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David J. Cross

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What's the Going Price on the White House?

Posted: 05/04/2012 5:12 pm

Like it or not, the election season is here. Along with heated debates and campaign promises, the politically savvy will start tossing around a tried and true adage: The White House is for sale. This got us thinking: What would the executive mansion in the heart of Washington D.C. fetch?

To answer this question we reached out to The Koitz Group, a luxury real estate firm that has operated in the nation's capital and surrounding areas for more than a decade.

A Brief History of the White House

Like our country, the White House has a long and complicated history.

In 1790 President George Washington signed into law an act that declared the federal government would sit on 10-square miles of land along the Potomac River. A competition was held to find a builder for the White House, and Irish-born architect James Hoban was chosen.

2012-05-04-whitehouseforsale.png

Construction began in 1792 and finished in 1800. Since then each president, excluding Washington, has lived in the White House. Twice the building has caught fire, once when the British burned it during the War of 1812 and again in 1929.

But when it comes to our hypothetical question, we excluded the the White House's historic value and stuck with cold hard facts.

At 55,000 square feet, the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has

  • 132 rooms
  • 35 baths
  • 6 levels.

What Would the White House Sell For?

Jason Koitz, the certified fiscal officer and real estate strategist for The Koitz Group, tossed Movoto's request around the office and came back with two numbers, a listing price and a more realistic sales price.

"I think just based on the size and location; the list price would be in the low $100 million range. It would probably be $110 or $115 (million). This would be an extreme luxury home."

~ Jason Koitz, The Koitz Group

Realistically, if such a hypothetical can be called that, Koitz said the White House would sell for somewhere between $75 and $80 million, or between $1,364 and $1,455 per square foot.

A Price Tag on the Priceless

Koitz came up with this number in part by researching the prices of luxury homes in the Washington, D.C. area.

He said the most expensive home in the area is owned by Jim Kimsey, co-founder of AOL and its first CEO. This home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and located in McLean, Va., is 21,000 square feet and includes a 40-car underground garage. Its estimated value is $45.5 million.

"It is half size of the White House and with basically a quarter of the room space," Koitz said.

From here Koitz researched the price of property in downtown Washington, D.C. and based his figure on this.

Koitz found his figure surprising, but not how you think. "If anything I was shocked that it was as low," he said.

The First Billion Dollar Purchase

Of course, finding out how much the White House would cost on the open market is purely academic.

"When you add the historic value to it, the sky's the limit," Koitz said. "We could realistic be talking the world's first billion dollar purchase for a single-family house."

"I would market it for free just to be a part of the transaction," he added. "Just the process of it, to see what it could potentially fetch, would be astounding."

 
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