Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. On Friday, January 20, 2017, President-elect Trump will be sworn into power in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unparalleled election. His presidency and the 115th Congress will have a far-reaching impact on the country and the multifamily housing industry. Even at this early date, the NMHC team is working to understand the results of this election and how it will impact our members.
No one, from pollsters and pundits, to the actual forecasting models of both candidates, predicted a Trump victory. But, because he galvanized low- and middle-income Americans from rural areas and those in the rust-belt with traditionally union and Democratic ties, and because turnout overall was lower than in recent contests, Donald Trump secured an Electoral College victory while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
He will be joined in Washington with an extraordinary amount of Republican support. The GOP-controlled Senate will be headed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and while leadership of the House is less certain, Speaker Paul Ryan will likely retain the gavel. The speakership remains unclear given the animosity that developed between Ryan and Trump during the campaign, but viable alternatives to Ryan aren’t apparent.
Given the clear majorities that the GOP will enjoy on both sides of the Capitol, Republican members are viewing the next two years as an almost once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enact their policy agenda. The Trump campaign was somewhat vague when it came to specific policy goals and imperatives. However, based on promises to supporters and key planks of the GOP platform, action is likely around a few certain areas. These include dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA), appointing a conservative Supreme Court justice, fulfilling the campaign pledge on immigration and building a wall to some degree, and passing an infrastructure development and tax reform package.
Further, a Republican controlled House and Senate will probably move quickly to roll back the regulatory infrastructure put in place during the Obama administration whether it’s EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, DOL’s final rule on overtime or the many Dodd Frank rules.
So, what does this mean for the multifamily housing industry? First, it is far too early to have a definitive understanding of what a Trump presidency will mean for any industry or business sector. However, on review of the potential issue areas that President-elect Trump will likely initially focus on, a combined infrastructure-tax reform package holds the most promise. If an infrastructure proposal were to be developed, NMHC would make the case with policymakers that it should incentivize the development and modernization of properties to help ease the current lack of housing supply. At the same time, our team would carefully monitor and take appropriate action on the tax reform side of the equation to protect areas of the tax code beneficial to the industry, while looking for opportunities to introduce new measures such as the Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit (MIHTC).
Ultimately, this election was a watershed moment for the country and modern politics. It has raised questions about the very makeup of our political parties and the nature of campaigning and electoral politics. In the lead up to November 8, NMHC took aggressive steps to position our industry across the political spectrum and we stand ready to have an impactful voice in the coming debates on behalf of our members and the multifamily housing industry.
For more analysis on the election, please review this Election Recap.