In an article last fall in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election, I examined how much impact the previous two presidential elections had on home sales in the metropolitan Washington area of D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV). My hypothesis was that, with the change in administration (even if the same party stayed in power), there would be a fair number of people moving out of the DMV, and a fair number moving in. With that thought in mind, I decided it would be interesting to see what the impact had been of previous election year cycles in comparison to the normally slow market behavior in the late and early winter quarters. If my hypothesis held true, we should have seen comparatively increased activity during the 4th quarter of the year when the elections were held and the 1st quarter of the following year when the new administrations would begin.
The results surprised me. They showed that presidential election cycles didn’t seem to make a difference in the trend of a gradual increase in the winter months in the average number of sold homes and median sold values in the metropolitan area over the years 2008-2016. (And you can see this trend in the chart showing the average monthly numbers of sold homes and pending sales over the winter months in those years, with the presidential election cycles circled in blue. If anything, there seems to be a slight spurt in monthly sales in the years before or after those election/inauguration winters.)
But what about this last election? Surely the change, not only of administration but of party, would produce more sold homes and more pending sales of homes?
We now have enough data to look at the period October 2016 through January 2017 to test that hypothesis. If anything, the data show just the opposite. Instead of more sold homes and pending sales on an average monthly basis during those months, there appear to be fewer than in the previous four years. In fact, if we look at home sales and pending sales on the basis of presidential election cycles, the winter when the election and inauguration take place seems to have the fewest average monthly home sales in any of the four-year administration periods.
So what does this mean for this last election cycle? Aside from President Trump, who has made it clear that he is not moving to Washington, it appears that neither are many members of his administration moving inside the DMV metropolitan area, at least for now. Presidential election cycles really don’t seem to make a difference to the number of sold homes and pending sales during election cycles, whether there is a party change in the White House or not. Happy sales to you.
Ted Smith is a licensed Realtor with Real Living | at Home specializing in mid-city D.C. Reach him at TedSmithSellsDC@rlathome.com and follow him on Facebook, Youtube or @TedSmithSellsDC. You can also join him on monthly tours of mid-city neighborhood open houses, as well as monthly seminars geared toward first-time home buyers. Sign up at meetup.com.