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Living Near Metro Becomes More Affordable Outside DC


DC-area neighborhoods within walking distance to a Metro station have traditionally skewed towards the wealthier side, but for some areas outside of the District, Metro-accessible living has become more affordable.

Inside the District, the income gap between those who live on rail accessible blocks versus those who live on blocks with no rail access continues to grow. But for the five-county area surrounding DC, the gap is beginning to shrink, Greater Greater Washington reports.

For the period of 2006 to 2008, 17.9% of DC residents living near a Metro station earned $100k or more per year, a number that ballooned to 23.2% for the period of 2011 to 2013. Outside the District, 21.3% of residents with easy Metro access exceeded the $100k or more threshold in 2006 to 2008, a number that jumped to 23.5% from 2011 to 2013—an increase, but nowhere near the sizable jump in DC itself.

A good portion of the credit for the relative affordability of metro-accessible housing in other counties goes to smart growth zoning, which has opened up stations in Arlington and Montgomery to new apartment construction, a percentage of which is required to be more affordable. DC has allowed little new construction near Metro in upscale neighborhoods and has lagged behind in the inclusion and implementation of smart growth zoning.

It will be interesting to see which way the income numbers skew in the coming years with a staggering 159M SF of development either underway or in the pipeline, 78% of which is within a half-mile of a Metro station[GGW]