Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are among the places gaining in desirability as remote work has prompted homebuyers to seek more spacious, often more rural or suburban, properties, according to Realtor.com. These jurisdictions also are known as political battlegrounds or swing states. As erstwhile city dwellers continue their well-documented migration toward more agrarian abodes, how much might the movement sway the results of November's Presidential election?
"The ongoing trend of Americans migrating from densely populated typically Democratic urban areas to more affordable suburbs and rural areas that historically lean more Republican could potentially have an impact on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election," found researchers at Realtor.com. Their report revealed that most out-of-town searches for homes in the battleground states—namely Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (four of the 13 identified by a Politico analysis as battleground)—come from states and counties that lean blue.
Search patterns also indicated that, "with the exception of Georgia, the 30 states that went red in 2016 may be impacted one way or another by blue staters moving in. At the same time, eight blue states and the District of Columbia are seeing an influx of people from states that are red," reported Realtor.com.
The study took place over a three-year period, and those who conducted it ascertained political affiliation of the home searchers "is proportional to the distribution of their county of origin during the 2016 presidential election," they said. "It does not account for changes in political affiliation, other factors that may cause someone to shift their allegiances, or the migration of renters, who tend to move more frequently."
According to Realtor.com's Chief Economist Danielle Hale, shoppers have for a long time been searching for the bigger spaces and increased affordability of rural destinations but that the pandemic has caused this behavior to intensify. As for the vote, Hale said only time will tell.
"Although many factors will ultimately influence voting decisions, what we may learn in just a little over a month is whether these shoppers ended up changing the results in the states they moved into, or not. We know a number of blue staters' interest in swing state moves; but we just don't know how many of them actually did move, and whether they themselves vote Democratic or Republican," Hale said. "A critical question, as blue staters move to swing or red states, are they Democratic voters seeking out a more suburban or rural lifestyle, or are they Republican voters wanting to move out of a more Democratic neighborhood or do their political opinions shift as they move to areas that have traditionally supported Republican candidates? We may know how to better answer these questions, once the votes are counted."
A closer look at the four aforementioned battleground states by Realtor.com also revealed:
Florida (Red in 2016 and considered a toss up state in the upcoming election by Politico)
- Realtor.com analysis: The biggest share of non-local home searches in Florida are coming from Georgia (a red state in 2016) followed by New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California, all blue states in 2016.
- At the county level, the highest share of non-local searches in the state come from all blue counties -- Dekalb County, Ga., Cook County, Ill., Fulton County, Ga., New York County, N.Y. and Essex County, N.Y.
Michigan (Red in 2016 and considered to be leaning blue in the upcoming election by Politico)
- Realtor.com analysis: The biggest share of non-local home searches in Michigan are coming from Ohio, Illinois, California, Georgia and Florida.
- Although only two of the top viewing states are blue, the highest share of non-local searches are from blue counties -- Cook County, Ill., Summit County, Ohio, Dekalb County, Ga., Cuyahoga County, Ohio and Franklin County, Ohio.
Pennsylvania (Red in 2016 and considered to be leaning slightly blue in the upcoming election by Politico)
- Realtor.com analysis: The biggest share of non-local home searches in Pennsylvania are coming from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia. Of these five states, only Ohio was red in 2016.
- At the county level, the highest share of non-local searches in the state come from all blue counties, Washington, D.C., New York County, N.Y., Essex County, N.J., Kings County, N.Y. and Montgomery County, Md.
Wisconsin (Red in 2016 and considered to be a toss up in the upcoming election by Politico)
- Realtor.com analysis: The biggest share of non-local home searches in Wisconsin are coming from Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Iowa and California, three of which (Illinois, Minnesota and California are blue states).
- At the county level, four of the five highest share of non-local searches in the state come from blue counties -- Cook County, Ill., Lake County, Ill., Hennepin County, Minn. and Bucks County, Pa. The exception is McHenry County, Ill.
From Realtor.com: "This analysis is not a prediction of the outcome of the election. Whether these home searches benefit either political party depends on factors that cannot be accurately measured: first, Realtor.com does not have data on how many of these searches actually resulted in a move to a new market, though these searches have historically correlated well with migration patterns; and second, there is no way to determine the political leanings or party affiliation of those who do cross-market searches and/or ultimately move."