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An Important but Unspoken Buyer Worry? Politics

OCTOBER 17, 2022

By Kerry Smith


In polite conversation, no one discusses politics. But in a polarized America, more homebuyers are concerned about a potential area’s political leanings.


SEATTLE – One in five (19%) homebuyers say they only want to live in a place where abortion is legal, up from 12% last year. On the other hand, one in 10 (11%) do not want to live anywhere where abortion is legal, down from 15% last year.


Most hot-button political issues – abortion, gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. – have people on both ends of the political spectrum either being drawn towards, or repelled from, areas of the country based on those beliefs.


Many Americans in the middle politically may not accept or reject areas out of hand based on political beliefs, but a metro’s political leanings is often one of the things listed on their must-have and would-prefer future home attributes.


SEATTLE – One in five (19%) homebuyers say they only want to live in a place where abortion is legal, up from 12% last year. On the other hand, one in 10 (11%) do not want to live anywhere where abortion is legal, down from 15% last year.


Most hot-button political issues – abortion, gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. – have people on both ends of the political spectrum either being drawn towards, or repelled from, areas of the country based on those beliefs.


Many Americans in the middle politically may not accept or reject areas out of hand based on political beliefs, but a metro’s political leanings is often one of the things listed on their must-have and would-prefer future home attributes.


Abortion

According to a recent Redfin survey, the increase in homebuyers and sellers who say they would only live in a place where abortion is fully legal comes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and gave states the power to ban abortions.


While not as set in their opinions, an additional 33% would prefer to live in a place where abortion is fully legal, up from 28% last year. An additional 12% would prefer not to live in where abortions are legal, down from 17% a year earlier.


“A lot of homebuyers are moving to Arizona because they like the politics here and/or don’t like the politics where they’re coming from,” says Heather Mahmood-Corley, a Redfin agent in Phoenix. While the state voted for Joe Biden in 2020’s presidential election, it’s generally considered more conservative than California and Washington, the home of a large portion of incoming homebuyers.


Still, politics isn’t a litmus test. In the survey, cost of living was the most important consideration when relocations – 59% said it’s among the important factors (respondents could select more than one factor), followed by crime/safety (53%) and home affordability (51%).


Gun control laws

A majority of homebuyers and sellers prefer a place with strong gun control laws.


More than one in five (22%) buyers and sellers would only live in a place with strong gun control laws, and an additional 39% would prefer to live there. Overall, that’s nearly triple the 10% who would not live in a place with strong gun-control laws and 12% who would prefer not to.


Respondents were more likely to cite gun-safety laws as an important factor in where they live than abortion laws. About one in five (21%) said state or local gun-safety laws are an important factor in choosing where to live, while 3% said they’re the most important factor.


LGBTQ

About half of respondents prefer to live somewhere with gender-affirming care for children, and one-third want to live in a place where LGBTQ classroom discussions are allowed.


More than half (58%) of respondents prefer to live in a place with laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation while 18% prefer not to live in a place with such laws.


Nearly half (47%) prefer a place where gender-affirming care for children is fully legal compared to 21% who prefer not to live in such a place. Gender-affirming care encompasses a range of medical interventions designed to support an individual’s gender identity, including counseling and medications.


About one-third (34%) prefer to live somewhere that allows classroom discussion of LGBTQ topics – but a slightly larger share (37%) take the opposite stance, preferring to live in a place that prohibits classroom discussion of LGBTQ topics.


Fifteen percent of respondents said LGBTQ rights are an important factor in choosing where to live, and 3% said LGBTQ rights are the most important factor.


Voting rights laws

Most buyers and sellers prefer living somewhere with strong voting-rights laws – but about 10% prefer not to. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of homebuyers and sellers would prefer living somewhere with strong voting-rights protections and/or easy vote-by-mail options; 15% percent prefer not to.


Fourteen percent of respondents said voting rights are important in choosing where to live, while 1% said they’re the most important factor.


All of these findings were from a national Redfin-commissioned survey of about 1,000 U.S. residents who recently bought a home or plan to buy or sell a home in the next year, fielded in August 2022. It’s compared with a Redfin survey fielded in August 2021; the 1,000 respondents to that survey moved in the 18 months prior to taking the survey. The results reported above are from a question asking homebuyers and sellers to rank their willingness to live in a place with certain state or local laws on certain political issues.


© 2022 Florida Realtors®

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