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“The Commodore” apartments in Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

There’s more evidence that Arlington is an expensive place to live.

The county has moved to No. 7 on a list of the priciest rental markets in the country, up from No. 10 last year.

Rental website Zumper just released its latest National Rent Report, and Arlington outranks even D.C. for median one-bedroom rent prices among the 100 U.S. cities and localities studied. D.C. remained more expensive for two-bedroom units, however.

In Arlington, according to Zumper, the median one-bedroom apartment is $2,330/mo, up 2.2% year over year, while the median two-bedroom apartment is $2,980/mo, up 1% year over year.

The county bucked a national trend of falling rents this month. The District, by comparison, had its one- and two-bedroom rents fall by 1.7% and 4.4% year over year, respectively.

“February marks the 5th continuous month of either flat or negative monthly changes for the national rent index,” Zumper noted. “One-bedrooms decreased 0.9% to $1,482, while two-bedrooms dropped 0.5% to $1,837.”

“While many Sun Belt and Intermountain markets are seeing rents fall due to new supply, the national rates are being stabilized by the rent hikes in low supplied Midwest and Northeast cities, where rents have climbed upwards of 20%,” the website wrote.

Feb. 2024 rent infographic (courtesy Zumper)
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Apartment buildings that make up The Highlands development (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington is “most desired city by renters” in the United States for the second month in a row, according to a rental website.

From RentCafe.com’s August Rental Activity Report:

Arlington, VA, is August’s most sought-after city by renters looking for an apartment for rent on RentCafe.com, the same as last month. Apartment listings in the city attracted a significantly higher number of engagements compared to this time last year.

Specifically, traffic on Arlington listing pages more than doubled year-over-year, while renters favorited 72% more apartments and saved 38% more personalized searches. This continued (and growing) interest from apartment seekers in Arlington listings also helped the city keep its top spot for another month.

Arlington was followed on the top of the list by a trio of midwestern cities: Kansas City, Minneapolis and Cincinnati. Neighboring D.C. ranked No. 15, falling two spots.

The popularity comes at a cost, however. One- and two-bedroom rents were up 6% year-over-year as of May, according to a report from another rental website, Zumper, which ranked Arlington County as the 10th priciest rental market in the U.S.

At least some of that rising demand is being met by new development. Large apartment projects are underway or planned in neighborhoods including Pentagon City, Crystal City and Courthouse.

August 2023 rental activity rankings (via RentCafe.com)
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The RiverHouse apartments in Pentagon City (staff photo)

Arlington has the tenth-highest rent in the United States, according to a new report.

Rental website Zumper compiled median one-bedroom rents in localities across the U.S. and Arlington is No. 10 on the list. The good news, though, is that the county moved down a spot, after neighboring D.C. moved up to No. 9.

New York City is No. 1 on the list, meanwhile, followed by Jersey City — a frequent ranking rival (and doppelganger?) of Arlington — and San Francisco.

Arlington’s drop in the rankings may be a sign that the creation of new rental units is keeping pace with demand for housing in the area, we’re told.

“The price of one bedroom units in Arlington remained flat at $2,390 last month, while two bedroom units increased 0.3% to $3,130,” Zumper PR manager Crystal Chen noted to ARLnow.

“Arlington did drop a spot in our rankings to become 10th. However, that seems more to do with D.C.’s rent on the rise since Arlington had a stable month for both one and two-bedroom rents,” Chen continued. “Arlington overall seems to have a fairly balanced market as the year-over-year changes for both bedroom types are within 3%. This should signal that the available stock is meeting the current demand there.”

Nationally, Zumper says it is unlikely that rents will fall anytime soon.

“Though price increases have slowed dramatically, we don’t expect to see rents decrease anytime soon. In reality, prices are still correcting after astronomical pandemic-era rent hikes,” Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades said. “Renters hate uncertainty, and many are putting off moves until they’re more confident in the economy.”

July 2023 rental rankings (via Zumper)
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The owner of garden apartments on the edge of the Fairlington neighborhood nabbed $46.6 million in federal loans to help keep the units affordable and fund upgrades.

