The Navy acknowledged yesterday that it is considering one of the largest ofafice moves ever proposed for the Washington area, transferring 18,000 employes from rented offices in Northern Virginia to the Washington Navy Yard by 1989.

Navy planners disclosed at a meeting with yvirginia congressmen that the price tag for the move would be $272 million -- much higher than previously predicted -- and would include construction of new offices to rival the Pentagon in size. An estimate by Sen. John W. Warner on Thursday placed the cost of the proposed move at $172 million.

Warner and several Virginia congressmen already have denounced the proposal as ill-timed because the Reagan administration is arguing the nation needs to spend billions of extra dollars on front-line defense.

Navy officials said yesterday, however, that construction costs would be recouped within 12 years and that the Navy eventually would ave $34 million a year it now spends leasing offices in Crystal City and other suburban locations.

At the same time, the Marine Corps announced yesterday that it is considering moving about 3,000 of its headquarters personnel from leased offices in the Virginia suburbs to new spaces at its Henderson Hall facility in Arlington.

D.C. planning officials said they and Mayor Marion Barry were unaware of the Navy's plan until they were disclosed by Warner, a former Navy secretary, late Thursday afternoon.The proposed construction calls for 2.9 million square feet of office space at the Southeast Washington site, where the Navy at one time manufactured its big war guns and where about 4,000 Navy personnel are now located.

Navy officials said their study of the proposed move will be completed by early next year. The transfer would begin in 1984 and would take about five years to complete, they said.