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Survey: Homebuyers increasingly pessimistic about election’s effect on housing market

ForSale-klh A house stands for sale Tuesday, June 7 for 824 East Pearson in Milwaukee. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

A house at 824 E. Pearson in Milwaukee is listed as “For sale by owner” on Tuesday. Twenty-seven percent of homebuyers think the presidential election will have a negative effect on the housing market. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Twenty-seven percent of homebuyers believe the 2016 presidential election will have a negative effect on the housing market, according to a survey of 975 homebuyers conducted in May by Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm. Pessimism regarding the election’s consequences for the market has grown since Redfin last surveyed homebuyers in February.

Homebuyers shared their opinions on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and election-year politics and how they think the outcome of the election will affect the housing market. The respondents skewed young. Forty percent were millennials and more than 37 percent were first-time buyers.

“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 to the market,” a first-time buyer in Virginia wrote.

Findings of Redfin’s May homebuyer survey include:

  • 63 percent of homebuyers said the election will have no effect on the housing market at all. This represents a 12 point decline since February, while the number of respondents agreeing the election will negatively affect the market grew from 15 percent to 27 percent — a 12 point increase.
  • 1 percent of respondents said they will absolutely leave the country if their candidate loses in the election. Another 9 percent said they will either consider it or seriously consider it.
  • 30 percent of respondents might joke about moving, but won’t actually do it.
  • 28 percent said the market would be better served by a candidate other than the three remaining contenders.

Among the remaining White House hopefuls, Bernie Sanders commanded a slight edge, with 26.5 percent of buyers in the survey endorsing him as the candidate who would help the housing market the most.

“While homeowner anxiety over the election is clearly mounting, the likelihood of an immediate shock to the market is rather slim,” Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson said. “It will take considerable time for our next commander in chief to implement policies that have any impact on housing.

“That said, the next president will inherit the lowest homeownership rate in 48 years and so far the voters have heard little to nothing about what the candidates will do to improve their chances of becoming homeowners,” Richardson added. “Candidates need to start discussing housing on the campaign trail now.”

Redfin’s survey was conducted between May 17 and May 23 and includes responses from 975 homebuyers in 36 states and Washington, D.C.

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