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The Politics of Housing: Market Metrics Across the Nation

Experts in the housing industry have offered varied opinions about the election outcome—which, at the time of publication, is uncertain—and how it might impact the housing market, lenders, and property owners.

Financial Times posted an Election Day report about how the recent economic downturn, global pandemic, and housing policies have taken a toll on President Donald Trump's approval.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Homebuilders, while not making a presidential endorsement, listed its congressional endorsements, which leaned overwhelmingly toward Republican candidates. Within its announcement, the organization stated that its "non-partisan endorsements are based on the candidate ... views and actions on policy and legislation most important to the home building industry."

Although Presidential elections typically slow home buying due to uncertainty, this time is different. "The housing market could be the only segment of the economy not impacted by the looming election," said Barbara Corcoran, founder and CEO of the Corcoran Group brokerage in NYC, to Yahoo! Finance.

At a recent State of the Industry roundtable,  Alan Jaffa, CEO of Safeguard, which hosted the discussion, along with other participants, anticipated a period of uncertainty following Election Day. 

"Before we worry about new regulations for servicers," he said, "we will need to get through the first few months."

Early on Election Day property-data provider ATTOM Data Solutions released a special political housing analysis to determine which political fate better serves homeowners.

ATTOM determined that, nationwide, counties controlled by Democrats have homes priced 75% higher than homes in Republican-controlled precincts.

The study also reveals homeowners in Democratic areas are more likely to have substantial equity established. At the same time, property taxes in counties that lean Republican are roughly half of what homeowners pay in Democratic areas, according to the analysis.

"There are many ways to approach the question of which political party is better for homeowners," noted the study's authors.

ATTOM Data Solutions in this particular report looked at home values, homeowner equity, property taxes, and foreclosures for single-family houses purchased in 2019 and homes with mortgages and properties taken in foreclosure actions. Researchers measured those metrics for homes in counties with Democrat versus Republican state representatives. (Researchers excluded areas with an equal number of reps from each party).

ATTOM supplied the following infographic, based on its findings.

Of three million single-family homes sold in 2019, the average price in counties with predominately Democratic representation was $428,958, compared to $245,085 in Republican-represented counties.

As for equity, 31% of homeowners with mortgages in Democratic-leaning areas are considered equity-rich—the balance remaining on their loans is less than half the estimated value of their homes. In Republican-controlled areas, that number is 24.3%. In Democratic districts, 4.9% of homeowners are "seriously underwater," owing at least 125% of the value of their properties, while 7.2% of Republican-led counties are in the same position.

That said, residents of Republican-led counties pay lower property taxes ($2,676 on average) than those of Democrat-run areas ($5,127), according to the analysis. Foreclosures also are less frequent in the Republican regions.

Throughout the remainder of election week, DS News will continue to report on industry leaders' reactions to the election results.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.

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