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2016 Will Be Big For Affordable Housing In DC


DC’s personal income is inching to $50B, yet far more people rent than own. And it’s going to be a big year for affordable housing in DC. Those are some of the facts gleaned from the Economic Intelligence Dashboard released by the Department of Planning and Economic Development.

We talked with Andrew Trueblood, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Chief of Staff, and his team about some of the most significant trends in DC.

Bisnow: DC residents have $50B in personal income. What do you make of that?

Andrew: The economic health of the District, in general, is moving in all good directions. Unemployment is moving down, income and population are moving up. DC’s personal income has been growing at a faster rate than the overall US.


Bisnow: But population was almost 800,000 in the mid-'60s and now it’s around 670,000. Will it ever get back to 800,000?

Andrew: Population, according to the Census numbers for 2015, is the highest it’s been since 1977. Our population forecast estimate shows us getting back to 800,000 in the mid- to late 2020s. How we can accommodate both new residents and ensure long-term residents stay in the District at the same time is an important policy focus for the mayor.


Bisnow: More people are renting than buying in the District. Is that a concern or a normal trend for cities?

Andrew: In urban areas, especially high-cost areas, you see higher rental-to-ownership rates. Those numbers in isolation are not a concern. We’re trying to make sure there are housing options whether people want to own or rent. 


Bisnow: Looks like 2016 will be a big year for affordable housing projects. What’s pushing those projects forward?

Andrew: The mayor. We’ve seen a number of tangible steps, including a $100M budget for affordable housing, the establishment of a preservation strike force and a new top-notch team at the Department of Housing and Community Development. Over 10,000 units will lose their affordability by 2020, so it’s not just about creating more but also preserving.