After permitting 4,956 new housing units in 2015, D.C. closed out the year with a record high for permits since the Census started keeping track in 1980 says John Ricco in a post on Greater Greater Washington. That's 7.5 housing units per 1,000 residents, and may be contributing to slowing or possibly declining rent growth.
Federal government job growth has recovered and young professionals are favoring urban housing environments, which has caused D.C. to see an uptick in new residential building. A majority of the permits were for larger multifamily buildings, and were issued primarily in neighborhoods like Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront, where the area is less developed.
D.C.'s rate matches or exceeds the rates of most comparable coastal cities: Boston (also 7.5), Portland (7.1), New York (6.6, an outlier driven by regulatory uncertainly for the usually low-growth city), San Diego (4.5), San Francisco (4.3), and Los Angeles (4.1). It easily surpassed cities with lower-than-average job growth, like Philadelphia (2.4) and Chicago (2.1). And DC was out-produced by growth-happy Seattle (17.0), Denver (12.0), and Austin (11.0).