The Worst Vote for Your Home Value: Trump or Sanders, Economists Say


In somewhat ironic news, real-estate-magnate-turned-presidential-hopeful Donald Trump would be bad for the housing market if he won the election, according to a new report. The same goes for a potential President Bernie Sanders.

Zillow, a real estate company, and Pulsenomics, an economics research firm, surveyed more than 100 housing experts on how the presidential candidates would affect the housing market if elected. The consensus was that a President Trump or President Sanders would negatively impact home value forecasts, housing finance reform and the U.S. economic outlook overall.

Pulsenomics questioned 107 experts between April 25 and May 5, a period in which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) suspended their campaigns for the White House. Still, the economists considered what both candidates could have done for the housing market and came to the conclusion that, had either been elected president, Cruz would have had a negative effect and Kasich a positive one.

With Kasich, economists’ most favored candidate, out of the race, the presidential hopeful with the next-best economic outlook was Hillary Clinton. The panelists generally viewed a Clinton presidency as one that would positively affect forecasted home values and housing finance reform, and have a neutral impact on the economy overall.

The report didn’t offer much detail on the reasons for the economists’ assessments, nor did it explain how the economists were selected for the survey.

“The results from this survey show us that, from these economists’ standpoint, the more centrist candidates from either party would be best for the economy and housing market,” Terry Loebs, Pulsenomics founder, said in a press release. “Respondents saw the more polarizing political leanings of Donald Trump and Sen. Sanders as having a negative effect.”

Some panelists said Trump’s “inconsistency on policy, unpredictability as a candidate and lack of political experience” drove them to say he’d negatively impact the housing market as president. Panelists looked even less favorably on Sanders, whom 59% believed would somewhat or very negatively influence home value forecasts. (Forty-nine percent said the same of Trump, and 29% felt that way about Clinton.)

Election years always bring on feelings of uncertainty, which is why homeowners should keep tabs on their estimated home value, no matter who’s running the country. Home value can affect your property tax bill, which in turn can impact your housing budget, your ability to pay back your mortgage, and your credit score. (You can view your free credit report summary, updated monthly, on And, if your credit is in rough shape, you can potentially improve your score by disputing errors on your credit report, paying down high credit card balances and limiting inquiries in the short-term.)

Property value is also important to monitor if you consider selling your home — and plan a move to Canada in November.

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Living Near These Stores Can Make Your Home More Valuable

make your home more valuable

If you’re looking for an edge in buying a home that will appreciate in value, Zillow researchers may have found just what you’re looking for.

The real estate website recently analyzed the values of millions of homes near dozens of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, finding that these grocery stores and higher home values are definitely related.

Specifically, Zillow found that homeowners saw their values increase more rapidly if they were closer to one of these grocers. Between 1997 and 2014, homes near the two grocery chains were consistently worth more than the median U.S. home. By the end of 2014, homes within a mile of either store were worth more than twice as much as the median home in the rest of the country, the analysis found.

Of historic and anecdotal note, the original location of Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, is now a Goodwill thrift store. The surrounding neighborhoods remain some of the city’s most expensive. At the time of this writing, a two-bedroom, two-bath condo unit just up the street was listed for $899,900. According to Zillow, the median home value in Austin is $290,300.

Trader Joe’s original store on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, Calif., is still in operation. At the time of this writing, a two-bedroom, two-bath condo down the street was listed for $778,000. According to Zillow, the median home value in Pasadena is $710,000.

“Like Starbucks, the stores have become an amenity in their own right – a signal to the home-buying public that the neighborhood they’re located in is desirable, perhaps up-and-coming, and definitely improving,” said Zillow Group Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the stores may actually drive home prices. Even if they open in neighborhoods where home prices have lagged those in the wider city, they start to outperform the city overall once the stores arrive.”

The Starbucks Effect

About a year ago, Zillow did a similar analysis of Starbucks, looking at the relationship between property values and proximity to the coffee chain. That analysis found that homes within a quarter-mile of Starbucks increased in value by 96% between 1997 and 2014. The national average for that period was 65%.

Zillow’s analysis also found:

  • The median home within a mile of a future Whole Foods store appreciates more slowly than other homes in the same city before the store opens. In the months before the stores open, the trend reverses and flips, so that after the stores’ opening dates, homes near Whole Foods appreciate more quickly than other area homes.
  • Homes near future Trader Joe’s locations were appreciating at close to the same rate as other homes in the same city before the stores opened. After the opening date, however, Zillow found a clear boost in home appreciation rates. Two years after a Trader Joe’s opened, the median home within a mile of the store had appreciated 10 percentage points more than homes in the city as a whole over the previous year.
  • These two brands are obviously very good at choosing locations that will appreciate faster in the future, or are actually spurring home appreciation growth – or some combination of the two.

Remember, a good credit score can help make housing more affordable in any area since it generally entitles you to better rates on a mortgage. As such, it can be a good idea to check your credit before you apply for a mortgage. You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each month at and viewing your credit scores for free each month on

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