More than 12 hours after all the polls closed in the continental U.S. on Tuesday, American voters woke up Wednesday not knowing the winner of the presidential election.
While millions of votes for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump continued to be counted in key swing states including Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, America’s voters — and the real estate industry at large — took a wait-and-see approach a day after the Nov. 3 elections.
“Staying off the coverage today,” Andrea Geller, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago, wrote in a comment on Inman Coast to Coast. “Will read the news alert when it comes up on my phone. Going along as usual trying to get some work done.”
Like other agents who spoke to Inman, Geller added that a lack of clarity a day after the election was expected, insisting she was “not surprised to find out we don’t know who is president when I woke.”
Matt Visser, a national political reporter at the Washington Post, reported that the Biden camp believes its candidate will be declared winner in Wisconsin and Michigan, with results expected as early as Thursday in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. Trump, meanwhile, falsely declared victory in the middle of the night, with millions of ballots left to be counted across key swing states, according to The New York Times.
Amy Kong, a real estate broker and co-founder of Trust Real Estate in San Francisco, said she spent the night drinking wine chatting with friends all over the U.S. and Hong Kong.
“One word — having fun while we did our civic responsibility,” Kong told Inman.
She noted it was interesting to see how different the predictions were in the U.S. — with both FOX News and CNN having different predictions — and Hong Kong, which predicted a big Trump win.
Tim Hur, the broker and team manager of Point Honors and Associates, Realtors and the 2022 president-elect of the Asian Real Estate Association of America was out to dinner with clients last night in the swing state of Georgia.
“As I live in Georgia, which has become a surprising swing state, many of us are all waiting patiently for the election results to come out in our state,” Hur told Inman. “I had a very grateful relocation couple (who I just helped them buy a home) take me out to dinner — and then went straight to watching the election results with a very limited number of friends. We are still in the midst of COVID19, after all.”
“As it was painstakingly clear that the results would not be announced last night, I came home early and now back at the office prepping for a listing.”
Incumbent President Trump and Biden, a former vice president and senator, have divergent views on housing and economic policy.
Trump spent a portion of his first term undoing housing discrimination policies enacted by the Obama-administration while Biden was vice president. In July, the administration cut the “affirmatively furthering fair housing” rule and weakened the disparate impact rule.
Trump’s tax code overall also imposed a $10,000 cap imposed on state and local tax deductions (SALT) and included incentives for builders to erect housing in low income “opportunity zones.”
The Trump administration also took major steps towards overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taking steps to end the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises and opening up the charter that eliminates competition in the mortgage-backed security realm.
Biden, meanwhile, campaigned on promises to roll back those 2017 Trump tax code changes and invest billion in affordable housing.
He also campaigned on ending redlining and other discriminatory housing practices, and creating a “Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights,” modeled on a California law, that among other things would apply more regulations to lending and foreclosure processes. The bill of rights would also prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants who receive federal housing assistance.
Outside of the presidential election, results Wednesday morning showed that Democrats will maintain control of the House of Representatives and Republicans were likely to maintain control of the Senate, according to ABC News.
Bob Pinnegar, the president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, said the trade group plans to move ahead and continue its calls for the swift passage of COVID-19 relief, including rental assistance, which has also been pushed by the National Association of Realtors.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is fueling our nation’s housing affordability crisis and no immediate relief is on the horizon,” Pinnegar said in a statement. “Our elected officials must address the needs, concerns and challenges of rental housing providers and renters alike to stabilize the future of America’s housing.”
A number of states voted Tuesday to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana and California passed a controversial ballot measure that would exempt rideshare drivers from being classified as employees under state laws. Real estate agents are already exempt.
As of Wednesday morning, it was too early to call results for California Proposition 19, but the “Yes” vote was ahead by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin.
The law would allow homeowners over 55 who are disabled or are disaster victims to transfer their primary residence’s tax base to a replacement residence and also changes the taxation of family-property transfers and establishes a fire protection services fund. The California Association of Realtors lobbied in support of the proposition.
“Prop 19 protects the constitutional right for parents and grandparents to pass the family home to their children and grandchildren so they can afford to move into the home as their primary residence,” C.A.R.’s lobbying page states. “Prop 19 also opens housing inventory to make homes more readily available for first-time homeowners, families and Californians throughout the state.”
Equity markets reacted kindly to the Tuesday night results, as murky as they may still be. The Dow Jones spiked to start the day, climbing more than 450 points in the first hour of trading.