Political pundits around the country were stunned this week when Donald Trump secured enough electoral votes to beat Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States (although after days of counting, it appears Clinton will win the national popular vote 59.9 million to 59.7 million). While supporters from both sides are still coping with extreme emotions, we realtors are left wondering what will this mean for real estate.
It’s common for the president to use housing as a vehicle to lead economic recovery, and with Trump being a licensed broker, real estate professionals have been keen to see how his policies would affect them. “The last time we had real estate deal-makers as U.S. Presidents were founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who loved their property holdings and made sure the U.S. Constitution protected them,” Inman publisher Brad Inman says. “That was a big deal.”
How will an impending Trump presidency change the real estate market? Here are five possible outcomes.
- Will he use real estate to kick-start the economy?
Trump has used real estate himself as an investment, and although he hasn’t said much—if anything—about his housing platform, what he has said indicates that he’s interested in boosting home ownership.
Much of Trump’s platform has centered on deregulating the financial market in order to more fully revive it, and that alone could also give a boost to real estate.
- Could it become easier to borrow money?
One way that a Trump presidency could make it easier for consumers to own homes would be to lower premiums for FHA loans or cutting guarantee fees for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Neither of those have been specifically mentioned as priorities for his campaign.
- Will there be cutbacks in federal programs?
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan cut back on many federal programs (such as mental health care) in order to trim the national budget. Some programs, such as those involving affordable housing, might have more of an effect on real estate than others, but Trump has not indicated which programs he would be most likely to target for cutbacks. While local and state policies are likely to be unaffected, major programs—such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Section 8 housing vouchers—could be on the table for reform.
- What about regulations?
This is something that Trump—and the Republican party as a whole—has been vocal about. Two areas would be of importance…banking and building.
– Banking regulations
In July, the party approved its 2016 platform. That platform includes significant changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and there has been talk of repealing the Dodd-Frank Act, which imposed regulations on lenders, and replacing it and the CFPB with something else. Loosening regulation on lending could potentially boost home ownership by making it easier for consumers to obtain loans.
– Building regulations
In August, Trump also told a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders, “There’s no industry, other than probably the energy industry, that is more over-regulated than the housing industry. 25% of costs to build a house are regulations. I think we should get that down to 2%.”
- What about immigration?
If Trump does, indeed, tighten immigration policies as outlined in his platform, then the U.S. could see some softening in markets that rely heavily on overseas investors, who might face additional difficulties or hurdles in purchasing property. However, Trump’s immigration policy has undergone many changes since he first announced his candidacy, and immigration reform won’t be an easy bill to push through, so it’s difficult to determine whether this will influence the real estate market to any large degree.
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