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A few weeks ago, I wrote a column debunking the myth of massive real estate turnover in D.C. whenever a new party takes power in the White House and/or Congress. There’s no evidence that a big Republican win means staffers flocking to the suburbs and lobbyists crowding K Street, or that a banner year for Democrats brings a jolt of life to gentrifying neighborhoods as young staffers move to places like Columbia Heights and H Street NE.
But that doesn’t mean that politics don’t affect D.C. real estate—-especially when it comes to federal leasing.
According to the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, General Services Administration leasing was down a whopping 96 percent in fiscal year 2012 from a year earlier. That’s due to a combination of congressional gridlock, bipartisan desire to cut down federal spending, and the GSA’s increasing move toward consolidation. It’s expected to rebound again, but with the GSA looking to ditch some of its massive properties like the FBI’s Hoover Building, we probably shouldn’t expect to see a big boom anytime soon.
Nowhere is the “all politics is local” trope more pertinent than in D.C., where even national politics can have a profound local impact.