As Trump’s administration starts to make its way into Washington, a lot of things are still up in the air.
And though the chips will fall as they may, a lot of them will probably fall in Kalorama Heights, a small residential enclave in the northwest part of Washington, DC’s central urban area.
The small neighbourhood will be home to the Obama family, who will move into a $5.3 million home after the president’s term ends later this month. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will also be moving into a $5.5 million home just a few blocks away in the same neighbourhood.
But Kalorama’s desirability is not a new phenomenon.
“Kalorama Heights … has always been a very luxury high-end neighbourhood,” Patrick Chauvin, executive vice president and senior advisor for Compass, told Business Insider. Chauvin is a 25-year veteran in the real estate market, and has sold many of DC’s priciest homes. “It was one of the more urban neighbourhoods, so to speak, back in the 1800s.”
It was also a common area for presidents to live — both William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson owned homes in Kalorama Heights.
Kalorama is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in DC. According to public data assembled on Trulia, the median sale price for all homes in Kalorama was $1.395 million between October 2016 and January 2017. The median sale price for Washington, DC, as a whole for that period was $635,000.
Chauvin said that many members of the new Trump administration, many of whom are wealthier than their predecessors in addition to being less entrenched in DC society, are looking in Kalorama as well as the similarly ritzy Massachusetts Avenue Heights neighbourhood that borders it.
Trump’s team of top officials and advisers have a combined net worth of at least $10 billion. Some of Trump’s wealthiest picks for key positions include Betsy DeVos, his choice for secretary of education, worth $5.1 billion, and Wilbur Ross, the nominated secretary of commerce, who is worth $2.5 billion. Trump has also tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, worth at least $228 million, to be secretary of state. Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, is worth at least $100 million, according to estimates.
Mnuchin recently purchased a home in Massachusetts Avenue Heights, the Washingtonian reported this week. The homes in Massachusetts Avenue Heights and Kalorama are desirable for different reasons, Chauvin says, but they share the benefit of being very close to Downtown.
“The big difference is that Massachusetts Avenue Heights has larger homes on bigger lots with more green,” Chauvin said. “Kalorama Heights has large homes with grand entertaining spaces, as most of the homes were built in the earlier years, but on smaller lots.”
Those smaller lots in Kalorama have the advantage of requiring less maintenance, and they have a shorter walking distance to shops and restaurants.
As for the prospect of Secret Service activity disrupting these neighbourhoods, Chauvin said that likely won’t be any more of an issue than it already is.
“All of the neighbourhoods mentioned … already have some sort of Secret Service in them,” Chauvin said, noting that even his own building has a Secret Service presence.