Housing Set to Have a Big Impact on the Elections



Housing is normally not a push-button issue when it comes to presidential elections.  However this November’s election is shaping up to be the exception.  While at the moment the housing crisis is not the center of either President Obama’s or Mitt Romney’s campaign platform, several recent survey’s indicate it soon will become one whether they want to talk about it or not.

Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey

Four real estate organizations recently did a national survey and the results were fascinating.  All four independent surveys showed the same trend.  For the first time in recent memory the issue of national housing was one of the hot topics on the minds of potential voters.

Julia Reynolds of Realtor.com, which is the website for the National Association of Realtors, said “We were very surprised just how passionate people are” about housing issues.  The most significant segment of the population that were concerned with the housing crisis were “Millennials”.  These are a segment of the population born after 1982 and also known as the Internet Generation.  Their concern about this topic makes sense, since this group’s oldest members are just now entering the housing market and discovering how difficult it has become to own a home.

In a similar poll done by HouseLogic, another Realtor run website, the housing crisis came in as the second most important topic in the upcoming election after jobs.  However, surprisingly housing ranked significantly higher on the minds of potential voters than other hot topics like healthcare, the environment and national security.

More than fifty percent of the people surveyed by Yahoo Real Estate said they wanted the government to take more actions to help people who are either in the process of, or at risk of losing their properties.  The percentage of people who thought the government has done enough to solve the housing crisis was less than twenty five percent.  Others had no opinion one way or the other.

Similar to the HouseLogic survey, Trulia.com’s poll discovered that the economy and recession came in first on the minds of voters.  But more than seventy five percent of the people surveyed in the poll agreed with the statement that the government has not done enough to encourage home ownership and help those currently facing foreclosure.

When all of these respondents were asked about specific policies those who registered as either Democrat or Republican both had the same viewpoint.  More than seventy five percent of members of both parties said the government should make it easier for homeowners who are upside down on their mortgages to refinance, while over sixty five percent revealed they want policymakers to work with lenders on loan modifications that reduce the principal balance owed on the loan, so that families can have an easier time making payments and saving their houses.

Eighty two percent of the people surveyed in the Realtor.com poll think it is critical to the national economic recovery that the government do something to help people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.  They feel this issue should be the top priority for whoever is the next incoming President and that it should be addressed within his first one hundred days in office.

With less than six months to go before the election, any worsening of the housing market could make voters push this platform onto the candidates even harder.  The bipartisan opinion right now is that if President Obama were to lose this election it would not be because of the poor economy but moreover for his multi-billion dollar bailout of the lending industry which did not help homeowners avoid foreclosure.