What Does A Trump Presidency Mean For Real Estate?

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Whether you’re horrified or elated over the results of this week’s election, one thing we can all agree on is that the new President will undoubtedly influence our nation’s economy and by extension the housing market.

The last time a real estate dealmaker held the office was in 1790s and early 1800s when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson lead the nation. They were proud property owners and as such made sure the US Constitution protected them.

But things have definitely changed over the past 200 years and so now we’re left wondering, what does a Trump presidency mean for the real estate market. Here are eight things to consider.

Will he, as others have, use real estate to jumpstart the economy?

Obviously, Trump has an extensive background as a real estate investor. He hasn’t said much about housing but what he has said would, in theory, boost homeownership. His platform centered on deregulating the financial market in the hope of reviving it. This alone could boost real estate activity.
So what about mortgage rates?

There are a huge number of factors affecting mortgage rates and they change daily based on market activity. For example, on election might we saw a bit of market panic due to the unexpected results. Similarly, after Brexit, markets dropped after an unexpected outcome.

“Mortgage rates are falling because investors are seeing safe yields in US mortgage backed security reflecting their confidence in the relative safety of the US housing market. Furthermore, the Fed is likely to delay a December rate hike because of global economic turmoil. Both effects mean short term win for borrowers and we’ll likely see an increase in mortgage refinancing if rates continue to plummet.”

-Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia

What about loans?

One way to encourage consumers to purchase homes would be to lower premiums for FHA loans or cut guarantee fees for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, neither have been specifically mentioned and both present their own set of problems.

Will federal programs be downsized?

In the past, federal programs have been cut to trim the national budget. Some programs have more of an effect on real estate than others – i.e. affordable housing. Local and state policies are unlikely to be affected but federal programs like Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Section 8 housing could be facing change.

So what exactly are these regulations he wants to get rid of?

  • Banking regulations: In July, the Republican party approved its 2016 platform which includes major changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the possible revocation of the Dodd-Frank Act – which imposes regulations on lenders. Loosening these regulations on lending could boost homeownership by making it easier to get a loan.
  • Building regulations:  In August, Trump addressed a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders saying, “There’s no industry, other than probably the energy industry, that is more overregulated than the housing industry…Twenty five percent of costs build a house are regulations. I think we should get that down to 2 percent.” If he follows through, that could mean more affordable homes for consumers.
  • Independent contractor regulations: If Trump goes through with his promise to get rid of some or all of Obamacare, which could mean lower operating costs for small businesses. It could also mean that agents are no longer required to get their own health y insurance as independent contractors.

What about mortgage interest deduction?

Last year, a tax plan that Trump shared promised that he would preserve the mortgage interest deduction. However, Trump’s current plan does not go into detail on the matter.

What about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

Both are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and their fate is likely to fall to Trump. The GSEs are projected to run out funds by 2018 so time is running out.

And of course, what is going to happen with immigration?

If Trump tightens immigration policies to the extent outlined in his platform, markets that rely heavily on overseas investors (like Boston) may face a decline. However, until any concrete plans are laid out there’s no way to tell whether it will influence the real estate market on a large scale.

That’s all we know for now. As his presidency unfolds and more policy comes into play, we’ll see the decisive outcome of President Trump on the nation’s real estate market.

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