Election 2024: Housing costs emerge as voters’ top priority

It outweighs economy, social issues across generations

Election 2024: Housing costs emerge as voters’ top priority

As the nation gears up for the upcoming presidential election, housing affordability has emerged as one of the top concerns for voters across all generations, surpassing issues like the economy, abortion rights, and student debt.

A new report from Redfin – based on a survey of roughly 3,000 US homeowners and renters conducted by Qualtrics in February 2024 – found that 91% of adult Gen Zers consider housing affordability an important factor when deciding who to vote for in the presidential race.

“Housing affordability is a cornerstone of this year’s presidential election because even though the economy is fairly strong, unemployment is low, and wages are rising, buying a home feels impossible for many Americans,” Redfin senior economist Elijah de la Campa said in the report. “This is particularly the case for young people, who have seen the cost of starter homes increase twice as fast as incomes.”

While Gen Zers placed the highest priority on housing affordability, the issue resonated strongly across all generations. According to the report, at least 80% of millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers also cited housing affordability as an important factor in their presidential vote.

Notably, all generations were more likely to rate housing affordability as a crucial consideration than abortion rights or student debt, underscoring the widespread impact of the nation’s housing crisis.

The report’s findings come as no surprise, given the soaring costs of homeownership and renting that have plagued the nation in recent years. Home prices have skyrocketed by more than 40% since before the pandemic homebuying frenzy, while elevated mortgage rates have further exacerbated the affordability challenge, making 2023 the least affordable year on record.

For younger generations, particularly Gen Zers aging into homeownership, the issue of housing affordability carries immense weight.

With only 26% of adult Gen Zers already owning a home, the challenges of breaking into today’s expensive market as first-time buyers without equity from a previous home sale are daunting.

Read more: Is it better to own or rent a home in America?

The rental market has also become increasingly unaffordable, with the median US asking rent surging more than 20% since 2019, largely due to the surge in demand for rentals during the pandemic.

As the election approaches, both President Biden and former President Donald Trump have released strategies to tackle the housing affordability crisis, acknowledging its importance to voters nationwide.

With housing costs continuing to stretch household budgets and homeownership dreams becoming increasingly elusive, the 2024 presidential election could hinge on the candidates’ ability to present compelling solutions to the affordability crisis that has gripped the nation.

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