Sunday, August 30, 2009

Housing inside the Beltway seems to be different

IAS 360 puts out data on house prices at the county level for 360 counties around the country. I am in the process of finding out more about how their data are put together, but one thing in their data really stood out for me: all but two places covered on their home page have seen house price declines since 2006.

Those two places are Will County, IL and the District of Columbia. House prices in DC are 30 percent higher, by the IAS 360 measure, than they were at the national peak in 2006. I find this plausible, because my GW colleague Paul Carrillo showed me hedonic regressions that demonstrated that prices in DC remained flat in 2008, while prices were falling rapidly elsewhere in the region.

Why is DC different? Part of it may be that transportation infrastructure within DC is pretty good (lots of public transportation and taxis), while in the suburbs, particularly the far flung ones, it is bad. Part of it is that its amenities continue to improve. I am sure it helps a lot that Michelle Rhee seems intent on making the schools better. But for it to be such an outlier? That is still a mystery.

8 comments:

forrest.dunbar said...

The federal government has continued expanding, providing more jobs. And, of course, the excitement of the '08 election and the new Obama administration brought in thousands of prosperous yuppies, just as areas like Columbia Heights were starting to gentrify in earnest. Poverty has been pushed east and south, much of it out of DC and into P&G country.

forrest.dunbar said...

And yes, Michelle Rhee continues to kick ass (though I admit to being biased-- I interned with DC Public Schools this summer).

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