Will the DC Real Estate Market Feel a "Trump Bump"

Posted by Patricia Kennedy on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 9:10am.

So, many of my friends are assuming that I'm selling some gazillion dollar homes to at least a few of the billionaires moving to DC to serve in President-Elect Donald Trump's cabinet and other top jobs.

But the only transaction that's been made public so far is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's beautiful new home in Kalorama, a favorite neighborhood close to downtown. And sadly, she used another agent to represent her in this transaction.

But for everyone else? Think about it.  You're moving to DC to take a job with a guy whose iconic line from his TV show, The Apprentice, is "You're Fired!" Will you go for an upper brackets trophy house you can buy, or will you find something to rent until you get the lay of the land?

And there are other considerations.  Cabinet Secretaries and many of the Under and Assistant Secretaries need Senate confirmation before it's even possible for their new boss to fire them, and that's a nasty, grueling process. Some don't make it through.

Initially, the media was talking about 4,000-plus political jobs that could open up. These are people who are non-civil service government workers who serve at the pleasure of the President.  And every new Realtor in the DC Metro area had visions of making a total boatload of money

And most of the positions the new administration will fill are at the lower end of the staff level, and a lot of these new hires are kids near entry level salary levels, looking for a great experience.  For housing, it will be more like a room in a group house they will share with a bunch of roommates or a rental apartment like the one in my basement.  The same is true for most of the House and Senate staffers on Capitol Hill.

When the administration changes, the professional Democrats on the outs are not likely to put their homes on the market and move to back to their state of origin. Most have law degrees, and they often put them (and their old contacts) to use at the many K Street law firms and various think tanks., often increasing their salaries exponentially.

And while many of the high-level Trump appointees don't yet live here, the Republican professionals who know how to make the government work, and who have been marking time at their favorite DC law firm or conservative think tank during Obama's administration, won't necessarily move. The only reason they might move is that if they take a job with the new administration, their salaries will probably be a fraction of what they were earning in the private sector and they may need to downsize.

Yes, there will be some homes in Washington that will be sold and purchased by people whose moves are triggered by the election results.  But they may take two or more years to come to fruition. The DC Metro area is huge, with the city itself, and surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. And each region has its own appeal and a wide array of choices.  And many of the new people don't want to be rushed into a decision until they have a feel for the school and transportation options that their decision will be based on. 

And if they're smart, they'll want to make sure the job works out!  Some appointees wait until after their guy wins his (or her) re-election before they actually buy a place. 

The only DC address that is certain to turn over in January is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, and there will be no real estate commission earned in that move!

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