Elections have vastly changed in mood and intensity. It used to be that the candidates debated about substantive issues looking for win-win solutions, including housing. Maybe some of you remember how both the Clinton and Dole campaigns showcased their ideas of expanding the capital gains exemption during the 1996 election. Housing and home sales doesn’t seem to be a platform issue anymore. Elections have become divisive and nasty, even among the electorate; and for many Americans, the trending (real estate) election issue is – whom is moving to Canada!
That’s right, moving to Canada. Maybe you’ve heard someone at work or at the store proclaim they are moving to Canada if “the other candidate” wins the election. The theme of moving to Canada after the election has become a mantra so much so that it’s become part of pop culture. The idea has even been satirized by the likes of South Park. And of course there is the growing number of celebrities who vow to move to Canada if the election outcome isn’t to their liking.
Of course the threat of moving to Canada is tongue in cheek (for most), or is it? Nevertheless, leave it to astute real estate agents who realized that people considering such a move is now a target market. Agent ads and blog posts popped up in recent weeks reaching out to those disaffected home owners asking for their business. Reporting for Buzfeed, Craig Silverman reported on two agents who posted such an ad on their Facebook pages (Leaving Because Of Trump? These Texas Realtors Want To Sell Your House; buzfeed.com; May13, 2016). Although both agents received a lot of attention for their seemingly whimsical posts, there was a mixed response; some did not get the humor. It was reported that one of the two agents interviewed was asked to remove her post; and of course neither reported any new business from the posts.
Every four years, people wonder if presidential elections effect the real estate market. During the 2012 election cycle, the real estate portal Movoto took it upon itself to find an answer (David Cross; Election Years Are Bad for Home Prices; movoto.com; May 12, 2012). They analyzed historical data from the California Association of Realtors® and found that there is indeed a direct effect of a presidential election on home prices (at least in California). They determined that the average home sale price during an election year is lower than that of the years preceding and following an election.
Movoto’s hypothesis was: “Presidential election years are stressful for the American people and in times of uncertainty people are less likely to take chances—this includes making large purchases such as a new house.” While the National Association of Realtors® comment on Movoto’s findings was, “We’ve observed no correlation between levels of home sales and an election year. The market responds to a wide range of economic factors, including jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence.”
Although there maybe anecdotal evidence that presidential election years affect home prices; there is no doubt that the outcome of a presidential election effects policy, which as a result affects the economy and the housing market (see Experts: Housing to Grow Steadily, But Maybe Less So if Trump, Cruz or Sanders is Elected President; Zillow.com; May 17, 2016). But no one has yet suggested that US elections would have an effect on Canada’s real estate market.
By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2016
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