The 2020 Election Could Leave The Real Estate Market Unscathed

The real estate industry—commercial and residential—represented 1.4 percent or $338.8 million in 2019 promotional products sales, according to PPAI’s 2019 Sales Volume Study. But if that strong performance wanes, it won’t be because of who wins the 2020 presidential election, says home-selling site Sundae.com.

Regardless of the victor, Sundae.com does not expect to see any drastic, long-term changes in real estate prices. Historically speaking, the housing market performs consistently under both parties’ administrations. Since 1979, it notes, the annual rate of property returns averages between approximately seven and 10 percent regardless of the party in the White House.

In election years, home sales usually drop off from October to November more steeply than in non-election years—down 15 percent versus down 10 percent. Sundae.com says this reflects buyer caution facing the uncertain outcome of a presidential election. However, the year following a presidential election is typically the strongest housing market year in every four-year election cycle, which suggests that the drop-off in November simply delays demand until the following year.

While high profile, a presidential election’s impact on housing may be overrated, Sundae.com notes. Natural disasters, geopolitical events and ongoing developments with COVID-19 are more likely to affect property values and rent trends. That said, election results probably play a bigger role in real estate investors’ decision-making compared to homebuyers, because of candidates’ differing policies.

The results may be not be evenly distributed. Since the 2016 election, consumer confidence has been higher in red states, and counties that went for President Trump saw greater single-family building permit growth. Sundae.com suggests that a win by Vice President Biden could benefit home building in blue counties, while if President Trump wins reelection red counties performances could continue.

Sectors of the economy perform differently to a presidential administration’s spending priorities. Sundae.com suspects that the true consequences of the election on real estate markets will likely take a couple of years to materialize. Opportunities for investors and consumers to seize will present themselves based on what industries a president focuses on, and how well their administration works with Congress.

Sundae.com expects the largest short-term risk to the housing market and the larger economy overall will be a dispute election and resulting protracted legal battle. It could result in civil unrest, uneasy stock markets and rattled consumer confidence. During the disputed 2000 election, the Dow Jones average fell four percent in the month between Election Day and the moment Al Gore conceded, although it rebounded rapidly thereafter.

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