7 Low-Cost D.C. Neighborhoods

Author: Lauren Ross

washington DC

What do you associate with Washington D.C.? For me, I associate it with the federal government, the home of the acting president, and as a city known for its politics, gourmet food and restaurants, historic sites, and museums. It’s synonymous with a fast-paced lifestyle – and you often spend the big bucks just to live there and experience it. Right now, the Washington D.C. average market rent for an apartment is $1,777 per month!

Well, I’m here to tell you that even expensive areas, such as the District of Columbia, have affordable neighborhoods hidden within. Using proprietary February 2019 data from CoStar Group, we’ve compiled a list of seven low-cost neighborhoods in D.C. you should be living in if you’re on a budget.


Pressed up against the river of the same name, nestled on the southeast side of D.C., the neighborhood of Anacostia is rich in history, modern amenities, and affordable rent at an average of $1,198 per month. A great low-cost area immersed in culture, you can experience the neighborhood’s rich history in its historic district and the Anacostia Community Museum.

Frederick Douglass’s home is also full of historic significance, artifacts, and sweeping metro views. Residents of the area enjoy short commutes into the capital on the Green Line from Anacostia Station. On cool mornings and warm afternoons, locals partake in bike rides (it’s very bicycle-friendly) along the Riverwalk Trail, passing through verdant forest and vibrant flower fields. Anacostia Park offers locals and visitors free skating (yes, skate rentals included) as well.

Why You’ll Love Anacostia:

  • 33% cheaper than D.C. market rent
  • Bicycle-friendly community
  • Historic


How would you like to have over 400 acres of green space right off your porch? And no, mowing the grass is not a stipulation for living in the neighborhood. When you reside in Arboretum, your community consists of the U.S. National Arboretum’s walking trails and attractions, such as the Bonsai Museum, Gotelli Conifers, and the National Capitol Columns, a Corinthian-style masterpiece.

While the community is more car-dependent, it’s one of the more beautiful and peaceful places to be in. In addition, you’ll savor great local restaurants and sip delicious ciders at Supreme Cider Brewery. Arboretum is located on the corners of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE, and you’ll be head-over-heels for its affordable lifestyle at an average of $1,414 rent per month.

Why You’ll Love Arboretum:

  • 20% more affordable than D.C. market rent
  • U.S. National Arboretum
  • Peace and beauty 


One of the more matured District neighborhoods, Deanwood has outdoor space and quiet streets that attract renters – as does its $1,047 average rent price. The community is made up of mostly single-family houses and apartments, giving residents the opportunity to have a yard in addition to traditional amenities. With its direct access to the Orange Line and Anacostia Freeway, Deanwood renters appreciate the smooth, quick rides into the capital, Maryland, and Kenilworth Park.

At the park, visitors have over 700 acres of land to explore, which includes gardens and ponds with giant lily pads. While it has something for everyone, Deanwood is ideal for those who prefer a suburban lifestyle but still want to be close to the city nightlife and restaurants.

Why You’ll Love Deanwood:

  • 41% cheaper than D.C. market rent
  • Diverse housing types
  • Easy access to transit

16th Street Heights

16th Street Heights is all about fostering a sense of community. From family-friendly block parties to movie nights and ice cream socials, this Washington D.C. neighborhood is bringing the residents together and doing it consistently throughout the year. It’s also one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, with renovated homes and apartments attracting families – not to mention the easy access to the playground and sports facilities at Rock Creek Park.

Renters living in the area will find most of 16th Street Heights’ businesses and restaurants on Georgia Avenue. We think you’ll love having a variety of rental types in this hot, up-and-coming neighborhood – and you’ll appreciate its low-cost rent at $1,032 per month!

Why You’ll Love 16th Street Heights:

  • 42% more affordable than D.C. market rent
  • A variety of rentals
  • Family-friendly activities


Approximately five miles from Washington D.C. sits the neighborhood of Takoma. Even though it’s on the northern end of the metropolis, locals reap the benefits of convenient access to the Red Line, a plethora of restaurants and shopping, and other comforts. Families love the area as it offers plenty of homes, apartments, and everything in between. You’ll discover many historic buildings like the Takoma Theatre, a city landmark. With tons of parks, restaurants (including many vegetarian and vegan options!), and low-cost rent at an average of $1,650 per month, it’s easy to see why renters are moving to this cool neighborhood in the District.

Why You’ll Love Takoma:

  • 7% cheaper than D.C. market rent
  • Convenient to transit and restaurants
  • Close access to parks

Congress Heights

Congress Heights is an up-and-coming area with an urban lifestyle, near Interstate 295. The neighborhood is a cozy one full of homes, apartments, and a plethora of eateries on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. When you live here, you’re surrounded by parks and modern conveniences. Residents enjoy having an elementary, middle, and high school in their community – plus the Tanger Outlets National Harbor just 10 minutes away! Congress Heights has affordable rent at $1,161 per month, so it’s easy to see why renters are moving here.

Why You’ll Love Congress Heights:

  • 35% cheaper than D.C. market rent
  • Close to schools
  • Minutes from shopping destinations

Marshall Heights

Marshall Heights’ residents are convenient to the Blue and Silver Lines at both Benning Road and Capitol Heights Stations. This large bedroom community is a great place for renters, as it hosts tons of neighborhood events. Kids as well as adults enjoy the family-friendly activities and programs at Benning Community Center. Inside the neighborhood are many rentals, houses of worship, and two grade schools. With so many comforts surrounding Marshall Heights, it’s no wonder why renters love living here. The apartments are incredibly affordable, going for an average of $1,078 per month.

Why You’ll Love Marshall Heights:

  • 39% more affordable than D.C. market rent
  • Neighborhood events and programs
  • Close to Metro lines

Source: Rental data is provided by CoStar Group’s February 2019 Washington D.C. market and sub-market analytics reports.