In Lehman’s Terms

Do you know which major party’s presidential nominee supports homeownership?

That’s a trick question—they both do. But you wouldn’t know it after listening to their nomination-acceptance speeches during the national conventions. We usually expect presidential candidates to highlight policies that support housing or real estate in those speeches. For the first time in recent memory, however, neither candidate for president of the United States even mentioned housing or real estate.

I find this especially interesting in light of a recent poll by Make Room—a national organization dedicated to renters—in which 76% of Americans who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election said they’re more likely to support candidates who make housing affordability a focus of their campaigns.

A missed opportunity?

During the conventions, each party received four days of primetime coverage on major TV networks, round-the-clock cable news reporting, and scrutiny on social media like never before. With this kind of attention, you’d think the voting public would come away from the conventions with a true understanding of the candidates, including their stances on housing-related public policies.

Well … not so much.

Luckily, you can find a candidate’s positions in other places.

Where to find what they didn’t say

The candidates’ position papers on their official websites address a wide range of public policy matters, but neither specifically mentions housing or real estate—despite the fact that real estate is a leading indicator of the strength of most of our local, state, and national economies.

So about the only avenue left to see where the candidates stand on real estate is their respective party platforms, adopted at each convention. One industry expert who compared the respective party platforms found that both support policies to help more Americans become homeowners and policies that help current homeowners protect their investments.

The common ground of homeownership

In Lehman’s terms, it should be no surprise to see similarities between the parties’ platforms on homeownership. This remains an issue that transcends party lines at every level. A great example is the recent passage of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. This important real estate bill was signed into law by the president on August 5 after receiving unanimous approval in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate—a rare feat in D.C.

Elected officials generally work together when it comes to helping Americans achieve the goal of owning their own home … even if they don’t want to admit they agree on national TV.

Mark Lehman is vice president of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

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