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The White House: Facts About Our Nation’s Iconic Presidential Home

Last week, we learned how Dr. Ben Carson could shape the housing market since his acceptance as HUD lead, including the sudden plans to scrap FHA premium cuts. We’ve talked a lot about the housing market and the driving factors behind the scenes, including summaries on interest rates and 2017 housing market speculations, but today we’ll learn about the physical real estate representing our nation’s key decision makers: The White House.

The White House, an immediately recognizable building, has been the official home of the U.S. president for hundreds of years. The building has been burned down, rebuilt, updated by its occupants and retrofitted for modern technology. Through it all, this structure has retained its power as the symbol of the United States.

History of the White House

After George Washington became president in 1789, plans were made to build an official home for U.S. presidents. James Hoban won a design contest, modeling his building after a villa in Dublin, Ireland. It took eight years to construct the home at a cost of approximately $230,000.

The War of 1812 between the United States and England was a fateful time for the White House. President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, lived in the White House as that war raged on.

President Madison left Washington on August 22, 1814, to visit the battlefield, while Dolley kept track of British troop movements. Soon, it became obvious that the enemy would reach the White House before any American troops. Dolley left the White House on August 23 to meet the President at a pre-defined location.

The British army arrived at the White House and found it empty, ransacked the building, and set it on fire.

Afterward, there were discussions about moving the capital to a different city, but in the end, Hoban was retained to rebuild the house and the decision was made to keep the building in D.C.

The North and South Porticoes were added in the early 1800s. Later, William Taft expanded the executive wing in 1909, which resulted in establishing the Oval Office as the president’s official office.

The building had structural problems by the time Harry Truman reached the White House, and he convinced Congress to appropriate funds for repairs. Virtually the entire interior of the building was replaced, and a concrete foundation was added. This was the last major renovation to date, completed in 1952.

Today, the White House boasts 142 rooms in 55,000 square feet of space. While the facade suggests otherwise, the White House actually contains six floors of living, working, and public space.

How Much Would the White House Sell For?

What is the value of the White House in today’s market? Naturally, the White House will never be sold. However, determining its value in today’s market is a question that fascinates many people. Valuing the White House is a difficult task for any number of reasons, but the most recent estimate was compiled by two well-known experts in August of 2016.

These experts estimated the overall value at $250 million, which includes the structure set on 18 acres of land with the value of the contents. However, the land, since it is owned by the Department of the Interior, was considered to have no value; the valuation could be much higher if the White House were a private residence.

Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home in Washington, D.C.?

Many people love living in Washington, D.C. because of the historical nature of the area, its unique neighborhoods, and its proximity to the nation’s government offices.

As of the end of 2016, the real estate market in Washington, D.C. is a seller’s market, which means that anyone looking to sell has an advantage. The median sales price has continued its climb, up 8 percent from a year ago, to $550,000. In addition, the number of homes for sale is low, and homes are being sold quickly, in an average of 29 days.

Those who are buying should obtain a pre-approval for a mortgage, plan to pay near top dollar and make decisions quickly.


  • http://www.history.com/topics/white-house
  • http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hp-white-house-cost-20160903-snap-story.html
  • http://marketminute.longandfoster.com/Market-Minute/DC/Washington-DC.html