Accommodation in Washington DC

Washington DC offers a variety of high-quality housing options; however, the actual city limits are considerably smaller than most expect and many expats who move to Washington DC end up living in neighbouring Virginia or Maryland. These nearby states generally offer better options for suburban family living and for cheaper accommodation.

Many neighbourhoods in Washington DC are full of students attending the assortment of nearby universities, or young professionals who have recently moved to the city to start their working life. Residential family homes are usually found farther out of the city centre, and vary in terms of quality and price, depending on their neighbourhood and proximity to public transport.

Because property becomes more expensive closer to the city centre, commute times via car are long and accommodation near public transportation routes, such as the bus or metro lines, is highly sought-after.

Property prices and rent in Washington DC are among the most expensive in the country, and will likely be the largest monthly expense for expats planning to relocate there.

Types of accommodation in Washington DC


Apartments are the most common type of housing in the city and range from single-room studio apartments to luxury multi-bedroom lofts and penthouses. Rent will naturally vary according to size and location, with the more expensive apartments being closer to the city centre. Practically all apartment buildings are equipped with modern facilities and amenities.


Another option for expats looking to rent in Washington DC are townhouses, which are cheaper than single-family homes but also generally have separate entrances and multiple storeys. These are often historical Victorian homes built in a row along one street, hence they are also referred to as rowhouses.

Single-family houses

Single-family houses are fully detached residences which may be best suited for a full family, as they normally include a garden and are located away from the city centre. Despite being predominantly in the suburbs, single-family detached houses are particularly expensive. It is therefore advised that expats realistically asses their housing budget before making any commitments.

Finding housing in Washington DC

Due to limited space in the city, expats are advised to begin the search for accommodation as early as possible. Knowing one’s price range and desired accommodation type is essential as it will clarify the search and simplify the decision-making process. It is worth considering factors such as space requirements, amenities and proximity to shopping hubs, public transport and schools.

Expats may want to find a local real estate agent who understands the local area and can help identify a home suited to their requirements. If considering living in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs, expats should keep in mind that agents require separate licences to work in different states. It may therefore be necessary to employ several realtors to scout the surrounding areas thoroughly.

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