The lighter side of real estate

Showdown at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: Whose White House is Worth More?

Movoto has spent many a night pondering the price of the White House, and now we've created a website to share our stats on the estate's value over time.

Kristin Crosier


44 articles, 3 comments

The presidential election is just one day away, and frustrated citizens across the nation are ready to cry out with relief as an end to the tortuous process finally rears its head. (One little girl has even cried over the ordeal.)

The blog team at Movoto Real Estate, however, has found the election campaigns quite stimulating intellectually. We’ve spent many a night pondering the notable mansion up for grabs–and finally we came across the perfect way to tie in the campaign funds with the costly White House.

Movoto amped up our election coverage by creating a comprehensive site with estimated costs of the alabaster home through the years and details on how much past presidents have actually paid to inhabit it. We prowled the Internet and spent our weekend computing and organizing our data, all to bring you

Movoto Takes on the 132-Room Symbol of America

Just last week the Movoto bloggers updated our original post on valuing the White House to compare the cost of the president’s home today to what it what worth four years ago at the time of the 2008 presidential election.

We even took a look at how the White House price tag would compare if put on the market in this election’s swing states, in honor of the $2 billion-plus campaign efforts.

Yet we still weren’t satisfied with our newfound information. We wanted to know more–more about the price of the White House over time, more about how much it cost to move into in campaign spending, and more about how much total candidates have shelled out to compete for the lucrative property.

Our solution was to devise a sister website devoted to our many findings.

The White House Through the Years

We looked at how the value of the Washington, D.C.-based property has fared through the years and under each president.

To do this, we first found data on home values dating back to 1800 through the Case-Shiller price indices.

Then with this information, we calculated the value of the White House over time, and more interestingly, how it fared during specific presidencies.

George W. Bush, for instance, had a $37-million increase in the value of the White House during his presidency (which we’re attributing to the housing bubble of the mid-2000s). The president who saw the largest decrease in the White House’s worth was James Monroe, when the mansion price fell by $12.7 million.

This Alabaster Mansion is Sorely Overpriced

On the Movoto-powered Value of the White House site, you can view and compare just how much each president from 1860 onward (excluding those who assumed office) paid for the temporary residence in campaign costs.

In order to calculate these numbers–which you’ll find in 2011 dollars–we used Lyn Ragsdale’s statistics and data compiled by Gerhard Peters on campaign financing for each presidential general election and converted the monetary values to match the inflation rates for 2011.

Our data overhaul turned out some pretty intriguing numbers. For example, the White House cost Abraham Lincoln only $143,266 when he was elected president in 1860–seems cheap to us now, huh?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent just under $7.5 million for his second term in office and won, even though his opponent, Alf Landon, spent $12.7 million campaigning. Combined, that means the White House cost approximately $20.2 million in campaign funds during the 1936 election.

Of course we can’t ignore the 2008 election, where President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain spent a combined record of $1.3 billion dollars in the race for the coveted white residence.

See the price of the White House for all of the election campaigns here.

Take a Trip Down 1600 Pennsylvania Lane

If you happen to be curious about just how much money presidential candidates have spent trying to capture your vote instead of bolstering the economy, then Value of the White House is the perfect site for you.

(It’s also a really cool place to learn about how the value of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has changed in its 200-plus years of existence.)

The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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posted on: November 4, 2012
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