With midterm elections in the rearview mirror, many in the real estate industry are wondering if the end to the political uncertainty of the past few months will finally help some buyers get off the fence and ready to make a deal.
A number of real estate agents and executives who spoke to Inman mostly believed that reducing uncertainty is always a positive for the industry, but some were split on the overall impact.
After Tuesday’s midterm elections — the votes of which are still yet to be counted and therefore deemed too close to call — Democrats are projected to hold, at minimum, 222 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, good for a majority, according to the latest numbers from the Associated Press.
The U.S. Senate and presidency remain under Republican control, which potentially could mean two years of gridlock and status quo on many major issues.
Dolly Lenz, the broker-owner of Dolly Lenz Real Estate, has already seen a difference in her home market of New York City, less than 24 hours after the polls closed. She said the coming weeks will be very telling. But, right now, her daughter Jenny, an agent at the brokerage, has already seen a bump in business.
“It has started already,” Lenz told Inman. “After a sleepless night watching returns come in, Jenny Lenz has lined up appointments with clients for the rest of the week — mostly millennials in finance itching to get out and look to purchase.”
Vija Williams, director of growth at Ben Kinney Brokerages, Keller Williams, said the market doesn’t like uncertainty as a general rule. She also believes a shift in the control of the House of Representatives could be a boon to some markets.
“An election decision, regardless of personal politics, is better than election indecision and uncertainty,” she said. “Secondarily I think for some of the coastal markets, the Democrats winning back the House will bolster consumer confidence, which I see as a large component of this recent market shift.”
Joyce Rey, the head of the estates division at Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, said the reduction of uncertainty in the market is always a positive, but there are still issues at hand leading to the slowdown in overall home sales.
“We do have to live with rising interest rates and the affordability factor, as well as rising inventory, which are contributing to an overall slowdown,” Rey said.
Teresa Boardman, the broker and owner of Boardman Realty, believes, regardless of political uncertainty, there are already plenty of buyers who would like to buy, and the market needs more sellers and more affordable housing.
“However, I think election angst has slowed me down a bit these past few weeks,” Boardman added. “There will be fewer distractions now that the election season is over.”
Kim Kriebel Skumanick, an associate broker with Keller Williams, thinks the changes will vary more depending on the state and local market.
“States that had business-friendly amendments [like Florida’s 10 percent cap on land value assessment increases and Arizona’s ban on taxing business service] or medical marijuana on the ballot will probably fare better with their passage,” Skumanick said.
Others aren’t convinced there will be much impact, if at all, such as Paul Plaeger, broker associate at NOLA Living Realty.
“Why would it?” Plaeger asked, in an Inman Coast to Coast thread. “The proposed four rate hikes in 2019 may do that, but I don’t see why the ‘reduction in political uncertainty,’ as you state it, would have any effect.”
Experts, according to Reuters, have said they only expect two rate hikes next year, but expected one more this year. Rising interest rates have already put a crunch on affordability, according to many in the industry.