Housing Complex

The Perks of a Productive Congress

In my column today, I examine the correlation between national elections and D.C. real estate and find that, well, there isn't one. Or at least to the small extent that there is one, it's overshadowed by more relevant factors like the economy, city policy, and demographic changes.

But studies from recent years have shown the D.C. market to be stronger under single-party rule of Congress than under a divided Congress. I hypothesized that this had to do with lobbying (and other government-dependent enterprises, like legal advising and advocacy and contracting): When Congress is divided and not many bills are getting passed, business is slow for lobbyists, and so they don't lease additional office space. But when, say, health care reform is on the verge of passage, business booms for lobbyists and lawyers and advocates, and they require more space.

Now I've got some additional evidence to back up my theory, courtesy of a chart from Jones Lang LaSalle:

It's pretty clear that when more bills are getting passed and signed, the D.C. commercial real estate market benefits. So swing-state voters with an interest in a strong D.C. commercial real estate market (and I know there are lots of you): Whichever way you choose to vote, please don't split your ticket.

...