Housing has become a hot-button topic during the 2020 election cycle, with both candidates outlining expansive policies aimed at addressing the housing needs and concerns of their respective voting blocs. Although homebuyers and homesellers have varying stances about affordable housing or housing-related taxes, there’s still one thing they have in common — booming home prices.
“Homeowners in counties of all colors — blue, red and purple — are benefiting from a strong housing market even during this deep recession,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a market analysis published on Friday. “Home values are up, which is great financial news if you’re a homeowner, regardless of your politics.”
According to the market analysis, the median home price has risen by at least 10 percent annually in blue, red and swing counties. Blue counties experienced the biggest jump with median prices rising 13.1 percent year-over-year to $346,000. Prices rose in swing counties 11.5 percent to $259,900, while prices in red counties increased 10.6 percent to $209,000.
Redfin classified counties “‘blue’ if the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate won by more than 10 percentage points, and classified as ‘red’ if the 2016 Republican candidate won by more than 10 percentage points.” Swing counties are areas where neither candidate received more than 55 percent of the total vote.
Unsurprisingly, weakening supply and strengthening demand is behind the robust price growth in all areas. However, swing counties are experiencing the biggest annual decline in active listings (-35 percent) as buyers flock to more affordable, suburban locales. Meanwhile, active listings in blue and red counties declined 22 percent and 32 percent year-over-year, respectively.
“Supply is dropping the most in swing counties because they tend to be made up of suburban neighborhoods, where there are far more homebuyers than sellers right now,” Fairweather explained. “Rising prices and tight supply mean it’s a tough landscape for first-time homebuyers.”
“Many of them have long been priced out of urban blue counties and are searching in suburban swing counties and more rural areas,” she added. “This trend is being exacerbated by the pandemic-driven work-from-home culture, which is causing many homebuyers to place more emphasis on indoor and outdoor space and less on commute times.”
New listings are up in all counties, with blue counties leading the way (+12.4 percent year-over-year) while swing counties (+7.1 percent) and red counties (+3.8 percent) trailed behind. Although there’s a boom in new and active listings, buyers still have stiff competition as the sales pace zooms ahead and days on market dwindle.
“Homes sold fastest in swing counties, with 43.5 percent of homes going under contract within two weeks during the four weeks ending September 6, versus 39.6 percent for blue counties and 35.3 percent for red counties,” the report read. “The number of homes sold in the four weeks ending September 6 rose most in red counties (15.9 percent year-over-year), compared with an 11.6 percent increase in swing counties and an 11 percent increase in blue counties.”
Once again, swing counties led the way in pending home sales with a 29.6 percent year-over-year increase in September. Meanwhile, blue counties (+29 percent) and red counties (+26.2 percent) were only a few percentage points behind.
“The fact that pending sales are up more in swing and blue counties reflects the fact that sales in those areas took a bigger hit at the beginning of the pandemic and thus have more room to grow,” Fairweather explained.