Like many large metropolitan areas, the Washington D.C. region faces a housing supply crunch. From 2010 to 2016, the population grew roughly twice as fast as the number of housing units, according to Census Bureau data. Basic economics tells us that when demand increases and the quantity of supply does not keep up, prices have to rise. And indeed they have: median home values increased by about five percent annually during that time, and median rents increased by more than two percent annually. But citywide numbers conceal wide variation in neighborhood housing markets. Some of the District’s neighborhoods have seen construction booms with thousands of newly built high-rise apartments and condominiums, while other neighborhoods have added virtually no housing in several decades.
In this article, I explore where new housing construction and home renovations occurred across District neighborhoods from 2008 to 2015. Using building permit data from the city’s open data website, I map residential permits for new construction, additions, and alterations. The analysis asks where housing supply expanded – and where supply should have expanded, but didn’t.