Over the last two years, Standard Communities, which owns Park Shirlington (4510 31st Street S.), has been amassing funding — including from Arlington County — to keep the nearly 300 units on site affordable to people earning up to 60% of the area median income, while funding renovations and new construction work.

Last week, commercial real estate company Walker & Dunlop announced it had helped the company nab the $46.6 million in federal funds, on top of $31.9 million in loans from the Arlington County Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

With the new federal loans, it is able to keep the units affordable at least through 2053, according to the announcement.

“Transitioning Park Shirlington from market rate to committed affordable housing was an ambitious but critical objective given the affordable housing landscape in Arlington and many other high-opportunity locations,” said Scott Alter, the co-founder, and principal of Standard Communities, in a statement.

“Standard Communities is proud to have successfully worked with so many other committed stakeholders to ensure that Park Shirlington provides nearly 300 high-quality, affordable housing units for decades to come,” he continued.

Chris Rumul, the leader of Walker & Dunlop’s Federal Housing Administration team, says the availability of affordable housing is a national concern but this complex “is an excellent example of how the federal government, local municipalities, and private investors can collaborate to be part of the solution.”

Arlington County has already done its part, loaning some $31.9 million from its Affordable Housing Investment Fund over the course of 2021 and 2022. This included a $6 million loan that helped Standard Communities purchase the property in 2017, preventing market-rate developers from taking it over and building more expensive housing.

With the new funding, renovation and construction work could start this August, an employee at Park Shirlington said this afternoon, adding that tenants would be notified once renovations begin.

The work was initially predicted to start soon after the close of county financing last fall and wrap up in 2024.

The property owner proposes to build new community center with a co-working space and management office. It will renovate 293 existing units and turn the leasing office into a 294th unit.

The renovations include new kitchens and bathrooms, new boilers and chillers, rooftop solar panels, a new community building with a fitness center, hallway upgrades and exterior work, according to a 2022 report from Arlington County.

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The RiverHouse apartments at 1111 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City (staff photo)

Arlington is the tenth priciest market for rental housing in the United States, according to an updated set of rankings.

Rental website Zumper released its latest national rent report, which lists Arlington at No. 10 and neighboring D.C. at No. 9. New York City tops the list.

Zumber notes that Arlington rent grew at a faster pace over the past month than the national median, though its place in the rankings held steady.

“Zumper’s National Index showed one-bedrooms increasing 0.6% to $1,504, while two-bedrooms rose 0.8% to $1,856 in May. Both bedroom types are up about 6% year-over-year,” a spokesperson told ARLnow. “The price of one bedroom units in Arlington increased 1.3% to $2,300 last month, while two bedroom units grew 2.6% to $3,100.”

On a year-over-year basis, median one- and two-bedroom rents in Arlington are up 4.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this month.

Continued rent growth in Arlington contrasts with the falling rents earlier in the pandemic.

The report, meanwhile, notes that some less-expensive interior U.S. cities — like Columbus, Ohio and Colorado Springs — are seeing a surge in rental interest from those moving from more expensive coastal areas of the country.

Top 10 markets for median rental prices in May 2023 (via Zumper)
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Sunset over Park Shirlington (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

A proposed apartment renovation project in Shirlington could receive an additional $2.6 million in loans from the county.

Tomorrow (Saturday), the Arlington County Board is set to review a proposal increasing the size of an existing loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) for renovations to the Park Shirlington Apartments, a 1950s-era, garden-style complex with 293 units along 31st Street S., on the edge of the Fairlington neighborhood.

The loan under consideration would bring the total amount Arlington is lending to the property owner, Standard Communities, to $31.9 million. This number includes a $22.8 million loan approved last summer, an existing $6 million loan used to assist Standard Communities with the purchase of the property in 2017, and a more than half-million dollar deposit.

The owner intends to set the renovated units aside as committed affordable units to people making 60% of the area median income (AMI) for 75 years.

Pending County Board approval, renovations could begin this fall and be completed in 2024.

The “extensive” planned work includes new kitchens and bathrooms, new boilers and chillers, rooftop solar panels, a new community building with a fitness center, hallway upgrades and exterior work, according to a draft report outlining the project.

The current leasing office will be converted into a two-bedroom apartment, and the leasing and management office will move to the new community building.

