The Washington, DC metro area, including Northern Virginia which is across the Potomac River, will see increased real estate activity and demand with the 70 incoming first year class of the 114th Congress. First, the actual congressperson and their families will be seeking housing, either by renting or purchasing. But one must count also the staff members that each congressperson is allotted. In 2000, the average staff for a member of Congress numbered 14 while the average Senator employed 34.
So what happens to the congressperson who did not win re-election? It is my opinion that those who do public policy and do it well, want to stay in the Washington, DC metro area. According to my husband, Andy Briscoe who is President/CEO of the Sugar Association: “DC is the public policy Mecca of the world.” Thus even though there are 70 new members of congress arriving in DC, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have 70 members leaving the area. Typically exiting members of congress become lobbyists, executives with trade associations or return to the practice of law. The population of the Washington DC metro area has stayed on a generally increasing trajectory through modern times, and is anticipated to continue on that path.
What does that mean for real estate? If you are a Seller considering whether to go on the market now or wait until the proverbial spring market, it is my recommendation to do it now. The only way your home has a chance to sell to one of these incoming members of congress or their staff, is to be active on the market. If you are a Purchaser actively looking, be aware that there may be increased competition and demand.
My partner, Sue Huckaby who passed away in 2008 came to the Northern Virginia area when her husband Jerry Huckaby was elected to congress from Louisiana in 1977 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Huckaby). Jerry maintained that most members of congress rent when they first arrive to the area. It is when they are re-elected that they usually decide to purchase. With the rental market currently being tight with low inventory and interest rates at historically low levels, it is my prediction that congressional members and staff alike may choose to purchase their home.
The link to the National Journal list of the members of the 114th Congress: http://www.nationaljournal.com/almanac/114th-congress-new-members
Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy are active and experienced Realtors ® in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC and suburban Maryland market place and would be delighted to assist whether for home buying or selling. Please contact via the means most convenient for you: www.HBCRealtyGroup.com, 703-734-0192, Homes@HBCRealtyGroup.com.