Real Estate

This Is the Ridiculous Amount of Money You Need to Make to Afford Renting in DC

A new study says it takes a six-figure salary to comfortably swing a two-bedroom.

Photograph via iStock.

Washingtonians know all too well how expensive it is to live here. But here’s another reminder: if you want to comfortably afford a 2-bedroom apartment in DC, you (and whomever you’re sharing an apartment with) need to make a combined $108,300 annually, according to a new study by personal finance website SmartAsset.

How, exactly, was this hefty number calculated? It’s based on the average rent for a two-bedroom rental in DC, which RentCafe says clocked in at $2,527 in June 2018, about the same amount it cost last year. To afford this roughly $30,300 annual rent without being “cost-burdened”—meaning more than 30 percent of your hard-earned money is going toward housing, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development—you and your partner would have to make around $108,300. That number, which assumes you’re spending 28 percent of your income on rent, is up from $103,543 in 2017.

Six figures is a lot, especially considering that the median household income for DC renters was less than half that—$49,113— in 2016, according to a Census Bureau estimate. Still, five other large cities are even pricier than DC: San Francisco nabbed first place with a required income of $187,800, with New York, Boston, San Jose, and Los Angeles all clocking in above the District. (SmartAsset also exclusively analyzed data from the 25 largest cities in the US, which excludes costly but small metropolitan areas like Honolulu.)

If you’re penny-pinching for rent, the study says you’re not alone: based on 2016 census data, slightly more than 45 percent of Washingtonian renters are cost-burdened right along with you.

Editorial Fellow