“For years, the D.C. rental market has been best known for fast-rising rents – but it looks like that might finally be changing.”

via apartments.com

From an email:

“For years, the D.C. rental market has been best known for fast-rising rents – but it looks like that might finally be changing.

According to the inaugural D.C. Rental Market Snapshot, released today by Apartments.com, the balance of power in D.C. is beginning to tip in renters’ favor. Here are a few of the reasons why:

Inventory is way up. A recent surge in supply – owed to the development of 15,500 new apartment units in Washington last year – has led to rents rising by just 1.4 percent from July 2014 to July 2015. That’s significantly less than the national average increase of 3.9 percent.

There’s a “flight to quality” happening in the market. Property owners are loading up on attractive amenities like rooftop pools, dog-washing stations and private theaters to make their units stand out in a crowded market. That means renters are finding themselves with more (and better) amenities than ever before.

Renters can score valuable incentives from buildings trying to lease-up. While move-in incentives are drying up in a lot of markets, D.C. renters can still find buildings that will offer as much as two months of free rent for new lessees.

Renters have a menu of neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own unique market dynamics. Up-and-coming neighborhoods like Shaw, the H Street Corridor and Navy Yard are filling up fast, with vacancy rates dropping 5 percent since last year.”

97 Comment

  • So instead of fast-rising rents, DC will now have extremely high but somewhat more slowly-rising rents. Woooo, bully for us!!

    • I know, right? Rents creeping up slowly from their current (extremely inflated) rates is not the same thing as paying less rent.

    • I thought the same thing. They are rising slowly in most places because everything is maxed out with such a high price. The places where its still at the higher numbers are the newly gentrifying areas.

    • Hahaha, that was my thought too!

    • In what universe do you expect rents to actually go down?

      • The universe in about 5 years where there are so many “luxury” buildings in DC that they literally cannot fill their units and are FORCED to lower the rents.

        • If that were true then NY would be overrun with cheap rental units. Prices are not going down unless you move out to the suburbs and do the hour long train ride in. But then again if you look at the map, southern PG County had a large increase in rent. So maybe the cheap luxury rental train has left the station.

          In other words, rents are not going to go down unless the economy crashes. Oh wait it did and they still went up in D.C. Oh well, time to bug your boss for that raise.

          • Yes and No. The DC/region market survived because it was growing so much. But at that time, there were fewer major projects. There’s more and more inventory – granted at price points that maybe don’t match-up with what would be typical – but that didn’t exist back then. Also, I would not compare DC to Manhattan at all. Absurd prices go well outside of Manhattan – much further than you have in DC. You can buy a decently priced house in a decent area within the Metro system. You cannot do that in NYC.

          • SouthwestDC

            Sure you can. My sister and her husband bought a renovated single family house a few years ago in the NYC metro region, for less than $300k. It’s in a safe, pleasant walkable community where you don’t need a car (it’s a ten minute walk to the train station), and it’s in a good school district. I can’t think of a location in the DC metro area where you can get all that for that price. At best you might be in a place where it’s not a terribly long drive to the metro/VRE/MARC station, but that’s a lot different than being able to walk to it and other things.

        • Yeah, not gonna happen. Landlords aren’t in the business of lowering rent. Rates will stay the same and there will be some vacancies.

  • This was predicted a few years ago and may not be a bad thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with housing becoming more affordable.

    Also, if the crime rate continues on its current trajectory, there will be some big bargains in some areas!

    • This doesn’t say that housing is more affordable. it just says that rents aren’t rising as fast. It actually implies that rent is rather high since the influx of new units is amenity heavy.

      • It’s about INFLATION.

        If rents stay the same or go up slightly, they’re essentially going down when compared against inflation. They’re never going to actually go down unless the economy falls apart, which would probably be bad for everyone.

    • Not only predicted years ago, but seen in the data earlier this summer.
      From the mouth of a managing director with the real estate research firm CoStar Group in June: “Now, Houston and Washington, D.C., have way too much construction relative to growth…” http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/02/real_estate/rising-rent-prices/index.html

  • This leads me to ask- how big is the rental market for row homes (3bdr +) in D.C? It always seems like roommates/group homes, vs families grabbing up row homes. For the families on here that rent- are you in a rowhouse or apartment/condo?

