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Housing in the Nation's Capital 2009

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Document date: October 28, 2009
Released online: October 28, 2009

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full report with references in PDF format.


This is the seventh in a series of annual reports about housing in the Washington metropolitan region. It assembles and analyzes the most current data on housing conditions in the District of Columbia and the surrounding suburbs. This year's report focuses on the impact of the foreclosure crisis on the region, examining the level and trends of foreclosures, outlining potential secondary effects for families and neighborhoods, and looking towards the future of the region's housing market. It concludes with policy implications in four areas: foreclosure prevention, neighborhood stabilization, recovery assistance for displaced households, and services for children in foreclosed homes.


This is the seventh in a series of annual reports about housing in the Washington metropolitan region. It assembles and analyzes the most current data on housing conditions and trends in the District of Columbia and the surrounding suburbs. Previous editions have explored a range of topics including housing and services for people with special needs, the links between housing and schools, and the changes in concentrated poverty in the region.

This year’s report focuses on the foreclosure crisis and its effects on both the housing market and the residents of the city and suburban neighborhoods in our region. After years of strong economic and housing market growth in the region, in the past year the number of delinquencies and foreclosures rose quickly, housing prices fell, and the economy slowed. While some areas are relatively unaffected, other neighborhoods have been hit hard, and many households are facing disruptive moves and a tough rental market.

  • Chapter 1 explores how the metropolitan area is faring economically during the national recession, how demographic patterns have shifted, and what the region’s prospects are for the future.
  • Chapter 2 reviews the latest housing market conditions for the region as a whole and how the city and suburban communities have fared comparatively, reviewing home sales volume and sale prices, the rental housing market, and homelessness in the region.
  • Chapter 3 focuses on the direct impact of the foreclosure crisis on the region, including information on delinquency and foreclosure rates, and profiles of minority communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Prince William County, Virginia, that have been hard hit by the crisis.
  • Chapter 4 turns to the ripple effects of the foreclosure crisis. It examines the many vulnerable households, such as renters, families with children, and the elderly, affected by the crisis, and assesses how concentrated foreclosures compound the impact of the crisis on neighborhoods.
  • Chapter 5 highlights strategic opportunities for the Washington, D.C. region to respond to the crisis by using regional resources and partnerships to prevent further foreclosures, stabilize neighborhoods, and help households recover.

In the last three chapters, we present several vignettes based on stories from legal aid organizations and housing counseling agencies that illustrate the challenges facing households in foreclosure and the difficulty in finding solutions to save their homes.

In addition to the information and analysis presented in this volume, a condensed version of the foreclosure analysis in this report, Foreclosures in the Nation’s Capital, along with detailed data tabulations and a technical appendix are available on the Urban Institute web site, http://www.urban.org/center/met/hnc/. The annual Housing in the Nation’s Capital report is now further supplemented by the District of Columbia Housing Monitor, which provides more frequent updates on housing market conditions in the District of Columbia and its wards. Each issue of the Monitor (accessible at http://www.neighborhoodinfodc.org/housing/) provides both standardized market indicators and a special focus section highlighting data on a selected topic.

Finally, a note of explanation about geographic boundaries and definitions: The Washington metropolitan region spans three states and the District of Columbia. For the analysis presented here, we have adopted the federal government’s 2008 definition of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and have defined five major subareas within it (Figure I.1).

Technical Appendix

Appendix Tables

Appendix Table Guide
Appendix A: Population and Household Characteristics
Appendix B: Economic Conditions
Appendix C: Housing Stock and Vacancy
Appendix D: Rental and Subsidized Housing
Appendix E: Homeownership and Home Sales
Appendix F: Foreclosure Outcomes and Trends for the District of Columbia
Appendix G: Technical Issues

(End of excerpt. The full report with references is available in PDF format.)

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Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Cities and Neighborhoods | Housing | Race/Ethnicity/Gender

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