A study found Georgetown has the third highest rent for off-campus housing compared to the market-rate rent in the metropolitan area.

Tait Ryssdal is a staff writer for The Hoya.

Georgetown is the third most expensive neighborhood in the country for college students to rent off-campus housing relative to market-rate rent in the Washington, D.C. area, according to a study by HomeUnion.

The average rent in the Georgetown neighborhood is $3,433 per month, 60 percent more than the Washington, D.C. Metro area market-rate rent of $2,145. The two school neighborhoods ranked higher than Georgetown for off-campus housing costs were the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University.

HomeUnion, an online residential real estate investment firm, compiled the list by first calculating the median rent within a two-mile radius of university campuses nationwide, then comparing these rents with averages in the nearest metropolitan area. Colleges with enrollment of 15,000 or higher were included in the study.

Rent costs in the District have skyrocketed relative to those in other cities due to a growing population and limited availability of housing, according to Brian McCabe, associate professor of sociology at Georgetown, whose research has investigated housing policy and urban issues.

“First, the population of D.C. is surging. It has grown tremendously in the last 10 or 15 years, so you have more and more people — and especially young professionals — looking for apartments in the city,” McCabe wrote in an email to The Hoya.

“Second, the supply of housing is constrained by various factors, including zoning restrictions that limit the height and density of buildings,” McCabe wrote. “As a result, you have a general constraint in the supply of housing. Together, these factors — limited supply and growing demand — push rents up.”

Director of the Office of Neighborhood Life Cory Peterson said limited on-campus housing may drive up demand for rentals in the Georgetown neighborhood.

“Knowing that students are only guaranteed three years of housing on campus can create a high demand for private rental properties near campus,” Peterson said. “Additionally, the neighborhoods around the university already have high property values which, in turn, makes rent higher when you purchase a home you intend to rent.”

Peterson said students looking for less expensive housing can consider applying for a fourth year of on-campus living beyond the university-required three years.

“On-campus housing is typically cheaper than living off campus. While not guaranteed housing for four years, students do have the opportunity to apply for housing and often receive housing for their fourth year,” Peterson said.

McCabe said students could consider living outside of the Georgetown neighborhood, or even outside of D.C., though students living far from campus may face their own distinct challenges.

“High-priced neighborhoods are expensive precisely because recent graduates and young professionals want to live there, thereby driving rents up,” McCabe wrote. “Seek out neighborhoods a bit more off the beaten path, check out some neighborhoods outside the city itself.”

Atreya Tadepalli (SFS ’19) said he has been forced to consider options far outside the Georgetown neighborhood for housing he can afford.

“When I first learned of the three-year Georgetown housing requirement, I thought it was ridiculous. But after comparing housing fees on campus to those off campus, I cannot say that outside housing is an automatic option,” Tadepalli said. “The rates have forced me to look even further outside the neighborhood, even into Rosslyn and surrounding areas.”

Georgetown students should not expect greater affordability any time soon, according to Peterson.

“I think rent will continue to trend at its current rate because there will always be a demand for private rental space near the university,” Peterson said.

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  1. Pingback: Georgetown Is Third Most Expensive College Town for Renters, Study Finds – Carlos Smith

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