    • One of the reason’s we ended up buying last year was because of how hard it was to find 3 bedroom rentals. With the addition of a new baby we needed to find a larger place but were finding that our options were limited to either a slightly larger 2 bedroom apartment or a really expensive 3 bedroom row house that was pretty far out and both were hard to find. Most rows are priced so young professionals can live in a group house (cheap for individuals in a group but to expensive for 1 family) and most apartments are either 1 or 2 bedrooms and too small for a family.

    • It’s usually roommates because families cannot afford the $3500-5000 a month that most 3 bedrooms rent for here.

      • How is that possible? Then who’s buying rowhomes then if its an affordability issue?

        • HaileUnlikely

          People with astronomical incomes, equity from a previous home, and people with other magical funds from elsewhere.

        • In my experience? Usually couples where each person is making 6 figures. There are quite a lot of them here. Lawyers, consultants, doctors, etc. Also, most people aren’t paying $3500-5000/mo on their mortgage. If you can manage the down payment, buying is often cheaper than renting.

          • Big if, if my fiance and I want to buy a house, I pretty much have to sell my condo to have us put a decent chunk as a down payment (that includes her share). Otherwise you’re screwed, PMI, high mortgage payments, etc. Very difficult to come up with 100K like that, but like you said lawyers and consultants seem to be doing that with ease.

          • the DC Government has a generous assistance program for the down payment for first-time buyers in the District.

          • SouthwestDC

            Our mortgage is on the lower end of that scale, but neither of us make 6 figures. We did have the advantage of being able to live in Annandale with cheap rent while we saved for the downpayment (the downside was having to live in Annandale for 4 years).

          • @domrep

            PMI is hardly the same as “screwed.” So many people I speak with insist that you need 100k to put down on a 500k house (20%). Nonsense. First, you can get an FHA loan and put down as low as 3.5%. Yes, you will pay for mortgage insurance (not PMI, but similar), which isn’t ideal but shouldn’t be a showstopper if you’re paying out the nose in rent!

            Alternatively, if you can manage 10% down, which is much more reasonable for most people (figure a young professional making 60-70k/yr in this city can sock away 10-15k/yr. Over 5 years, that’s 50-75k, enough for 10% down on a 500-750k house. With 10% down, you can either pay PMI or have it wrapped into the loan.

          • Sort of agree with dat. I didn’t put down 20%. I paid PMI and refinanced once my equity hit 20%. It didn’t take long, and the few grand I spent on PMI was much less than I extra amount I would have paid for the house had I waited to save 20%, especially when you consider the tax benefits of owning (worth at least $300-400/mo for most people buying a SFH here). On the other hand, I wouldn’t do FHA. Way too costly, and I think they changed the terms recently so that it’s even more costly than it was 3-4 years ago.

          • FHA costly because of the fees, or just the mandatory insurance? We didn’t find that to be the case, but maybe it depends on the lender. True, the mortgage insurance is a burden, but we were able to get out from under that with a refi in < 2 years (bought right after the bubble burst and into a neighborhood that had not quite gentrified yet, so we saw pretty rapid appreciation in the short term). My understanding is that the mortgage insurance rules are much more strict for FHA now which makes it less of a deal than it once was. For somebody with < 5% to put down, though, it was a great opportunity to get into a house. I don't even want to know what our current rent situation would be with a growing family.

          • Agree with Eponymous. I bought in North Petworth seven years ago and decided to pay for the PMI versus put 20% down. It ended up being about $200 a month, which I just got taken off by reaching 20% equity. It was well worth it considering what I paid for house (<$400K) and what property is going for now. If I waited, I would have paid that money and more in house price and the mortgage interest that goes with it.

            As a side note, my house is for rent now (moved for work) – well below this $3500-5K estimate if there are interested families….downside, spike in violence and crime is noticeable. The neighborhood has regressed crime-wise from where it was 2-3 years ago.

          • Anon V2 – at least when I looked at it, there was an upfront premium (1.75%, which is massive on a the average D.C. house) and an annual premium. Overall much more expensive than the conventional loan + PMI that I went with.
            Aside from the cost, the D.C. market is so competitive that going FHA can mean that you lose out in a multiple offer situation. It’s a great program in a lot of circumstances, but people should seriously consider the downsides.

        • I own a 3 bedroom and bought about 2 years ago. My monthly mortgage payment does not even come close to 3500 much less 5000. I feel like a ~4k monthly payment is for something priced at 800k-900k, no?

