But the trouble is trying to get developers to build a lot of affordable units, said Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley.
The county provides incentives for developers who include more moderately priced units in their plans, but three recent proposals his office received for White Flint and Kensington didn't take advantage of the offer. Stanley noted that studio apartments actually cost renters
more per square foot than a two-bedroom apartment, and therefore offer developers a better return.
"People are terrified and say, 'Well if you build a small unit who's going to live in them?' Well, college kids, for one," Stanley said.
But the tide is likely changing as demand for more affordable apartments extends to D.C.'s suburbs over the last decade. And with today's younger work force predicted to change their careers up to seven times, experts say being tied down early can be a drag.
"Young people will hold many jobs over their career and they'll move from region to region," said Anirban Basu, chief executive officer of Sage Policy Group. "In that kind of labor market structure, it may make more sense to be a renter [for] longer." - Liz Farmer