Though D.C. has been crowned the choice destination for 20-somethings, a Washington Post article points out that the rising cost of living in the District is actually leading to an exodus of people still in their 20s or just out of them who can no longer afford to live there:
The most recent city data show that while the median age of those moving into the District is about 26, the median age of those migrating out is 29. Of the 59,000 people who left the District in 2012, about 44 percent ranged from 20 to 34 years old. Those leaving were likely to be college-educated and have an income above $50,000.
The Post article introduces John Van Zandt, 35, and his 31-year-old wife, Florencia Fuensalida. In their younger days, they were able to spend more freely, but D.C.'s cost of living rose with their age. Insisting he and his wife are "not victims," Van Zandt—who moved to D.C. at 25, followed Fuensalida to Chile in 2007, then moved back to D.C. in 2010—still feels the crunch.
"Sometimes, I feel like I get what [the homeless] are going through," he told the Post. "But then a pregnant mom comes into my office for help because she’s been sleeping on a park bench. It puts things into perspective."
The Post really put it into perspective: "[Van Zandt's] generation has helped foster the city’s prosperity, but increasingly he feels left out of it." It's a tough pill to swallow.
So although some young people (if you read my recent essay, you know I don't like the m-word) are moving to D.C. after landing high-paying jobs and, in turn, paying ridiculous sums of money to rent the plethora of new luxury (i.e., "expensive") apartments being erected at astonishing rates, there are many the same age who are being forced out because their jobs don't pay as much and they lack the means to live lavishly.
Grant Montgomery, senior vice president and director of apartment practice for real estate research group Delta Associates, cut right to the chase. "I hate to say it, but the facts show that the D.C. market is for people who are single and relatively affluent." But the "relatively affluent" seem to be unaware that they're being bent over when it comes to cost of living. The District's affordable housing issue impacts everyone.
What's happening, unfortunately, is that D.C. is becoming more of a transient city. Some move there for career reasons, stay a few years, then leave for the very same reasons. Others move because they have no choice, their finances depleted by a market that's becoming increasingly unfriendly to the middle class.
Either way, this is what the "new D.C." is becoming, and it's concerning.
[via Washington Post]
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