The Washington area is a great place to rent homes to hipsters

November 25, 2013
The scene at Clarendon's Bracket Room in September. (Photo by Craig Hudson/For The Washington Post)
The scene at Clarendon’s Bracket Room in September. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)

The Washington region is home to some of the best Zip codes for hipsters — well, the best Zip codes for people looking to rent homes to these hipsters, anyway.

That is according to a recent analysis by RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm, which determined what it called the top 25 “hipster zips” for rental returns.

Now, we should all obviously view this as an interesting ranking rather than a conclusive, scientific analysis. After all, determining the best Zip codes for hipsters requires figuring out precisely how to define a hipster (an unknowable riddle we are certainly not going to delve into here, lest the comments devolve into a frenzied free-for-all, and also because the “hipster” discussion is a dead horse long since beaten). We’ll simply say that hipsters are like pornography, and we know one when we see one, and let’s just keep right on moving.

RealtyTrac studied Zip code data to identify “hyper-local hipster markets” for rental returns. What constitutes a “hipster market,” according to RealtyTrac? Zip codes overflowing with people between the ages of 25 and 34 (I guess people in their early 20s or late 30s can’t be hipsters; hopefully nobody tells Ben Gibbard) and Zip codes where at least a fifth of the population walks to work or uses public transportation.

The analysis focuses on which of these markets offer the best returns for rental properties, looking at how many housing units were filled with renters and the slimness of the vacancy rate.

The end result? Of the 25 Zip codes that made the list, four are in the Washington area. None of them are in the District, though. In Arlington, the 22201 (home to Clarendon and Courthouse) and 22203 (Ballston) Zip codes made the list. So did Alexandria’s 22304 (Landmark and other parts of western Alexandria) and Silver Spring’s 20910 (downtown Silver Spring).

The top Zip code went to 55101 in St. Paul, Minn. People visited by Minnesota Public Radio didn’t really agree with the assessment. But St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman seemed thrilled. “I might even buy some oversized chunky eye glasses and a fixed-gear bike,” he said in a news release that also referenced Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Tom Jackman · November 25, 2013