          • Kathryn, thats debatable. I went through them, at least the ones my realtor and I knew and the only one that made sense was no property taxes for the first five years. That was the one with the least amount of strings attached.

          • HaileUnlikely

            For somebody with a 20% down payment. A $650K house with a 5% down payment will work out to a total escrow payment of just a hair under $4K/mo after after figuring in PMI, taxes, and insurance.

          • Two things: I bought a 4 BR rowhouse a year ago and put down 20%. My monthly mortgage is closer to $2K than $3K and I get to deduct the interest and property taxes every year.

            Another thing this map doesn’t tell you is the quality of the apartments. If someone is renting out a crappy apartment they might have 100% vacancy rate.

          • Someone is giving you essentially free money or a great deal, of course, strings will be attached. The down payment requires you to stay for 5 yrs or pay it back and maybe a class for first timers. That doesn’t sound too bad to me.

        • SouthwestDC

          Also I think a lot of us are a lot more willing to spend more on mortgage than rent. If we’d rented a house for that much we wouldn’t have gained $50k/year in equity, and probably would have been subjected to rent increases along the way.

          • HaileUnlikely

            It dismays me how many couples are willing to accept a scenario in which both of their salaries are absolutely necessary to cover monthly expenses. Not saying that you are one of those couples…but people lose jobs, get injured and can’t work for an extended period, and generally, sh!t happens. I am not proud to say this but that is how I got my house (i.e., circumstances changed for previous owner and house was foreclosed)

          • SouthwestDC

            Couldn’t this happen to a single person too, though? It’s not like we don’t have savings to cover us for a while.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Of course it could, and again, I don’t mean you personally. But I know lots of individuals and couples with substantial incomes who would be in real trouble real quick if one or two paychecks didn’t come.

          • SouthwestDC

            Given how rare foreclosures are in DC (especially west of the river) I don’t think it happens very often.

          • Yes, but any couple can split up, and half do, and then one becomes single. So the logic of your theory would be that someone should never take a mortgage. Think about it, think thru what you are saying.
            You might say, the single person can get a roommate. But so can a couple, and many do. It is how some afford to buy a house.

          • I am with Haile on this. My wife and I must be very risk adverse. I can’t ever taking on a mortgage payment that is more than a weeks pay. If I had 300K for a down payment, I would probably get something all cash in a cheaper area.

          • In place with high housing prices, this strategy only works for the very well paid anyway.

            And if you are counting on a partner’s income, that’s taking a risk by definition, that you will remain together.

            Life is all about risk.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Taken to the extreme, sure, any household of any size can set their limit at a threshold that is significantly less than their present maximum ability to pay. I bought a house when I was single, and yes, there of course was the risk that I would lose my job or become unable to work and thus lose my house. I tried to minimize that risk to the extent I could by buying something inexpensive enough that I would be able to accept a new job with a substantial lower salary than I now enjoy if I absolutely had to. My point was just that I think it is insane that some people rely on having at least their current level of income, or more, at all times with no interruption, to be able to pay their bills, and I think that is insane. Again, not saying that is the case with anyone here – I have no knowledge of the financial situation of anyone here.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Anon 12:56 – Agreed completely. Most of my comments here relate to the question up above “Then who’s buying rowhomes then if its an affordability issue?” My knee-jerk reaction was “rich people,” but later comments also led me to realize that there is another group – people who are willing to accept a level of risk that blows my mind. (I basically won the lottery in finding an unrenovated duplex a few years ago and being able to buy it through a special program without competition from developers. I’d have no trouble getting a loan for a $500K house, but I’d sooner light my hair on fire than sign on for that level of risk. I’d need basically my full income to cover that, and I guess I’m more risk averse than many here)

          • But that would mean, all other things being equal, that the couple should live together in the same size property that they would if they were single. Many couples do just fine in a 1 bedroom apartment or studio, but if you have the means to do it why not upgrade to a 2 bedroom or rowhouse and give yourselves a little more room? Especially if you think you might want to start a family someday?
            If shit happens and you’re not willing to sell right away you can always rent out a room. There’s also the option of renting out the whole place and renting something cheaper for yourselves. And of course you’ll have no problem selling the place if it comes to that.
            Really, owners in DC have so many options that they should never end up having to default on the mortgage.

