DC’s Inauguration Rental Gold Rush Begins

As featured on Urban Turf

A few weeks ago, UrbanTurf reported on the beginning of what has become a four-year tradition in the DC area: residents hoping to make a buck or two by renting out a room or their entire home during the week of the presidential inauguration. Now, that a new president has been elected, that tradition is begun, albeit slowly.

On Election Day, there were sixteen Craigslist posts in the area advertising rooms or homes to rent for inauguration. The rental rates ranged from $160 per night for rooms in Herndon and Reston to $4,000 for a weekend in a 545 square-foot two bedroom in Foggy Bottom. By Thursday, eleven more postings had been listed, although five of those were two-night stays in a hotel room that someone had already reserved in their name.

Over the last month, Airbnb saw the average listing price for two guests in DC from January 19th-22nd increase from $488 to $627 per night. For the 20003 zip code, which includes the areas of Capitol Hill closest to the Mall, the nightly average as of Tuesday stood at $939.

On Wednesday morning, average rates had dropped noticeably to $302 a night across the city. Less dramatically, the price on the Hill has dropped to an average of $881 per night over inauguration weekend. A few of the most exorbitant listings on Airbnb, with Capitol Hill-area lodgings ranging from $500-$5,499 per night, have not changed since Tuesday.

Although it appears that no one is going for the ambitious asking rates we saw leading up to President Obama’s inauguration, DC residents are betting on visitors’ willingness to pay big bucks to bear witness to January’s festivities.