This year's presidential election is perhaps the most heated in recent history. For months, Americans on both sides of the political spectrum have been grappling with pent-up (or not-so-pent-up) anger, confusion, and fear -- not just over the election's outcome but over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the related economic recession it's spurred.
It's not surprising, then, that many cities are gearing up for riots following the election. In fact, a number of retailers are already bracing for upheaval and taking steps to secure their storefronts and hire added personnel in anticipation of serious backlash.
Unfortunately, our postelection unrest may not be all that short-lived. No matter who wins, in the weeks and months following an announcement of our new president, we could see cities flooded with protestors, looters, and activists looking to make their voices heard. Not only might this impact local businesses at a time when they're already struggling but it could seriously change the landscape of residential real estate in the near term.
Will there be a big postelection suburban boom?
Americans -- particularly younger ones -- have been fleeing cities left and right in the wake of the pandemic, and postelection chaos could fuel that suburban influx even more. That presents a major opportunity for real estate investors -- those looking to add income properties to their portfolios. Rather than focus on buying in cities, investors may instead want to look to the suburbs -- particularly suburbs with a younger population and a thriving downtown to entice millennials, many of whom rent.
Of course, escaping riots and pandemonium is only one reason city dwellers might seek refuge in the burbs. For months, millions of Americans have been cooped up at home working remotely. Some of those who live in cities have been stuck sharing small spaces with their spouses and children, doing their best to coexist with minimal square footage. It's these people who may be especially itching to get out of the city and spread out, and fears of postelection upheaval may be just the thing to tempt them to move.
On the flip side, of course, real estate investors with income properties in cities may need to brace for vacancies in the coming months as their tenants seek out more space and less tension. Of course, the suburbs aren't technically immune to unrest -- protests could very well spring up there, too. But for the most part, it's fair to say that cities will bear the brunt of Americans' anger following the election, and that's something investors and landlords need to be aware of.
Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that we may not have an official verdict on our next president for quite some time following the election due to the number of mail-in ballots that will need to be counted. And that period of not knowing could fuel riots when tensions inevitably burst. It's something everyone will need to gear up for as our country navigates what could end up being its darkest weeks yet in 2020.