Buyers Gloomy Over Presidential Election

June 8, 2016

Home buyers are growing concerned about the presidential election. Nearly 27 percent of home buyers believe the outcome of the presidential election could make the housing market worse, according to a new survey conducted by Redfin of nearly 1,000 home buyers nationwide. That is nearly double the negative response the brokerage saw in February when it surveyed buyers on the topic.

“With all the political in-fighting the country has had in the past, it is unlikely the new president will be able to soothe both sides immediately, and that may cause instability [in] the market,” a first-time buyer in Virginia noted in the survey. About 200 home buyers elaborated on their responses in the survey about why they felt the presidential election outcome would be bad for housing.

For some respondents, the presidential election is giving them the feeling of wanting to flee. Ten percent of buyers surveyed said they’d consider moving out of the country if their candidate lost the election (although only a handful vowed to actually do it).

“One of my clients explicitly told me they’re selling their home and moving to Canada regardless of who is elected. He thinks any of the current choices will send the U.S. into a downward spiral,” says Redfin real estate professional Alin Glogovicean. “The election is definitely weighing on some of my clients.”

Who would be the best candidate for housing? The highest number of respondents, at nearly 28 percent, said the housing market would be better served having alternatives to candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, “while home owner anxiety over the election is clearly mounting, the likelihood of an immediate shock to the market is slim,” says Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. “It will take considerable time for our next commander-in-chief to implement policies that have any impact on housing.”

Redfin officials earlier this year released a list of six questions about the real estate market they hope the presidential candidates will answer:

  1. What will you do to make sure Americans can afford to live where they work?
  2. How would you make mortgages available to more credit-worthy borrowers?
  3. Is the home ownership rate too low, too high, or just right? Why?
  4. Why should taxpayers continue to subsidize luxury home purchases?
  5. How would you make tax-subsidized, low-cost rental housing permanent?
  6. How do we shrink Fannie and Freddie, and taxpayer risk, without hurting the housing market?

Regardless of who the next president is, they will have a lot on their plate when it comes to answering to home owners once they take office.

“The next president will inherit the lowest home ownership rate in 48 years, and so far the voters have heard little to nothing about what the candidates will do to boost people’s chances of becoming home owners,” Richardson says. “Candidates need to start discussing housing on the campaign trail now.”

Source: “Election-Year Gloom Weighs on Homebuyers,” Redfin (June 7, 2016) and “Housing Isn’t Sexy Enough for Politics? Here’s Why We Disagree,” Redfin (Feb. 1, 2016)