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Report: D.C. Metro Area Still Needs More Housing

Despite a downtown construction boom, housing is still scarce across the Capital Region. And nearly two-thirds of new homes built since the year 2000 have been single-family structures.
June 1, 2019, 11am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Andrei Medvedev

According to a new report, the greater Washington D.C. region gained almost twice as many people as units of housing over the past 20 years. "Despite the flurry of cranes in downtown Washington," the authors write for Brookings, "the exurban jurisdictions collectively have built more than twice as many housing units as the region's inner core."

Since 2000, almost two-thirds of new homes constructed have been single-family structures, including rowhouses. That has a variety of negative effects, including increased traffic congestion throughout the region and a heavy impact on the environment. 

It's also the case that "housing values in the Capital Region have been rising faster than incomes for most of the last 20 years, with a brief respite during the Great Recession [...] Perhaps not surprisingly, the Capital Region has some of the highest home values relative to income in the country."

Worsening affordability detriments the region's economy as a whole. "Employers in high-cost regions have difficulty attracting and retaining workers, especially younger workers who are more likely to be renters," the authors write. Commuters also lose valuable time stuck in traffic, and low-income households feel the effects first.

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Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Brookings
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