With the recent election dominating the news these days, we took a look at some recent real estate data conducted by Redfin. This data focused on recent home purchasing trends and how they may impact elections. In particular, this study looked at home buyers that were looking to move to a different county during the second quarter in 2020.
What trends were observed?
Home search data revealed that 6.5% fewer people were looking for homes in blue (Democratic) counties than in swing or red (Republican) counties. Additionally, 1.2% more prospective home buyers wanted to move to a red county rather than a blue or swing county, and 3.2% more looked to move to a swing county than to one identified as red or blue.
The trend was more pronounced in the thirteen states identified as swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. In those states, 9.3% more people sought to move to a red or swing county than to a blue county. Swing counties in swing states were particularly popular, with 3.6% more prospective home buyers seeking to move there than to blue or red counties. Additionally, in swing states, 1.8% more people looked to move to a red county than to one identified as blue or swing.
Why the trend towards red counties?
There are many factors that contributed to these trends. Of course, the first factor that should be noted is the current COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the timing of this study, many Americans were transitioning to a work from home environment. With this said, they more than likely needed to find properties with more space. The need for additional space combined with likely budgetary constraints forced many buyers to look in rural suburban areas. While these areas tend to have less expensive housing, they also tend to be more politically conservative. Given the current remote working conditions, the commute to an office in the city was not a factor.
Another factor that can not be ignored would be the safety of various communities. During a time where we all witnessed devastating riots that literally burned and destroyed many of our larger cities, a lot of home buyers were seeking more law and order. The fact that many of these large cities were in blue (Democratic) counties, this certainly impacted the findings. At the end of the day, most Americans (Republican & Democratic) want law and order in their communities. This was a critical factor in the majority of these moves.
In closing, we have seen various unique home purchasing trends thus far in 2020. By far, the biggest impact has been the pandemic. However, violence, destruction, and cries for de-funding the police have certainly impacted home buying trends. Whether this population shift will change future voting patterns for various geographies is still to be determined. One thing is for sure, we all hope to never see another pandemic or summer of violent protests ever again.