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Election Uncertainty Puts Pause on Real Estate Decisions, Brokers Say

By Amy Zimmer | November 7, 2016 4:26pm
 Some real estate brokers saw buyers and sellers taking a pause because of the election, a report found.
Some real estate brokers saw buyers and sellers taking a pause because of the election, a report found.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

The presidential election is causing some serious anxiety among New York City’s real estate brokers, according to a report released Monday from the Real Estate Board of New York.  

Concerns over the nation’s political future and the presidential election drove down confidence in the third quarter of 2016 to its lowest point since hitting an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the REBNY’s Real Estate Broker Confidence Index.

Overall broker confidence for the market was 6.46, representing a 1.34-point drop from the previous quarter. And the report indicates that confidence is only expected to drop further in the next six months, down to 5.29.

“This election cycle has put pressure on brokers’ optimism despite the sustained health of the real estate market in New York City,” John H. Banks, III, REBNY president, said in a statement. “Their uncertainty is being affected by ongoing economic and governmental issues that have impacted the pace of decision-making on a local and national scale.”

The election has caused some buyers to pause and take a “wait-and-see” approach, brokers have said. 

Locals were holding off on purchases because of the election, according to some surveyed by REBNY, as well as foreign buyers, who were also growing more cautious because of the questions surrounding Nov. 8.

On the commercial side, concerns about the country’s political future and banking regulations also had an impact on confidence, along with worries that government regulations and lending were affecting banks’ abilities to finance transactions, thereby causing delays for deals to close.

“Several clients have put off selling and/or buying homes until after the election, most likely until 2017 to see how the market plays out,” one residential broker said, according to the report.

Some brokers were hopeful that the market would see more activity once the dust settles after Tuesday.

“There should be a bounce in activity after the election,” one commercial broker predicted.

But some believe that macro-forces are overblown when it comes to people making decisions about buying or renting in the city.

“I don’t worry about the economy, market or government,” another residential broker said. “Every day someone is going to buy or rent a property.”