Renovations will take approximately three weeks per unit, and approximately 10 units will be under renovation at a time.

Park Shirlington Apartments is nearly at-capacity, with only two vacant apartments as of March, according to a report outlining the renovation and relocation process.

Standard Communities says it’s taking several steps to minimize disruptions for tenants who stay and to assist tenants who earn too much to remain.

“Residents will be allowed to remain at the property during renovations,” said Erika Moore, a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development. “Residents would temporarily relocate from their current unit, with all of their furniture and belongings, into a vacant ‘hospitality’ unit, which would be comparable to their current apartment.”

Standard Communities will provide residents with boxes and packing materials and a renovation coordinator will “schedule, coordinate, and supervise the moving of their packed belongings and furniture from their home to the hospitality unit and then back again using a licensed, bonded and insured professional moving company,” Moore said.

The owner will also arrange for packing and unpacking assistance for elderly residents and residents with disabilities, as well as “any other reasonable accommodation requests,” she added.

But an estimated 40 households will have to relocate, as they earn over 60% of the AMI. For an individual, that’s $59,820 a year.

A family of four living on 60% AMI ($85,380) and living in a 3-bedroom apartment would still meet the federal government’s definition of “rent burdened,” paying slightly more than 30% of their income on rent.

They will receive four-month notices and moving cost assistance, according to the relocation report.

Under the new threshold, rents would be $1,602 for a 1-bedroom, $1,921 for a 2-bedroom and $2,220 for a 3-bedroom apartment.

Arlington County was initially planning to buy and build up part of the property with a partner developer, Washington Business Journal previously reported, but that plan was eventually scrapped.

The county assisted Standard Communities with the acquisition in 2017 to prevent market-rate developers from taking it over, according to the draft county report. The owner then converted the complex to committed affordable housing for people making up to 80% AMI.

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Morning Notes

A rainbow in the sky without the rain (photo courtesy Leslie Koch)

Saturday Afternoon’s Painted Sky — From the Capital Weather Gang: “A couple more nice examples of this circumhorizon arc being see all over the DMV. We wrote about these a few years ago… not uncommon high in the sky around midday during summer.” [Twitter]

Local Woman Harassed in Metro Station — “A 21-year-old woman is sharing the frightening experience she had when a stranger yelled at and harassed her for 10-straight minutes at a Metro station this week in Washington, D.C. Helen Molteni, of Arlington, Virginia, said she was on the platform at the Foggy Bottom station when a man came up to her and started harassing her.” [NBC 4]

Va. Attorney General Visits — “Virginia’s attorney general met with local nonprofit groups in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday for a roundtable listening session about addressing poverty and community needs… Miyares was joined by representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and the Arlington County police in sitting down with members of various faith organizations and nonprofit programs, including Arlington Bridge Builders, a local community coalition with the mission of helping people in need.” [WTOP]

APS Students Top National Competition — “Lina Barclay and Ellie Nix, two Arlington Tech graduates from the Arlington Career Center, won the first-place gold medal in the Television (Video) Production contest at the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference and SkillsUSA Championships in Atlanta. Barclay and Nix represented Virginia in this contest and competed against 37 other teams across the United States.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Are These Pike Apartments Historic? — “Members of the Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) have opted against moving forward, for now, on a proposal to confer historic-district status on a 70-year-old apartment compound in the Arlington Mill neighborhood. But the buildings may end up preserved, nonetheless.” [Sun Gazette]

Rents Keep Rising Rapidly — “The median rental price for an Arlington apartment grew 2.8 percent from June to July, according to new data, ranking the county third nationally among the 100 largest urban areas in terms of price growth. With the increase, Arlington’s median rent now stands at $2,121 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,538 for two bedrooms.” [Sun Gazette]

Crash at Infamous I-395 Exit — From Dave Statter: “Another considerate driver signals before making a left turn across 4 lanes of I-395S. But their #8CDash came to an abrupt halt when the driver in the last lane somehow didn’t see that signal — or just didn’t believe what they were seeing.” [Twitter]

Office to Apartment Conversions Ramp Up — “‘There really hasn’t been a time like right now, where office is on the decline to the point that [an empty building] is basically the same value as just the land,’ says Lindsay Stroud, a structured-finance broker with the commercial real-estate firm Savills. One possible solution: more office-to-residential conversions like Park & Ford.” [Washingtonian]

