The Rent Is Too Damn High

Or, if you prefer, affordable housing is now an upper-middle class problem. Not a gentry class problem, but definitely one for the upper-middle class. Consider the median D.C. household income–which is pretty good compared to many places!–of $77,686. Affordable housing, commonly defined as thirty percent of your pre-tax income, would be $1,942/month. There are very few places near mass transit that cost that ‘little’ in D.C.; overall, one bedroom apartments cost $2,220 and two bedrooms cost $2,810, a ten percent increase in one year (these are medians). And that is household income: if you need a two-bed apartment with kids, well, then, you’re pretty much screwed. If you live somewhere far away from mass transit, then you need to own a car, and that adds hundreds of dollars of expenses per month.

If you need two bedrooms, the median D.C. livable income is $112,400. There are places that are cheaper, but most of them aren’t near mass transit and require a car. I’ve never been a dogmatic YIMBY, but we desperately need more housing in D.C.–and more extensive and better mass transit.

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2 Responses to The Rent Is Too Damn High

  1. This is true EVERYWHERE.

  2. Adam Eran says:

    The real problem here is low real estate taxes. See realestate4ransom.com for an informative video. Executive summary: The financial sector loves to see rising real estate prices because they skim off that rise in profits. Taxing land prevents land speculators from holding land off the market, raising those prices. That’s right. Taxes make real estate cheaper. Please, tell the people in California, land of proposition 13…

    Meanwhile: Luxembourg just announced transit is now free (yet another MMT possibility)

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