When Is Rental Demand in DC the Strongest?

UPDATED NOVEMBER 3, 2017

When can you get top dollar for your rental? When is the fastest absorption of new rental listings? As a landlord or investor, knowing these can help with your market strategy. It’s also useful for tenants.

Seasonal Rental Demand in DC

It’s common knowledge that rentals go quickly in late spring and early summer. That’s when many people relocate to the DC area for new jobs, internships, etc. And it’s much harder to find a tenant in the winter.

I wanted to visualize this seasonal change in demand.

Here’s the graph showing the relative strength of each month. The horizontal line is the average across the data set. You can read more about my methodology in the paragraphs below.

For the most part the graph made sense to me. Summer is the best time to find a tenant.

But what’s with that spike in January? I looked through the raw data and it’s fairly consistent. Rents are higher as well as the number of rented units while days on market remain sluggish. Not sure what to make of it, but something to keep in mind.

Here’re my posts on rental demand in Arlington and rental demand in Alexandria City if you’re curious how they stack up against DC.

How I Came Up with the Demand Graph

I pulled up all successful rental listings in DC going back to 2012. By successful I mean those that found a tenant. I then split up the data month-by-month.

Within that monthly data, I calculated the median for final rented price and days on market. I chose median instead of average because it’s less susceptible to extreme values. For example, some rentals stay on the market for many months. Others are for very high-end properties at correspondingly sky-high prices.

I also totaled the number of successful rentals for each month.

Rental Demand in DC Month by Month

Here’s the data in table format:

2012

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Jan 111 2,400 35
Feb 125 2,295 28
Mar 138 2,100 29
Apr 140 2,150 25
May 184 2,375 22
Jun 188 2,300 21
Jul 180 2,400 20
Aug 186 2,348 22
Sep 125 2,500 35
Oct 148 2,325 37
Nov 110 2,300 36
Dec 101 2,400 33

2013

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Feb 115 2,250 33
Mar 132 2,350 28
Apr 143 2,495 33
May 180 2,425 24
Jun 195 2,600 23
Jul 198 2,500 22
Aug 228 2,245 33
Sep 143 2,300 36
Oct 166 2,225 45
Nov 116 2,316 47
Dec 135 2,100 51

2014

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Jan 181 2,475 51
Feb 152 2,448 38
Mar 148 2,400 34
Apr 186 2,300 27
May 208 2,300 32
Jun 247 2,300 29
Jul 229 2,500 25
Aug 233 2,450 35
Sep 206 2,300 43
Oct 190 2,300 55
Nov 155 2,350 56
Dec 150 2,300 46

2015

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Jan 162 2,500 48
Feb 144 2,150 48
Mar 178 2,398 34
Apr 197 2,400 33
May 249 2,400 29
Jun 265 2,500 29
Jul 248 2,600 27
Aug 223 2,300 30
Sep 187 2,400 32
Oct 202 2,300 46
Nov 165 2,300 55
Dec 138 2,200 50

2016

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Jan 129 2,695 42
Feb 185 2,500 39
Mar 188 2,450 37
Apr 231 2,400 35
May 264 2,500 27
Jun 269 2,300 23
Jul 254 2,675 19
Aug 265 2,495 31
Sep 165 2,450 39
Oct 196 2,200 44
Nov 181 2,400 48
Dec 117 2,500 51

2017

Units Rented Final Monthly Rent Days on Market
Jan 184 2,300 50
Feb 184 2,473 41
Mar 198 2,398 37
Apr 233 2,500 30
May 278 2,700 29
Jun 301 2,500 26

Graphing the Data Out

Being a visual person, I didn’t find the tables that useful to look at. So I decided to rank the data based on the month’s rental strength.

I standardized the data using z-scores, so I can compare apples to apples. I then applied the following weights to each of the three indicators before combining them into a final score.

  • Units Rented: 25%
  • Final Monthly Rent: 50%
  • Days on Market: 25%

That’s how I see it as an investor, but other people could prioritize things differently.

After analyzing the data from January 2012 to July 2015, here’s how the rental demand in DC stacks up on a monthly basis (from best to worst):

1. July
2. June
3. May
4. August
5. April
6. January
7. September
8. March
9. February
10. October
11. November
12. December

Also Check Out

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read about the best times to buy and sell real-estate.

Do You Want This Analysis For a Specific Area?

If you need to see these numbers for another area, type of housing, community, etc., I’ll be happy to run the data for you. Just contact me below:

2 Comments
  1. Pingback: When Is Rental Demand in Arlington the Strongest?

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