It’s August 1 — Partly cloudy throughout the day, with spotty rain possible later. High of 86 and low of 72. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:21 pm. [Weather.gov]

Photo courtesy Leslie Koch

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Morning Notes

Lightning over Cherrydale last night (photo courtesy Kennedy Combs)

‘Missing Middle’ Fight Heats Up — “The topic of housing wasn’t even on the agenda for lawmakers in Arlington County, but residents streamed into one recent meeting with a sea of posters to express their dueling views on the issue… That raucous meeting offered a taste of what promises to be one of the most contentious political battles in recent memory in Arlington: a proposal to legalize ‘missing middle’ housing — from townhouses to duplexes to eight-unit buildings — that many are treating as an existential debate over the future of this affluent, deep-blue Northern Virginia suburb.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Has Priciest Local Rent — New data shows that the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in Arlington is the highest in the region, after rising 5% month over month to $2,310/mo. [Zumper]

Video: A Ride in the RainUpdated at 9:20 a.m. — “Was just past the White House on Constitution Ave heading… towards Arlington when I got pummeled by rain.” [YouTube]

Videos: Stormy Evening — Videos posted to Twitter show the strong wind and the spectacular lightning from yesterday evening’s storm. [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Dog park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington Rents Continue to Rise — “Apartment rents in Arlington keep on moving upward, maintaining their position as most expensive in the D.C. area and are now well above pre-pandemic rates, according to new data. With a median rental of $2,063 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,469 for two bedrooms, Arlington’s rental rate grew a whopping 2.8 percent from May to June, the sixth highest increase among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]

Local Group Donating Thousands of Socks — “The Nursing Professional Development Council at VHC Health decided to have a ‘Sock Hop’ – not a dance party but a sock collection benefiting ‘Doorways,’ an Arlington non-profit helping people out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal was set at 1,940 pairs – 1940 was the year the Sock Hop started but the generous nurses and staff at VHC Health tripled that number. It’s the biggest sock donation the group has ever received.” [WJLA]

Dems Resuming Breakfasts — “In another sign that life is getting back to normal(ish) – or at least adopting a ‘live with COVID’ practicality – the Arlington County Democratic Committee is resurrecting its monthly in-person breakfasts. The return engagement – the first since early 2020 – will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and others will discuss gun issues.” [Sun Gazette]

Cleanup Event Saturday Morning — “WalkArlington & BikeArlington partner to clean up a part of the W&OD Trail on Saturday, July 9. We will make our way down the W&OD, starting near the Barcroft Community Center, setting up our tent on the W&OD Trail at the intersection of a small road named ‘Barcroft Center’ and Four Mile Run Drive. We will pick up trash that accumulates alongside the trail. We will provide trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, drinks and some snacks. We will also have Bike and Walk giveaways.” [WalkArlington]

Metro Seeking Feedback on EFC Project — “Metro is seeking public input on the proposed bus loop expansion and pedestrian improvements at East Falls Church Station.  The station currently has four bus bays that are operating at maximum capacity. In coordination with Metro, Arlington County seeks to expand the footprint of the existing bus loop, upgrade the existing bus shelters, and add three bus bays with shelters at the station.” [WMATA]

Flood Watch This Afternoon — “Multiple rounds of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and tonight. The most likely time period for thunderstorms producing heavy rain and potential flash flooding is this evening, but thunderstorms could develop as early as this afternoon, and may linger well into the night. Several inches of rain is possible in a short period of time, which would cause rapid rises of water.” [National Weather Service]

It’s Wednesday — Heavy rain starting in the afternoon. High of 86 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

“DMV” painted in Ukrainian colors in Arlington Ridge (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Rent Keeps Going Up — “Arlington’s median apartment-rental rate remains highest in the metropolitan area and has fully rebounded from dropoffs during the early part of COVID, according to new data. With a median rental rate of $1,999 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,391 for two bedrooms in May, Arlington’s average rental… is now up just under 13 percent year-over-year.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Making Much Multifamily — From a spokesperson, about a new set of national rankings: “Multi-family units authorized in Arlington increased by 1,095.8% — a total addition of 2,838 units — between 2020 and 2021. Out of all midsize cities, Arlington experienced the 5th largest increase in multi-family home construction.” [Construction Coverage]

