City Cast

What DC Rent Used to Cost

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on October 3
Sedgwick Gardens advertisement

Sedgwick Gardens advertisement – September 24, 1939. (Ghosts of DC)

No matter your budget, it’s hard not to have a complete breakdown when looking at rental prices these days. But was it always this bad? We did a little digging and, well, I think I’d rather have lived in the 1930s.

Sedgwick Gardens:

A large antique-y apartment building in Cleveland Park close to the National Zoo and the Metro.

Then: In 1939, a one-bedroom apartment went for $55 a month. If we adjust that for inflation, that would be $1,214 today.

Now: A one-bedroom in the exact same building runs from $2000 - $2500 a month.

Park Meridian advertisement – May 30, 1966 (Ghosts of DC)

Park Meridian advertisement – May 30, 1966 (Ghosts of DC)

Park Meridian:

This large apartment complex sits above Malcolm X Park in Columbia Heights.

Then: It’s hard to say if a “one-bedroom luxury studio” is what we would consider a studio apartment or a proper one-bedroom. Either way the rent was $135 in 1966. That would calculate to $1,279 in today’s dollars.

Now: A studio there starts at $1700 and a one-bedroom starts at $1,890.

2012 O St. NW – July 3rd, 1932

2012 O St. NW – July 3rd, 1932 (Ghosts of DC)

The Leland:

Located smack dab in the middle of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, the price difference here should be criminal.

Then: In 1932, it was $32 a month for a one-bedroom, that’s $717 today (can you imagine!).

Now: Today, a one-bedroom there starts at $2100. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not just inflation!

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