The University of Maryland president’s residence will be demolished in order to make way for a new mansion in College Park, Md. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

The Post’s Jenna Johnson reports on the controversy over the University of Maryland’s $7.2 million presidential mansion, which begins construction this week at the same time the public university is cutting sports programs.

Many are asking whether this long tradition of providing a presidential mansion or formal residence — often expensive, at taxpayer’s expensive — not to mention related maintenance, staff and other upkeep, should be a thing of the past. After all, in recent years, we’ve seen many university presidents and even mayors (such as D.C.’s former mayor Anthony Williams) decline to live in the mansion provided by taxpayers.

Some don’t like the pomp and circumstance. Some homes, frankly, are old and in need of major repairs. Some would prefer their own place.

What do you think? Is it a tradition worth upholding? Weigh in with our poll.

In other real estate news, Fannie Mae released a report this morning showing improved confidence among Americans about the economy in December. The number of people who said the economy is on the right track rose by 6 percent, according to the monthly survey. When asked about housing, those surveyed said they expect home prices to increase by 0.8 percent, a fraction of a percentage point more than the 0.2 percent increase last month. This comes as the region’s joblessness rate fell in November.

In case you missed the news Friday, Freddie Mac announced it would authorize mortgage servicers to allow up to 12 months forbearance to unemployed borrowers.

Hundreds of new apartments are coming to the Tyson’s Corner area, Capital Business reports. And will Prince George’s County get a Whole Foods? Our story today explores the plans on the table. Meanwhile, WAMU reports that the beloved U Street shop Love Cafe will be closing there Jan. 29 due to high rents.

And on the house gossip news front, Reliable Source reports that Gayle King’s daughter has purchased a D.C. condo for $975,000 near Georgetown.