Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas have been home to government employees and politicians basically since it became the nation’s capital, but with the changes in the economy and the shift from agriculture to a service-oriented society, more and more government workers are moving closer to the hub of power on a permanent basis. Where do most of them live, and what’s the housing market look like?
Most of the government employees and politicians that maintain homes around Washington D.C. live inside the loop created by I-495. This encompasses a significant section of northern Virginia, as well as a good portion of Maryland. The prime cities here are Alexandria, Virginia; Bethesda, Maryland; and Silver Spring, Maryland. However, there are quite a few that are within easy reach of the metro D.C. area, including Baltimore, Maryland and Richmond, Virginia (both of which play host to politicians and government employees). Interestingly enough, Virginia Beach actually has one of the highest percentages of federal government employees, coming in at 16.1% of the total population. In comparison, D.C. itself only plays home to 14.1% of its workforce.
The type of housing in question will vary depending on the nature of the employee’s role within the government. Most politicians (Congressmen and Senators, for instance), maintain residences around the capital, although they are not fulltime homes. Most are rentals. Government employees can rent or own their homes, but they tend to be permanent residents of the area, whereas politicians are only part-time residents, and will head to their home state during recesses and breaks. Some government offices post housing options and information via their internal websites. These are not accessible to the public and sometimes contain options that might have gone unnoticed.
Single-family homes are probably the most common option for government employees, and there’s a very wide selection of them around Richmond and Alexandria, Virginia. The Maryland side has its fair share of housing options as well, of course.
Looking for something that bridges the gap between apartments and single-family homes? If so, townhomes might just fit the bill. You’ll find them available throughout Richmond and Alexandria, as well as the suburban and rural areas surrounding Washington DC. Most of these are rentals, but you will find some available for purchase outright if you find that townhome living suits your needs.
If you’re looking for close-in convenience to employment centers around the DC Metro region, condos are a good choice. They range in size and price based on location, amenities, age and size. There are many condominium projects to choose from in Northern VA, Maryland and DC.
There is as wide a range of housing options as there are government employees in and around Washington D.C. If you’re in the market, remember that you’ll find better deals outside of urban areas, but you might discover that your commute is significantly more.