Group Decries Missing Middle ‘D-Day’ — From WAMU’s Ally Schweitzer: “With Arlington expected to enact zoning reforms allowing denser housing in more nabes, the group [Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future] is ramping up its rhetoric in opposition. The group’s latest blast calls the expected vote day ‘D-Day.’ They’ve said the county is ‘declaring war’ on single-family nabes.” [Twitter]

Parking Removed for Transitway Extension — From the National Landing BID: “Parking lanes along Crystal Drive and 12th Street South will be closed to make way for the Transitway Extension Project beginning Wednesday, June 15, 2022.” [Twitter]

Pedestrian Struck in Bluemont — From Dave Statter last night: “Report of a pedestrian struck at Wilson Blvd & George Mason Dr. Appears to be a bicyclist. There was also bicyclist struck last week a block away. @ArlingtonVaFD & @ArlingtonVaPD handling.” [Twitter]

Amazon Buys HQ2 Phase 2 Site — “Amazon.com Inc. has acquired the roughly 11 vacant acres in Pentagon City that will soon be developed as PenPlace, the massive second phase of HQ2. The $198 million deal with JBG Smith, as expected, follows Arlington County’s late April approval of PenPlace, a nearly 3.3 million-square-foot project slated to include three traditional office buildings, a spiral Helix tower, three retail pavilions, a central park and an underground parking garage.” [Washington Business Journal]

Environmental Finding on HQ2 Site — “Crude oil particles have been found in the soil at Amazon.com Inc.’s PenPlace, the site of the second phase of its second headquarters buildout in Arlington County, per a public notice published Monday in The Washington Post… The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality conducted a risk assessment for the particles, finding that the amount poses ‘no material risk to current or future site occupants,’ according to the notice.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day with some rain possible. High of 76 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Construction scaffolding in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Bye, Bye Bank Building — “A new residential development is on the boards for Columbia Pike. Marcus Partners filed plans late last week with Arlington County for a new 250-unit residential development at the site of the Bank of America office building at 3401 Columbia Pike. The six-story building will have ground floor retail, a central courtyard and 287 parking spaces on 2.5 below grade levels.” [UrbanTurf]

It’s Official: No Caucus — From Blue Virginia: “The @arlingtondems announce that their School Board Endorsement Vote process is canceled, as there is only one candidate (Bethany Zecher Sutton) left after the other withdrew.” [Twitter]

Rents Still Rising — “The median Arlington apartment rent in April was up 16.8 percent from a year before, the third highest growth rate among the nation’s 100 large urban areas, according to new data. The median monthly rental for an apartment in the county last month was $1,999 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,420 for two bedrooms, according to data reported by Apartment List.” [Sun Gazette]

Truck Crash Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Just happened. 3rd crash in as many days on I-395S at Exit 8C/Rt 1. It appears the red car didn’t stop & no other cars struck. @VSPPIO has all lanes open.” [Twitter]

Protest Outside DEA HQ in Pentagon City — “I’m outside DEA headquarters in Arlington, where protests have gathered to draw attention to terminally ill patients’ rights to try experimental drugs like psilocybin.” [Twitter, The Hill]

WaPo Reporter Rappels Down Hotel — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [Washington Post]

Boeing HQ May Draw More Companies — “Even without a sizable addition of jobs or expansion, Northern Virginia landing another major corporate headquarters has strategic ‘marketing value,’ Terry Clower, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, said in an interview. The presence of a headquarters attracts the attention of other corporations, as well as site-selection consultants who advise companies where to locate new facilities. ‘Nothing draws a crowd like a lot of people,’ Clower said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro: Ridership Rebounding — “Metro ridership is outpacing projections through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022 by nearly 40 percent. Through March, ridership has exceeded the initial forecast by 28 million passenger trips as more people chose bus and rail for travel throughout the region. Metrobus leads the way, accounting for 60 percent of overall Metro ridership, compared to about 40 percent for rail.” [WMATA]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

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