Primed for the Presidential Election

Will the presidential election have any affect on housing?

By Brian Alvarado

With 2020 coming to a close soon, the highly anticipated presidential election is upon us. Whether President Donald Trump gets to continue his tenure or Democratic candidate Joe Biden gets to begin a new era, the real question might be whether or not the election will have an impact on different aspects of the housing industry with the pandemic now involved.

Home Sales

In prior years, the election has had little cor- relation with home sales climbing or dropping. On average, home sales have risen a mere 0.4% in October and November of presidential election years in comparison to non-election years going back to 1980, according to an article by Redfin Data Journalist Dana Anderson.

Additionally, Redfin recently surveyed more than 1,400 U.S. residents who were planning to buy or a sell a home in the next 12 months. The feedback revealed that 22% of homebuyers and sellers said the presidential election is impacting their plans to buy or sell a home. According to Redfin, this is down from 32% back in November 2019. On the other end of the spectrum, 65% of homebuyers and sellers said that the upcoming election isn’t impacting their plans, as opposed to 60% in November 2019.

“Almost all the buyers I work with ask how the election could impact their home purchase,” said Silicon Valley Redfin Agent Alisha Pruitt in the article. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but presidential elections have never seemed to affect the housing market much in the six election cycles I’ve been a real estate agent. The pandemic is having a much bigger impact, with low mortgage rates motivating buyers who want more space to work from home.”

As buyers continue to stay active amid the pan- demic, the past suggests that the election won’t have too much of an imprint on home sales.

“We expect home sales to continue to grow this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic; we are forecasting more home sales in 2020 than in any year since 2006,” Anderson said.

Location Preferences and Migration Patterns

There are a multitude of factors that may influence where a homebuyer would want to live, including the need for more space or the desire to leave highly-condensed urban areas amid the pandemic.

One intriguing finding from a recent article by Realtor.com Senior Economist George Raitu is the fact that a majority of Americans consider it important to live in a place with similar political views.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans about their political views, 55% of respondents considered it important to live in a place with people who share their political views. Despite over half finding it important for political beliefs to align with their community, only 20% of respondents indicated that they’d consider moving to a place where their views match the majority.

Diving deeper, 64% said that they would not move to a more resonating community even if their preferred presidential candidate did not win the election.

It’s safe to say that feeling a part of a community is important, although politics and the election aren’t enough to influence homebuyers to consider a move.

As buyers continue to stay active amid the pan- demic, the past suggests that the election won’t have too much of an imprint on home sales.

But Does Housing Have An Affect on the Election?

While the election might not have an affect on the housing industry, some reports have shown that housing may potentially have an affect on the election.

In another Redfin report, Anderson said people moving out of states have factored into the uptick in registered voters for a specific party in certain states.

“Movement from costly West Coast cities has likely factored into the uptick in registered Democrats in Arizona and Nevada, while wealthy retirees moving to Florida and North Carolina could be contributing to the increase in registered Republicans in those states,” Anderson said.

Another factor in the election could be the major shift to the suburbs that we’re seeing in relation to the pandemic, as homebuyers continue to find the need for more space in less dense areas.

In 2018, exit polls had suggested that the suburbs were going to be a key battleground for this year’s election. The National Election Poll revealed that nearly 50% of the electorate was suburban and was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The trend of hipsturbia could drastically alter the landscape of the election in swing states like Arizona and Florida.

While our country may possibly go through major leadership changes within the coming months, the housing industry continues to remain robust in light of the pandemic. While the election may not have a landscape-altering effect on housing, the activity that goes on in our sector might possibly have an affect on the election. As the last few weeks of 2020 dwindle down, it’s important for our industry to continue to ride out this wave, regardless of what happens in this month’s election as an economic rebound in 2021 is on the cusp.

Brian Alvarado is the editor of Builder and Developer Magazine. He can be reached at brian@builder.media.

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