- Chasten Buttigieg told The Washington Post that DC is “almost unaffordable.”
- “We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten told The Post.
- Chasten moved to the city with his husband Pete six months ago.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Chasten Buttigieg is still adjusting to his new life in the nation’s capital, but one thing has become clear to him: The city is too expensive.
That’s what he told The Washington Post in a profile published Monday. The former middle school drama teacher moved from South Bend, Indiana to Washington, DC in January for his husband Pete Buttigieg’s new job as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary.
One of the couple’s “favorite” pastimes is scrolling through real estate website Zillow, trying to guess the prices of properties in DC and then being blown away by the actual cost, per The Post.
“We’re doing fine for ourselves, and [yet] the city is almost unaffordable,” Chasten told The Post. “Which tells you how extremely unaffordable it is for many people.”
The couple resides in a high-end 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Post reported. They secured a longer lease for $US3,000 ($AU4,064), with two months rent-free, according to the outlet.
“We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten told The Post. Available two-bedrooms in the luxury building currently start at $US5,650 ($AU7,653), according to The Post. The Buttigieges decided on the place because of the security provided and its location, the outlet reported.
The transportation secretary brings in $US221,400 ($AU299,906) annually, according to US Office of Personnel Management. That’s more than double the average salary in the city, which is $US77,000 ($AU104,303), per Payscale.com.
Average rent in Washington, DC is $US2,126 ($AU2,880), according to RentCafe, two times the average rent in South Bend. The Buttigieges sold their home there earlier this year and purchased a property on Lake Michigan, in Traverse City, where Chasten is from, and where “people who remind me of, like, me,” he told The Post.
Chasten was thrust into the national spotlight during the 2020 campaign, when his husband Pete, the first openly gay major presidential candidate, was running for the Democratic nomination. Since then, he said Pete has adapted to the Washington-insider lifestyle quite seamlessly. But being his high-profile spouse has been somewhat of a struggle, Chasten said.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘I’m done. I’m taking a break. I can’t be everything for everybody all the time,’ ” Chasten told The Post.
Still, Chasten said that he’s finding spots in DC where he fits in, such as Mr. Henry’s, a pub in his neighborhood.
“I see the charm in it,” Chasten said of DC. “I know there are people who are very in love with the city.”