A young couple looks at a laptop with concern.

Housing affordability is a top election issue for young voters 

91% of Gen Zers in a recent survey said the cost of housing will play into who they vote for in November’s presidential election.

June 4, 2024
2 minutes

With low inventory and high demand continuing to push home prices to new heights, affordability has become a top concern for would-be buyers — especially the youngest ones. And it's an issue that could influence the upcoming presidential elections, the results of a new Redfin survey suggest, as younger buyers struggle to afford home purchases.

A major issue for Gen Z: The survey asked homeowners and renters which issues would be most important when they go to the polls in November. While housing affordability was a concern for all respondents, it was the No. 1 issue among those in the Gen Z cohort, with a staggering 91% of Gen Zers surveyed saying housing affordability will be a factor in their choice of candidate this fall.

Among Gen Z voters, housing affordability ranked higher than other hot-button issues like education, gun rights, immigration and reproductive rights. 

What the experts said: "Housing affordability is a cornerstone of this year's presidential election because even though the economy is fairly strong, unemployment is low and wages are rising, buying a home feels impossible for many Americans," Redfin Senior Economist Elijah de la Campa said in the report.

"This is particularly the case for young people, who have seen the  cost of starter homes increase twice as fast as incomes."

How other generations responded: Affordable housing ranked highly among all generational cohorts.

Among millennials, it was the third-most important election issue, while Gen Xers put housing affordability in fourth place after education, preserving democracy, and the strength of the overall economy. Boomers saw it as less of a priority, ranking it sixth among the issues presented.

The bigger issues with affordability: There are many factors playing into the current squeeze on homebuyers, including high borrowing rates, high construction costs and issues with local zoning — all of which have contributed to the undersupply of housing — as well as the mortgage rate lock-in effect, which has kept some homeowners from selling. 

High interest rates also mean costlier mortgages, and it's unlikely that the Federal Reserve will make any dramatic moves to cut rates until inflation is tamed further, experts said last week when the latest pending home sales and mortgage rate data was released.

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