          • SouthwestDC

            I guess the moral of the story is that it’s risky for couples to have a two-income mortgage if they are completely inflexible in the face of a crisis. If you insist on staying in the house, alone, until the bitter end, then you could end up in trouble if one person’s not working for a long time.
            We’ve rented a room in our house for extra income and it wasn’t bad, so I could see us doing that again if we needed to cover half the mortgage. If we’d bought a place that cost half as it would probably be a condo, and we might even be restricted from renting it out at all.

          • I own a Rowhome and for 6 months of the year i rent our spare rooms to interns, which covers my mortgage for the other 6 months where its just me. I dont want or need a full time roommate so this works out perfect for me.

  • Isn’t this the rental equivalent of the realtors telling us how RIGHT NOW just so happens to be the greatest time time to buy in history? The more people who feel like renting is a good financial move, the better off apartments.com and their ad customers are…

    It’s hard to avoid the clear conflict…

    • It will always a case by case basis. There are many rational arguments for renting, even for those in solid financial situations.

    • +1. Apartments.com isn’t exactly a neutral source.

      • Yeah, although I don’t think there’s any evidence, in this case, that they’re cooking their numbers. Delta Associates and other sources of local rental prices also show the pace of rent increases shrinking somewhat.

    • Listening to real estate people of any kind is usually anyone’s first mistake.

  • They’ve been saying this for years. Years of 10%+ on top of 10%+ rental increases.

  • Good. This will help stabilize rents.

  • west_egg

    “D.C. renters can still find buildings that will offer as much as two months of free rent for new lessees”
    Just watch out for the sticker shock when your lease renews. No incentive + base rate increase = skyrocketing monthly rent.
    And what about people who don’t need “amenities” like a pool or a gym they’ll never use? I’d rather have a well-built apartment with walls that aren’t paper thin, but the market seems to prefer STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES!!! instead.

    • Developers prefer it certainly, but I think many people would be happy with more class b rentals. I would love a gym, but I chose cheap and effective over amenities and went with an apt in a house.

    • I’m probably an outlier, but I’m much happier in my conveniently located, rent-controlled, one hundred year old apartment than I was in my stainless steel, rooftop pool, I hear EVERYTHING my neighbors do super chic (along with super 8% rent increases each year) apartment.

      • You’re not an outlier. That’s what everyone wants, but it’s not what is being built, so people are forced to pay extra for “luxury” nonsense they don’t really want.

      • Same here. I left the fancy high rise to a 100 yr old building in oh so not cool Cleveland park. Zero amenities but I have great hardwood floors, and foot thick plaster walls and nice radiator heat. And it’s “cheap”. And I love it.

        • Yeah, if you’re willing to live in Cleveland Park or Arlington there’s a lot of basic old apartments. Of course, the trade-off for a lot of us would be a really crappy commute!

          • Ding ding ding! I’m willing to pay more to live in my stainless-steel-and-thin-walls cookie cutter apartment because the time I save actually living in my fun(ish) and walkable neighborhood outweighs the time I would sacrifice in commuting. Will I be keeping my eyes open for something different now that I’m a bit more familiar with where I live, work, and want to be? yes. But for now, this works.

        • JD, I think you’re overlooking what is perhaps Cleveland Park’s most significant amenity — “safety.”
          And obviously it depends on where you work, but Cleveland Park is hardly comparable to Arlington when it comes to commuting. If you worked in the Farragut North/Farragut West area, it would be a pretty good commute. Or if you worked close to any Red Line station (assuming that the Red Line was actually working).

          • Yeah, CP is convenient for lawyers who tend to work on the western side of the city. Of course they’re the last people that need cheap rent. I think commuting from Arlington would be easier for most people (especially since most of the jobs are in VA not DC).

          • There are a lot of government jobs in the District (although in my experience, more are on the Blue/Orange/Silver Lines than directly on the Red Line). The one person among my acquaintance who lives in Cleveland Park is a federal employee — hardly a rich private-sector lawyer.

          • Safety yes. The other day I left my car window rolled down overnight….no theft. As for commute, CP is great. I work in Bethesda and my GF works downtown. It’s about 10 minutes for both of us. I think if you work on the Hill, CP is not the best commute.

  • There is a downside to this as well…pay increases in D.C. are linked to housing price increases. So don’t expect this to be a big win for renters. Companies will no longer justify 10% pay increases as they were able to do so in the past.

    Also if landlords can no longer increase revenue, they may pull rental units from the market and let them sit un-occupied to compensate and correct the action. This already happens in New York. We may also see many landlords sell their units if they cannot increase the rent. Who needs the headache of renting out your place if you can’t make money on it. It’s a business after all, not a charity for renters.

