By Shelley Sakala
If we were to measure anxiety by year, 2020 would have to be at or near the top of the list. From the pandemic to the election – and everything in-between – this has been a year for worrying. Economic insecurity from quarantine, business closures, and furloughs have added additional concerns to an already worrisome year. I’m not sharing these things to state the obvious, but to offer some perspective concerning the number one question I’ve been getting for the past six months: How will the elections affect the housing market?
My response has raised a few eyebrows from people: “Not at all,” I tell them. Because as much as our country was focused on politics the past several months, the real estate market doesn’t concern itself with elections as much as some might believe. In fact, in the last five election years, November home sales increased from the previous year (the only exception being 2008, the year the housing bubble burst).
Here’s why this matters: In the run-up to elections, American businesses sometimes maintain a “holding pattern” as they wait for election results. Hiring and expansion is delayed, which can have a domino effect on jobs, relocations, and home sales. But the low interest rates for mortgages have helped keep home sales strong throughout most of this year. We saw a small dip in sales during the initial weeks of the lockdown, but the market corrected itself after the quarantine ended. Home buyers and sellers didn’t allow the worries of the world to disrupt their plans to move. People made adjustments, of course, adding masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer to their routines. But when it came to real estate, those who were gainfully employed continued to live their lives and do things like buy or sell property.
Now, here we are, post-election, and Phoenix home sales continue to be strong. Inventory remains tight, and demand remains high. As much as emotion can play a role in real estate, the market has stayed strong because buyers and sellers didn’t panic – not during the pandemic, and certainly not during the elections. For the most part, those who waited on the sidelines did so for actual economic reasons. But for most everyone else, the wheels of home buying and home selling have kept on turning. That’s good for the housing market, good for the economy, and good for the country.
Shelley Sakala is a local realtor with The Sakala Group.