White House Lost $23 Million in Value Over the Past Year

Zillow reports on what the housing crisis has done to the value of the nation's most famous residence.

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When President-elect Barack Obama launches his effort to resolve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, he will do so from a house that has lost more than $23 million in value over the past year alone.

That's according to a Zillow report released today:

Real estate Web site Zillow.com today announced it has calculated a Zestimate® value for the White House were it actually a home that could be bought and sold. That estimated value—$308,058,000—would make this by far the most expensive residence in the United States, however still more than $23 million less than its value one year ago . . . .

Zillow calculates and publishes updated home values on nearly all U.S. homes several times a week using a proprietary algorithm that considers data such as a home's physical attributes, recent comparable sales, tax information and local market trends. To determine the White House Zestimate, Zillow's team of data statisticians first looked at the home's physical characteristics, including 55,000 square feet of indoor space, 132 total rooms, 35 bathrooms, 16 bedrooms, three kitchens and 18 acres of premium downtown Washington, DC land. They then considered the most expensive home sales in Washington, DC in 2008, as well as other historic homes in the DC area recently for sale, and calculated the premium historic homes typically fetch over similar homes with no historical significance. Zillow's statisticians deemed the White House the most historic home in America and applied a maximum historical premium to their models to determine a Zestimate value today of $308,058,000.

To put that hefty price tag in perspective, Zillow's data team ran a few more computations:

Were someone to take out a standard 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage on the White House today (assuming 20 percent down and a 6 percent rate), their monthly payment (including principal and interest) would be $1.48 million. Even with the Treasury Department's proposed 4.5% rate on 30-year mortgages, a monthly payment would still top $1.25 million.

If President-elect Obama were to spend 30 percent of his gross income as U.S. president on housing, that would total $133,333 per year, or $11,111 per month¹, falling short by more than $1 million on a monthly payment for this home.

One would need to make $53.3 million in gross income a year to afford a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage on the White House, and have $62 million saved up for a down payment of 20%.

The White House's estimated value has decreased by 7.2% percent, or more than $23 million dollars, in the past year. However, the home's value has nearly doubled from the $167,861,500 Zillow estimates it was worth in January 2001 when George W. Bush was sworn in as President.