Campaign pain: What does this election season mean for mortgage finance?

It seems like we’ve gone from caucus to raucous this election year. 

Anyone not bombarded by the rancor is probably hiding under a rock; the rest of us, however, are left wondering not only who will occupy the White House next, but what we’re in for. The general public is concerned with the general economy, and mortgage and real estate professionals wonder if and how their markets (and incomes) will be affected by the next administration and any turnover in Congress.  

At a time when candidates are at one another’s throats and it’s unsafe to go near the subject of politics in mixed company, there’s some interesting solace to be found in historical economic data.  

Overall, the stock market doesn’t care if the public approves of the U.S. President. 

Though mortgage professionals watch bonds, stocks are a better known and more frequently discussed economic factor. An analysis of Gallup Presidential Approval Ratings Polls and Dow Jones Industrial Averages from 1960 to 2014 showed the Dow climbing steadily over that 44-year period while presidential approval leapt up and down throughout decades and administrations.  

The market isn’t partisan – but people are. 

Bloomberg and Oppenheimer Funds released figures demonstrating what would’ve happened to $10,000 invested in the Dow between 1897 and 2014 if it were invested 1) the entire 117 years, 2) only when Republicans were in office and 3) only when Democrats were in office.  The money that remained in the market the entire time grew to well over four million dollars, while the money that was in the market during times when one or the other of the major parties was in power grew to less than $500,000.  The money that stayed in the market and rode the rollercoaster of change, progress and fluctuation far outperformed money invested based on political party preference.  There’s a lesson in this for homeowners too….

Housing and the general economy are inextricably linked. 

It’s safe to say a lot of people are uneasy about this year’s election and a lot of folks will be unhappy no matter who wins.  And while voting is about all the influence that citizens can have on our nation’s finances, mortgage and real estate professionals can help people make quantum leaps in their personal finances. 

It’s critical for MLOs and Realtors to stay on message in times like this.  Your marketing and conversations should be filled with how homeownership has historically been the way that most Americans build worth and wealth and how qualified people can use their monthly housing dollars to build their futures. This fact won’t change regardless of who becomes president.  

While the candidates are campaigning, you should be stepping up your marketing campaigns. This crazy election season has a lot of people on edge, but you can reach out and provide assistance that leads to tangible benefits. 

Just remember:  Elevator speeches – not stump speeches.  

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