Last night, Donald Trump officially accepted the presidential nomination of the Republican Party on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Oddsmakers have given Trump about a 30 percent chance of winning the White House. Those are better odds than the ones he has already overcome to be the GOP nominee. If there’s one sure thing this election cycle it is this: Anything could happen.
So what would a Trump presidency look like for our industry?
No one really knows. Trump has no policy track record for us to judge. So right out of the gate we can predict uncertainty. And the markets hate uncertainty. If Trump wins, there’s a good chance we’ll see increased volatility as investors search for a clear sense of where he might lead.
At the same time, Trump and the Republicans have been clear about some major policy initiatives that will have a direct impact on markets and mortgages. Here’s what analysts and investors are expecting:
- Big banks won’t have many friends. The GOP platform had a big surprise this week. For the first time, it calls for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1980s era legislation that allowed commercial banks and investment banks to do business under the same roof. Repealing that legislation, while unlikely, would be a major blow to large Wall Street banks. Trump didn’t mention this plank in his speech last night, but he was clear that he intends to break up the “rigged system” that has given large corporations so much influence in politics.
- Bonds might suffer. In a normal cycle, you would expect the GOP nominee to call for fiscal restraint. Not Trump. His proposals for a border wall, fixing roads and bridges, and keeping many entitlement programs intact. This would likely lead to a larger deficit, especially in the short term. Analysts tend to agree more federal deficits hurt bond prices and push yields higher. If that happened, it would put upward pressure on interest rates.
- Builders, defense contractors and energy firms would smile. Trump (a commercial developer) and the GOP are calling for fewer regulations and increased spending to rebuild America’s infrastructure and military. This would add jobs and provide a boon to defense firms, oil and gas industries and commercial contractors. It may also trickle down to homebuilders as roads and public works receive new investment, spurring community growth.
- Immigration and trade policies would shift drastically. Trump wants to build a border wall and suspend immigration from countries afflicted by radical Islamic terrorists. Trump intends these policies to promote safety and protect the American worker. However, drastic changes to immigration policy would have a noticeable impact on the consumer economy and labor force since 11 million undocumented aliens live in the U.S. today. Trump also said last night he plans to renegotiate America’s trade agreements so we only deal with countries one-on-one, rather than large multi-country arrangements. This would introduce new uncertainty to companies that rely on imports and exports.
What did he say about the housing market?
Not much. Housing and mortgages haven’t been a major campaign theme. However, the GOP 2016 platform changed its stance from 2012 on Fannie Mae and other government-sponsored entities. After calling for the GSEs to be wound down entirely in 2012, Republicans have softened their stance and now say the “utility” of both Fannie and Freddie should be “reconsidered.”
The change in tone could be tied to the reality that Fannie and Freddie continue to provide most of the market for single-family home loans. “I think they wanted to set a marker out that there are some things that need to be changed [with the GSEs] but they’re not necessarily shutting them down,” Brian Montgomery, a former Federal Housing Administration commissioner, told National Mortgage News. “I’m just thinking or speculating that they realize that it’s much easier said than done.”
What about Hillary Clinton?
The Democratic National Convention is next week. Stay tuned.