    • What? The next owner would be just as likely to rent out. I don’t understand the economic intuition here…

      Also, that may be true for some, but I don’t know many employers who link raises that closely to shelter inflation.

      • There’s intrinsic value to homeownership that might lead people to buy rather than rent if rents are low.
        That said, I own a condo that I don’t really “profit” from; the rent just about covers costs with maybe a tiny cushion that gets wiped out periodically by a repair. But I still hold onto it because I build equity for doing relatively little, because I have great tenants and hopefully will continue to do so.

        • “Building equity” is making money. You don’t have cash in your pocket but it’s contributing to your net worth.

        • Your are hardly building much equity by paying your mortgage. What are are hoping is that prices will go up over time, so that you’ll get a chunk of instant equity that way.

          • But if you rent it out for at least your mortgage payment and a some small amount above that to cover emergencies, you are essentially building equity. The risk, however, is that tenants damage properties over time. So you hope that the prices rise dramatically to compensate.

            For example, many landlords bought row houses in Columbia Heights for around $200K-$300K five years ago when the area was “up and coming”. Those properties were rented for anywhere between $2500-4500. Now the real profit comes when the landlord decides to exit that business (each home is a business in itself and has an exit period). On average those homes may now be worth $650K-$800K.

            The only time the cycle doesn’t work in D.C. is when you have trashy tenants that literally turn the house into a crack or whore house (or both). Then the property may turn into a gut job and all equity squashed.

            In some areas, it is worth purchasing a property and pulling it off the market to just sit and grow equity. There was a famous dentist that did that all over Columbia Heights.

          • “For example, many landlords bought row houses in Columbia Heights for around $200K-$300K five years ago when the area was ‘up and coming’. ”
            I suspect you weren’t house-hunting five years ago. I was, and although I wasn’t looking at shells, I think even a shell in Columbia Heights would’ve been more than that.

    • Who’s giving 10% pay increases? I think 3% is pretty common these days–I get less than that.

      As a housing provider, it’s much better to get some money for my rentals than no money. I learned this while fishing for high rent after a tenant moved out. It’s much better to get a tenant for $X than to forfeit a month of rent fishing for $X+200. Utility bills don’t stop. Nor does mortgage, taxes, insurance.

      I don’t think there will be many DC housing providers leaving rentals empty because it’s not worth the trouble of finding and keeping tenants.

      • Of course it is easy to find tenants. However tenants cause damage and depreciation to a place. Every 3 years you are expected to paint. Every 5 years you are expected to renovate a kitchen. So if the rent doesn’t increase to cover those costs which rise more than rents, the landlords might actually feel the need to just let the place sit and wait for another shortage or sell it outright and roll the equity into a more expensive home with higher rent increases. The typical buyer of a former rental is not going to turn it into a rental. They will renovate it and live in it for 3-5 years before selling or renting it. So there is a loss of rental units. Of course we are talking about row houses and not the cookie cutter high-rise condos that are overtaking the city.

        And if you are not getting an 8-10% salary increase in this area, start looking around for another job. All the big medical firms and the associations usually provide that level of increase to combat cost of living in this area.

        • “And if you are not getting an 8-10% salary increase in this area, start looking around for another job. All the big medical firms and the associations usually provide that level of increase to combat cost of living in this area.”
          Um, that has not been my experience. At all. But hey, I’ll take your word for it.

        • just lauging at the last part of your comment…seriously, if you arent getting 8-10% find another job? Hah.

        • “The associations”? Which associations are those? The only people I know pulling 8-10%+ raises each year (as opposed to jumps accompanying occasional promotions) are biglaw associates. And that only lasts for a few years early on in your career – then you’re often told you’re not on the partner track and any subsequent job is likely to involve a huge pay cut. If you have a job where you can expect this, you’re very, very lucky.

    • Who’s giving out 10% pay raises? I have a resume.

  • The line about the number of units added in the last year is misleading — we’re still adding far fewer units than the amount of people who have moved to/into DC over the last few years. There won’t be a meaningful change in pricing unless that changes.

    • +1
      As an economist and strategy consultant LOVE that you brought up the importance of marginal analysis

    • Actually, the number of people moving into DC is dropping and yet residential construction permits are at a 10 year high.

