Is The White House The Only Address Up For Grabs? DC To The Highest Bidder

The turnover in the presidency also means a turnover in who works—and lives—in Washington. How will that affect the real estate market?

By James L. Knobloch October 13, 2016

No matter how the election plays out, come 2017, there will be a moving van outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But is that the extent of the election’s impact on Washington, D.C. real estate market?

Let’s breakdown the numbers.

Related: It’s Getting hot, Eh? Toronto’s Real Estate Market Refuses To Cool

10,250. No, that isn’t the number of times Trump ‘sniffed’ during the first two presidential debates (though it’s a not too distant second). In theory, that’s the number of job openings this election could bring to the nations capital, and it stands to reason that with so many positions up for grabs, the real estate market would feel it.

First up: the main event. The presidency, and the roughly 3,000 executive branch-appointed jobs that come with it, will be changing hands. Assuming that the incoming president replaces the majority of the positions under his (please, no) or her influence, some 5,000 more lower-level staffers would change, too. That’s 8,000 jobs right off the bat.


Shifting focus to the 24,000 jobs on Capital Hill, of which roughly 9,000 are nonpartisan positions that aren’t typically at the mercy of the election cycle, which means the remaining 15,000 are political-related staff. In an election cycle with a particularly high turnover (like 2010, for example) of 15-16 percent, those incoming politicians bring with them some 2,250 jobs.

And there’s your 10,000+ potential new jobs in Washington, D.C. as a result of the election.

What would all those new members of the D.C. Metro area mean for the real estate market? Well, maybe not as much as one might think.

First of all, the majority of the 10,000 newly appointed employees were hired from among those already living in the area, where oscillating between working in the public and private sector is common practice. Already, even by generous estimates, we’ve already cut our potential market influencers in half.

Secondly, there’s the fact that many of those political-related tasks don’t pay so well, frequently under $50,000. Translation, they aren’t buying a home in the historically pricey Washington, D.C. area. Still, despite the above factors, there will be some people who are, in fact, in need new homes—as many as 2,500+ homes, actually. Based on last year’s numbers, those 2,500 additional sold homes would give the market a five percent boost.

At the end of the day, it’s all speculation, and the market’s condition still plays a significant role, election or not.

…unless Donald Trump wins, in which case all bets are off, and then it’s Canada’s real estate market that could be seeing a major influx of potential home buyers.

James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

A creative professional with a sharp tongue and a big smile, taking on city living one slightly-veiled sarcastic comment at a time. Born and raised just outside of New Orleans, James is a living testament to his own mantra, “Southern hospitality is a privilege, not a right,” giving his work a unique, dry humor meets charm perspective.

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