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In a rematch for the presidency, former president Donald Trump and President Joe Biden took the stage during their first presidential debate of 2024. 

There has been plenty of media coverage this morning detailing the highlights (and lowlights) of the debate. But here, we’re keeping the focus on housing. 

Housing affordability was found to be the number one priority for Gen Z voters, with 80% of all generations saying that it will factor into their voting decision. And in seven swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—a recent poll showed that “housing affordability and availability” came in as the fifth most important issue, tied with healthcare. 

Despite housing and affordability being hot topics in today’s economy, Biden mentioned it only two times in last night’s presidential debate, while Trump did not mention housing at all. 

Let’s take a look. 

Mentions of Housing During the Presidential Debate on June 27, 2024

The first mention of housing came from President Joe Biden’s first remarks. At 2:43, Biden was given the first question from moderator Jake Tapper:

Tapper: “Let’s start with the issue that voters consistently say is their top concern: the economy. President Biden, inflation has slowed, but prices remain high. Since you took office, the price of essentials has increased. For example, a basket of groceries that cost $100 then now costs more than $120, and typical home prices have jumped more than 30%. What do you say to voters who feel they are worse off under your presidency than they were under President Trump?”

During his response, Biden discussed housing affordability, mentioning a new set of housing initiatives announced by his administration in March to lower the costs of homeownership and build more homes. 

The full response begins at 3:15, with mentions of housing starting at 3:54.

Biden: “I come of (a) household where, the kitchen table, if things weren’t able to be met during the month, it was a problem. The price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of housing, and the price of a whole range of things. That’s why I’m working so hard to make sure I deal with those problems. We’re going to make sure that we reduce the price of housing. We’re going to make sure we build two million new units. We’re going to make sure we cap rents so corporate greed can’t take over.” 

The second and final mention of housing came nearing the one-hour mark, again by Biden. At 55:18, moderator Dana Bash asked:

Bash: “President Biden, while Black unemployment dropped to a record low under your presidency, Black families still earn far less than white families. Black mothers are still three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, and Black Americans are imprisoned at five times the rate of white Americans. What do you say to Black voters who are disappointed that you haven’t made more progress?”

Biden began his response at 55:44 by outlining three points, including one about housing:

Biden: “Number one, the fact of the matter is there’s more small Black businesses that have been started than in any time in history. Number two, the wages of…Black unemployment is at the lowest level it has been in a long, long time. Number three, we find… providing housing for Black Americans and dealing with the segregation that exists among these corporations…that collude to keep people out of their houses.”

You can watch the full debate here.

The next presidential debate is scheduled for September 10, 2024, at 9:00 p.m. ET. We’ll be tuning in to see if the candidates discuss housing further.