  • This is precisely the reason for why I don’t understand people who are against more density and more pop-ups/higher building heights in this city. The more density that is allowed in neighborhoods, the cheaper the rent will become and the more it will attract business’ to come to neighborhoods who want to profit from all the people living there. Hell, if there were greater density in the neighborhoods the cost of a freakin’ meal in this town might be less than $15 for once! I feel like greater density would create more diversity of incomes living side-by-side.

    • Because that’s not how it works in real life, or how it has worked in D.C. I’m in favor of more density because I think it makes for a better city. But I don’t think there’s any evidence it makes neighborhoods more affordable. Neighborhoods densify, more businesses move in, the neighborhood becomes trendy, demand for units increases, prices rise. Sure there’s probably some point where supply exceeds demand, but if Manhattan can’t get there by building 84-story buildings (yes, I know they’re luxury class – but it should drive down prices in older and less posh buildings right?), D.C. never will.

      • It’s one thing to attract people to move to DC, and quite another to successfully accommodate them once they’re here. I’m primarily against building up and building much more because the infrastructure is not growing to accommodate that much of an influx of people. The roads aren’t getting any wider. We’re not getting enough new parking to keep up with residential growth. And Metro can barely keep up with the demand we have now, much less do so safely. Unless we start operating like a major city and get serious about developing capacity and operating more efficiently in those arenas, handling that much growth is going to be a pretty miserable for all of us.

      • Well one thing that can be said for the point you are making (about NY) is that the cost of living in NY is actually lower than DC. General day to day costs are cheaper up in NY because of the shear number of people living there. There is a larger middle class in that city. Sure lots of folks can’t afford Manhattan, but they may be able to afford another borough like Queens. When you have the larger tax base, the money can be spread out better to pay for more infrastructure. Grant as people say that’s only if they manage it well, but the people here should demand they manage it well.

        • which “general day-to-day” costs are you talking about that are cheaper in NY than they are in Suitland, or Langley Park, or other neighborhoods in the DC area that are comparable to the affordable parts of Queens?

  • I see from this chart rents all over DC still rising 4 to greater than 8% a year, every year. That’s still a steep rise, to me. It may be slower, but it isn’t sustainable for most people. I’ve never stayed long term in a rental that rose that fast.

    I’ve never had a rental that rose that fast. Renting from individuals who aren’t trying to maximize their rent by managing increases every year, but who would rather keep a good tenant who takes care of the place and pays on time each month, is the way to avoid rent sticker shock. They raise it to market rate when the tenant moves on, with smaller raises in between.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I think you are misreading the chart. The numbers shown in the chart that appears above without clicking through to the article are vacancy rates, not increases in rents. Increases in rents are shown in another chart that you have to click through to see, and are shown in dollars not percents.

  • Build more, and eventually rents level off. The key is to keep building more or fall behind demand again. Right now demand and supply are keeping up with each other.
    Hopefully with at least four major projects in the pipeline this will stabalize even further (Walter Reed, Retirement home, sand filtration plant, and the place were forman mills is now on rhode island). The only way rental housing costs stabilize is through development.

    • Wrong! We can stabilize housing costs by banning pop-ups.

      • Banning pop-ups is not going to stabilize housing costs. Stop your fear talk of taller houses. We need more development and larger developments. Rates will continue to raise every year (as long as the market keeps getting better) deemed by what is appropriate from the city and DC Department of Housing. You know people can also dig down underneath a house and excavate for more floors too right??

  • The one or two months free deals are great – but only if you’re looking to stay in a place for a year. It cracks me up how absurdly expensive some places are. In places like Alexandria that offer these deals – after the 1/2 months free, the rent is still $1600/month for a small one bedroom. Without that deal, you’re paying almost $1900/month! So basically they’re just overcharging then offering these sweet sounding deals, then making the money back on people who don’t feel like moving who bleed their money until they are financially forced to move. Not to mention a lot of the places sit fairly empty.

  • Some credit unions offer great mortgage products, some even have 0% percent down payment options and no PMI. Granted you purchase a property within your means (esp. since no down payment = higher monthly mortgage), buying is completely doable. I was able to take advantage of a loan like this, without having boat-loads of money saved up. I don’t know if this is accessible for everyone, but it’s worth investigating.

    My mortgage for my one bedroom condo is not much more than the rent I paid for my studio apt. For me, ownership feels good, as there is no middleman telling me I have to move, raising my rent, or being a douche about repairs. I would rather have control of these circumstances, but that’s just what feels right for me.

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