America's most valuable home? The White House by a landslide

Even for a billionaire like President-elect Donald Trump, living in the White House for free will be a pretty sweet deal.

Zillow estimates that the 55,000-square foot home at the center of it all in Washington. D.C., is worth nearly $400 million -- making it America’s most valuable home, or at least it’s the most valuable of the 100 million or so residences listed in the real estate firm’s database. Zillow arrived at that conclusion through its proprietary “Zestimate” algorithm that uses public data and recent sales to arrive at a theoretical value for a home. It’s the same way the Seattle-based company provides estimates for the market prices of more pedestrian properties.

Of course, there is nothing typical about “The People’s House” which has 132 rooms (32 of which are bathrooms) and sits on 18 acres of federal property and has amenities such as tennis and basketball courts, a sun room and library, all of which were factored into Zillow’s theoretical valuation.

President-elect Trump and his family already enjoy a famoulsy luxurious lifestyle in their three-story penthouse in Trump Tower decorated in an ornate French rococo style. Bloomberg last year valued the residence on New York City’s Fifth Avenue at $90 million. His wife Melania and youngest son, Barron, reportedly will continue residing there until the 10-year-old finishes the current school year, and the president-elect is of course holding his meetings there almost daily ahead of hisFriday inauguration in Washington.

 Trump whose fortune is estimated at around $3 billion, could presumably afford Zillow’s estimated $1.6 million monthly mortgage payment for the White House under a standard 30-year fixed-rate home loan. Or he could theoretically rent the place that presidents since John Adams have called home for about $2 million a month

Zillow, which estimated the White House’s value at around $310 million in 2009, says the property is “currently” at its peak price and is expected to gain another 3 percent over the next year, in line with the rest of the housing market in Washington, D.C.

Some other new D.C. property owners -- such as Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com (AMZN) and the owner of the Washington Post who reportedly spent $23.6 million on the city’s largest house -- will probably benefit from the local surge in property prices as well. His neighbors include incoming First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who will be an unpaid adviser to the new president; they recently purchased a six-bedroom, five-fireplace mansion that was listed last year for $5.5 million, according to the Washington Post.

U.S. home prices have risen 6.5 percent over the past year and 9 percent since Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis and an unprecedented nationwide collapse in housing prices.

 “President Obama’s term coincided with a massive recovery of the U.S. housing market, and that’s reflected in the updated value of the White House,” Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman stated in a press release. “Home values across the country are growing at their fastest pace since 2006, with many markets setting new records -- one of the reasons why the White House is worth more now than it has ever been.”

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    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.