Real Estate

New Study: DC Is One of the Worst Cities for Decent-Size, Affordable Apartments

The analysis found that, on average, $1,500 a month rents a 500-square-foot unit.

Downtown DC buildings. Photograph by amedved via iStock/Getty Images Plus.

In news that probably won’t surprise anyone currently on the hunt for an apartment: DC is one of the worst places in the country to find a decent-size unit on a $1,500-a-month budget.

That conclusion comes from a new analysis by apartment-finder site RentCafe, which ranked the District 86th out of the 100 largest U.S. cities based on how much space $1,500 a month rents. In DC, the study found that the sum gets you an average of 500 square feet. In Arlington, $1,500 goes slightly further, yielding a luxurious 548 square feet. (Nonetheless, young renters apparently aren’t deterred—a different study by RentCafe found that Arlington is one of the trendiest places for Gen Z renters.)

The DC suburbs where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck are District Heights (where $1,500 rents an average of 945 square feet); Suitland (902 square feet); and Takoma Park (894 square feet).

In Baltimore—an increasingly popular DC alternative—you’ll get 822 square feet of living space on a $1,500 budget. But nowhere will your money go further than Wichita—there, $1,500 can rent a whopping 1,600 square feet.

Of course, things could be worse. In San Francisco, $1,500 affords 345 square feet; in Boston, you’ll get 340 square feet; and in New York, you’ll have to cram into 262 square feet.

Take a look below at some DC-area apartments available now for around $1,500 a month.

Tivoli Gardens, 1445 Ogden St., NW

Where: Columbia Heights
Price: $1,328 – $1,657
Size: 540 square feet, studio
Notable details: The apartment complex comes with a gym and laundry facility.

Park Greene Apartments, 2641 Shadyside Ave., Suitland

Where: Suitland
Price: $1,479 – $1,695
Size: 992 square feet, two bedroom
Notable details: Apartments have an in-unit washer and dryer, and balconies.

2008 13th St., NW

Where: U Street Corridor
Price: $1,500
Size: 420 square feet, one bedroom
Notable details: You’d have to sacrifice some sunlight living in this basement apartment, but all utilities are included (!) and there’s an in-unit washer and dryer.

Carillon House, 2500 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Where: Glover Park
Price: $1,480
Size: 376 square feet, studio
Notable details: The building has a rooftop deck and a fitness center.

1616 17th Pl., SE

Where: Anacostia
Price: $1,453
Size: 960 square feet, two bedroom
Notable details: It has an in-unit washer and dryer and a dishwasher, and it’s a short distance to the Anacostia Metro station.

River Place, 1021 Arlington Blvd., Unit 537, Arlington

Where: Arlington
Price: $1,497
Size: 400 square feet, studio
Notable details: The apartment complex has plenty of amenities, including a pool, sauna, fitness center, and a convenience store.

David Tran
Editorial Fellow