The Cost of Living in the DC Metro Area

Are you considering moving to Washington DC? When you are thinking of moving anywhere, it is important to take into consideration the cost. When thinking of moving to Washington DC, there are plenty of factors to consider, and I’ve outlined a few of them to give you a realistic idea of what the cost of living in the DC Metro area might be like.

There are four main things to consider, the first being real estate. The housing prices here are cheap. It varies wildly all over the area. Won’t be able to find a single family home for under $800,000, and even at that price the house will most likely still need some work. Most houses in the city have gone upwards of a million dollars. As for condos, for a one bedroom you are looking at around $400,000 and for a two bedrooms it is upwards of $800,000 range. The thing with condos though, is that the monthly fees can be killer, so that is something you have to be aware of and watch out for.

What about salaries? Since the cost of living is so high, the salaries must follow right? Wrong. In DC we have a huge income disparity which makes it hard to nail down the “average” income here. We have people who work as interns up on Capitol Hill for as little as $24,000 a year and then government workers who are part of the old pay grade ladder system that can make way up into the six figures.

Thinking DC might be too expensive to live in and Maryland or Virginia might be a bit cheaper? You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that, BUT there are other things to consider…Property taxes! I know, super fun stuff. Virginia property taxes vary by county and city. Depending on the area, taxes can tack an extra $5,000 in costs to your property. In DC, your primary residence is only 86 cents per mill which means that in DC property taxes are much lower and could only add on an extra $3,200. Now for Maryland. In Maryland it also varies from county and city and in certain areas can be as high as $1.30 per mill.

After all this you might be thinking about renting since owning property seems like a pain in the ole a**. A one bedroom apartment goes for around the low $2,000 and rent prices continue to go up. In Maryland and Virginia you will find that rent is a bit cheaper, but it all depends on location!

As far as commuting costs go, it depends on if you are going to want a car. If you plan to live in DC and party, eat shop, etc. in DC, then you probably don’t need a car, but if you need to drop your children off at a school a bit further, drive outwards for work, etc. and are not about taking public transportation, then add on those car expenses. If you decide to take the car route, be sure to pay attention to where you are getting gas. Some places will be prices upwards of $4 and be right across the street from a gas station selling it for half that!

Speaking of schools, that is another cost to take into consideration. Are you going to send your kids to private schools? That’s a personal decision that can add on $40,000 a year. Personally, my children go to public schools and I’m not complaining! As you can see there are certainly a lot of factors to consider when thinking of a move. If you want help discussing your options, let the DC real estate mama take care of you.