Axios D.C.

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Today's newsletter is 855 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🏠 Built-to-rent homes

A unit at CityHouse Ashburn Station. Photo: Courtesy of American Real Estate Partners

Amid high prices and tight inventory, more built-to-rent communities are popping up across the DMV.

Why it matters: Built-to-rent houses are an option for people who need more space but aren't ready to dive into Washington's competitive real estate market.

The big picture: The communities allow people to move into newly constructed homes with property management and amenities like clubhouses and fitness centers — without a mortgage.

  • Such developments have typically been popular in areas like the Southeast, Southwest, and Sunbelt, where land is cheaper, but they've slowly been arriving around D.C. over the last few years, John Burns Research and Consulting senior vice president Jeff Kottmeier tells Axios.
  • Of course, the idea of renting a single-family home or townhouse isn't new, but with built-to-rent, you're working with a management or development company instead of a landlord who owns your home.

What they're saying: "These built-to-rent communities are an indication of how challenging it's getting to become a homeowner," Bright MLS chief economist Lisa Sturtevant says.

  • "We have often, in the past, equated rental with apartments. And I think the fact of the matter is that people are staying renters for longer."
  • This comes as the median age of first-time buyers has increased, reaching 35 in 2023, compared to 31 in 2013 and 29 in 1981, per National Association of Realtors data.

Plus: Built-to-rent communities are also popular with empty-nesters who aren't interested in home upkeep, says Kottmeier.

Zoom in: Washington's built-to-rent inventory is concentrated outside the Beltway, where land is more available and affordable — think of City Center Townes in Dulles or the Collection at Scotland Heights in Waldorf.

  • It also helps that many locals are still working remotely. "They don't need to be in an apartment near their office," says Sturtevant.

Case in point: At the Ashburn development CityHouse Ashburn Station, 57% of its residents work from home or within a 30-minute drive, a spokesperson tells Axios.

  • A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath townhome starts at $3,295 a month with community tennis courts, a playground, outdoor kitchens, and a pet park.

The intrigue: CityHouse's developer American Real Estate Partners (AREP) wants to expand its local built-to-rent presence and is eyeing area office buildings that "have no economic value" post-Covid, AREP managing director Mark Taylor tells Axios.

Keep reading

2. Chart du jour: DMV home tenure

Data: Redfin analysis of county records. Note: National data calculations exclude Utah and Texas as well as Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Boston due to insufficient county records. Chart: Axios Visuals

The typical DMV homeowner has spent 13.6 years in their home, up 21.4% from 11.2 years a decade ago, according to a recent Redfin analysis of county records.

Why it matters: Homeowners staying put is one reason there's a shortage of houses on the market across the country.

Zoom in: This comes as 2023 saw decreased DMV inventory and sales as people held on to homes — because they were locked into pandemic-era rates or were hoping rates would lower — in turn largely upping prices and competition.

State of play: Homeowners nationally are holding onto their homes nearly twice as long as they did in 2005, analysts found.

Between the lines: While tenure overall is up, the pandemic also sparked a moving frenzy, Redfin notes.

Full story

3. First look: Namak opens in AdMo

Bright beet and yogurt dip. Photo courtesy Scott Suchman

Adams Morgan lost a neighborhood staple when Mintwood Place closed after a decade, but good news: Owner Saied Azali tomorrow will open an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in its place.

Why it matters: Namak aims to be another neighborhood favorite with a mix of familiar mezze and lesser-seen Persian and Turkish specialties.

Flashback: Azali left Iran when he was 15 to come to the U.S. "I always missed the food," he tells Axios. Ditto for the vibrant vegetables and kebabs he ate in Turkey as a child.

A bright orange cocktail with a spiced rim and dried citrus (left) and sesame-crusted feta with mint
A harissa margarita and crispy baked feta. Photo: courtesy of Scott Suchman

Dig in: The team, which includes partner John Cidre from Unconventional Diner, tapped Turkish chef Tolgahan Gulyiyen to run the kitchen. Before coming to D.C., the Zaytinya alum cooked at high-profile Istanbul spots like Çırağan Palace Kempinski (aka, "The Grand Dame of the Bosphorous").

  • His menu—dinner-only to start, brunch coming soon—spans a variety of small plates, salads, kebabs, large-format entrées like whole fish or lamb shank, and a "dip & rip" section with homemade breads and spreads.

What to try

A beef kebab on pita with grilled tomatoes, peppers and onions
Adana kebab. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

4. Around the Beltway: Crane gets to work

This Saturday photo shows workers trying to clear Baltimore's Key Bridge wreckage. Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

🏗️ Crews began cutting and removing the first pieces of Baltimore's Key Bridge trusses. Clearing the first portion of the wreckage would allow more vessels to enter the water. (CNN)

🧰 An 820-unit development in Bellevue in Southwest is moving through the city's approval process. (UrbanTurf)

🍎 Prince George's County schools could standardize start times, with the school board set to formally recommend elementary grades start at 7:30am, middle at 8:30am, and high schools at 9:30am. (NBC4)

Sponsored job listings

New jobs to check out

💼 See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Legislative Associate at Vectis DC.
  2. Director of Drug Pricing at Arnold Ventures.
  3. Digital Media Director at National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA)/Dworbell, Inc.
  4. Senior Manager, Federal Policy and Regulatory Affairs at American Academy of Family Physicians.
  5. Data Analyst at KFF.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. Mapped: Religious service attendance

Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey. Note: Adults who say they never attend a service or attend less than once a year. Map: Alice Feng/Axios

48% of DMV adults say they never or seldom attend church or religious services — just under the national average of 49%, per a new Axios analysis of Household Pulse Survey data.

The big picture: More than three-quarters of Americans say religion's role in public life is shrinking, per a recent Pew Research Center survey — the highest level since the group started tracking such sentiment in 2001.

  • Many Americans are unhappy about that, with about half of adults telling Pew both that "religion is losing influence and that this is a bad thing."
  • About 57% of adults say that religion has a positive impact on American life, per Pew.

By the numbers: 11% of Washington residents attend services 1-3 times a year, 8% attend 4-11 times per year, and 23% attend 12 or more times.

  • Meanwhile, 51% of adults living in D.C. never or seldom attend religious services.

Zoom out

😔 Mimi is wishing Baby Zara clothes came in grownup sizes.

💆‍♂️ Cuneyt is feeling zen after using a back massager pad.

Today's newsletter was edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe.