Although American builders run the gamut when it comes to political views, in the wake of Donald Trump’s overwhelming victory early this morning, many of them agree on one thing: They were surprised by the amount of support he received from voters across the country.
Beyond that, they differ widely in their reaction to the prospect of a President-Elect Trump and Republican-dominated Congress. BUILDER reached out to some outspoken (and brave) builders and industry experts to get their take on the news. Read on below to get a sense of how they view the next four years of presidential leadership. Want to add input to the discussion? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the "Join the Discussion" section at the end of the article.
I went to bed with a bit of despair in terms of what could happen if Clinton had won. I woke up to surprising news, a sense of relief it's over and a degree of excitement about what is to come. If we really want change, I think we are about to get it. Get ready, change is coming. It is going to be a memorable ride but it just might be the answer we all really want.--Alan Banks, chief marketing officer, Evans Coghill Homes, Charlotte, N.C.
This was the most shocking election outcome I can remember in my 49 years on this earth. I’m surprised and, frankly, disheartened. Like many, I viewed the election as a process of rationalizing and choosing between the lesser of the evils, I had faith that Clinton would prevail, and our country would make real progress towards curbing climate change. Mr. Trump is on record as saying he believes climate change is a hoax, so I can’t see any reason why he would support or create policies to push the green building and green housing market forward. And I can see many reasons why he’ll work to dismantle the progress that’s been made on this front by the Obama administration.--Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO, Shelton Group, Knoxville, Tenn.
I was totally surprised. He has not articulated the issues let alone developed any specific plans. What were people voting for besides change? If you vote for change it should be for the type of change you want not to just for change itself. Be careful of what you ask for you just may get it but not necessary get the change you are looking for.—Bob Myer, owner of Bob Myer Homes, Medford, N.J.
I was not surprised Trump was elected. Over the past eight years, Americans have become frustrated with a gridlocked Congress and the inability to get anything accomplished. People were fed up with the political machine and politics as usual, they were ready for a change.-Tony Crasi, president of Crasi Company, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and former president, Ohio Home Builder’s Association
The negative is he puts us in a time of uncertainty. The positive is he loves to win and will pivot if something is not working. Thus many of the crazy things he has said may just be “theater” and he might pivot quickly if there proves to be a better path.—Michael Maples, co-founder of Trumark Homes, Danville, Calif.
Impact on the housing industry
Who knows how Trump will affect the home building industry? Trump is unpredictable. He is incapable of leading people, creating any cohesiveness among people. He is cynical and negative, not something that generates confidence to an economy. Impossible to forecast because we have no idea what he wants to do and as important if he can do anything by creating a consensus with the House and Senate.—Bob Myer
It’s too soon to say how the new administration will impact housing. However, having a Republican president, Senate and House would not give me optimism as the Republicans haven’t a history of supporting affordable housing.—Martin Freedland, president of Berke Consulting, Atlanta
Because the president must rely on Congress to pass his proposed policies, it remains to be seen if soon-to-be President Trump can mend a lot of trampled fences and bring a divided house together. If he succeeds where many very good people have failed before him, that truly will be “The Art of The Deal.”—Tony Crasi
I think Trump's stated policies of lower taxes and higher infrastructure spending will lead to some rise in interest rates and some inflation. You could argue both of these are good for housing in the near term. It creates a buying urgency. Also, inflation, and potentially less regulation, could help the banks recover and that should help on construction loans and home loans. —Michael Maples
I expect the Trump administration will have benefits for the first-time home buyer. He understands helping the first-time home buyer achieve home ownership is good for families and for the economy. But, this only works with Fannie and Freddie in sound condition. I expect to see his administration work toward putting those two back on solid footing, benefiting us all.”-- Alan Banks
A move toward deregulation
Removing regulations is another pathway to what we experienced 10 years ago with the mortgage market, credit defaults, fair-housing laws, no-doc loans, etc. Furthermore, if Trump does cut taxes on the wealthy, cancels trade agreements, and runs up our debt, we will have another recession which will not bode well for the housing industry. –Martin Freeland
While many factors contribute to a strong housing market, in my opinion two of the most important are jobs and reasonable regulations. We now have a president-elect who like most presidential candidates before him has promised to do both, create a stronger economy which should stimulate job growth, and to make certain that over regulation doesn’t hinder that effort. If he succeeds in rebuilding our economy and keeping regulations reasonable then I believe our housing market can rebound to pre-recession levels or better.-- Tony Crasi
Less regulation of the bio-tech and drug companies (many are centered in California), could lead to renewed VC money for these companies that generate a lot of high paying jobs. Also, repatriation reform will give a lot of California companies huge amounts of cash to purchase/start new companies or technologies.—Michael Maples
This is a giant step backward for green building, and a giant step backwards for the environment. Thus, I think the outcome of the election is bad for the building industry. Will homes and buildings continue to be built? Of course. Will having a real estate mogul in office likely produce something favorable for the building industry? Probably. But will we see policies generated that make it more favorable to builders to make energy efficiency, air quality and renewable energy standard on all homes built going forward? I think no. And I think that’s ultimately bad for an industry that has an opportunity to lead an important change that’s not only good for the environment, it’s good for the health of our citizens and our national security.—Suzanne Shelton
The Trump administration can and will help the growth rate of the economy when he rolls back the EPA overreach in the Waters of the U.S. act. The overreach of the EPA hinders growth, reduces values for property owners, and drives up development costs, putting the dream of home ownership out of reach for more Americans.--Alan Banks
Labor continues to a significant constrictor on the home building industry’s growth. A wall between our neighbors to the South will not help to solve our labor shortage.-- Alan Banks
Our labor issue could get worse, not better, if he makes immigration of potential workers difficult at a time we are short on labor, and he wants to increase infrastructure spending (more jobs), and grow the economy. —Michael Maples
Bottom line, for all the change candidate Trump promised, I think he’ll work to keep the status quo in the building industry and/or create changes in policy that send us backwards 10-15 years. Some builders will rejoice in that. Those who have committed themselves to making sustainability standard in their homes will not.—Suzanne Shelton
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the "Join the Discussion" section below.