Many people woke up today more excited than they've been in a while. Others are among those who crashed the Canadian immigration site last night as election results started to clarify. Whether or not your candidate was the one accepting the U.S. Presidency in the middle of the night or the one holing up in her hotel wondering what on Earth just happened, you probably have the same question today: What does this mean for me?
And maybe you have a few dozen more questions, like: How are my retirement accounts? Should I move money around? Should I liquidate? Something else? What are my taxes going to look like now? And what about real estate? Where are home values going? Can we expect prices to hold or are we looking at another crash, and should I buy, sell, stay, rent, invest, or do nothing at all?
There's so much to figure out. Let's dive in.
Election rhetoric focused on Trump's tax protection for the mega-rich has been rampant, but it's a little more complicated than that. "There has been much talk about the need for tax reform - a move to a more simple, fair, manageable system free of loopholes and special interests, Forbes. "There is nothing stopping the GOP from doing just that over the next four years."
In a nutshell, his plans include:
Lower and fewer tax rates, with a streamlining of the seven current tax brackets down to three "Goodbye Obamacare," said Forbes. The elimination of the estate tax, which would mean an end to the 40% taxation above $5.45 million after death "Huuuge business tax cuts" from 35% to 15%, and an end to most business deductions Capping itemized deductions, which could mean that "certain low-income taxpayers take a hit," said Forbes. The rich get richer - "According to the Tax Policy Center, the totality of the Trump plan will reduce federal tax revenue by $6.2 trillion over the next ten years," said Forbes. "Of those tax cuts, nearly 47% will go to the richest 1%. To put it into dollar terms, those earning less than $48,400 will experience an annual tax cut of less than $400, while those earning in excess of $700,000 will walk away with an average of an extra $215,000 per year."
The stock market
The country's immediate response as a Trump win became more probable last night was to tank the Dow Jones, which dropped by some 750 points. The stock market opened calmly this morning and has started to regain some of last night's losses. But take a look at some of the more interesting stories:
Healthcare stocks are down but pharmaceutical stocks are soaring - a response to a projected "end to Obamacare and a less aggressive approach to drug pricing expected," said Fortune.
Shares in biotech companies are also sharply rising.
Shares in steel producers and defense firms are "are leading the rally," said The Guardian. "That's because traders are anticipating a surge in infrastructure projects (and) military spending." "Shares in Smith & Wesson, the firearms maker, have tumbled by 10% today." A Clinton loss apparently means people don't need to stockpile guns.
Before you start to think that an influx of Americans running for the northern border could impact Canadian real estate in a positive way, consider this:
"Historically, Americans have been the largest foreign buyer segment in the Canadian commercial and recreational market," Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage, told MoneySense. "Part of the reason is the relative affordability of our recreational properties based on the strength of the American dollar. But if the U.S. greenback were to dip in value—say, because of a global lack of confidence of the newly elected leader - this would certainly impact Canadian recreational real estate prices. And that impact could last years. Just look at the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick recreational market. These markets plunged as much as 60% after the 2008/2009 financial collapse, when Americans pulled out en mass. Some of these markets are still in the process or recovering, almost a decade later."
As for how the results of the election impact the American real estate market, well, that remains to be seen. There are lots of opinions about how the Trump presidency could sway home prices and values nationally and in key areas.
One potential place of concern is Silicon Valley, not only because the area has been in bubblish territory for some time, but also because it's so heavily driven by the tech economy. "The broad strokes with which (Trump) painted his economic policy don't bode well for venture capitalists or the broader tech community," said TechCrunch. "If Trump moves ahead with his plan to impose steep tariffs on goods manufactured in China (essentially rolling back more than twenty years of economic policy focused on increased economic interdependence), it won't bode well for any American company that relies on the global supply chain."
And that could have a negative trickle-down effect on the local real estate market, which is bolstered by employment at Apple, Google, Netflix, eBay, and the like. Introduce heavy taxes that hamper Silicon Valley growth or even day-to-day business, and then what happens?
South Florida could also be an issue. Just before the election, a couple of Latin American legal experts warned that a Trump presidency could make investors feel unwelcome in the region. "A victory by Trump would mean more restrictions and more scrutiny of money coming in," Akerman LLP partner Luis A. Perez told The Real Deal. "If he prevails, Latin Americans would see it as the U.S. rejecting investments and immigration originating from Latin America. That would have a profound impact in Miami."
The Fiscal Times reported months before the election that a Trump presidency could "stymie" the progress the real estate market has seen over the past several years and damper home values. "Home prices have increased almost a third since hitting bottom four years ago," they said. 100+ experts were involved in a survey looking at the impact of different presidential candidates, and they gave Trump negative marks in the three real estate-related forecast categories: "Expected Impact on Home Value, Expected Impact on Housing Finance Reform, and
Expected Impact on Overall Economic Outlook.
But, it would surprise few if a man who made his fortune on real estate chooses not to protect those who are similarly inclined, investment-wise.
"It's hard to imagine a tax code more favorable to real estate developers than the one we already have. Donald Trump has come up with one," said the New York Times. "Thanks to some major loopholes in the existing tax code that treat real estate developers as a special privileged class, it's entirely possible (even likely) that Mr. Trump pays little or no federal income tax. But Mr. Trump's new tax proposal doesn't just preserve those breaks, it piles on new ones for real estate developers like Mr. Trump himself — at an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion in tax revenue over a decade."
If that sounds like something you might want to take advantage of... someday, you can check out a few alternative ideas for "how to profit from Donald Trump's victory," now on MarketWatch (Hint: Buy gold).