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Red vs. Blue States: What 8 Housing Differences Can Tell Us about the Election

By now, we’ve all come to grips with the fact that this is shaping up as the most monumental presidential election in (at least) a generation. The results in November will ultimately determine which way the Supreme Court will lean, who will be allowed into the country, how the nation will deal with Russia and China, even how we’ll pay for the roofs over our collective heads—or whether we’ll be able to. Conspiracy theories, email servers, taco bowls… Is there any aspect of American life that won’t be affected?

We’ve got it: It’s important. Even so, we’re getting a just a little bit played out, seeing that ever-changing electoral map every time we turn on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC—maybe even Syfy, Oxygen, and GOD TV.

It seems that every political wonk is obsessively fixated on that darn map, and whether Republican-voting states will remain red, Democrat-voting states will stay blue and where swing states will, well, swing in the upcoming election.

The data team here at realtor.com® has already examined the residential real estate and tax policies of both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. So this time, we decided to indulge our other obsessions—digging deep into the differences in how folks in blue, red, and swing states (which we’ve not so creatively dubbed purple states) actually live.

Who has the biggest homes? How about the most expensive residences? And while we’re on the topic, where do millennials stand the best chance of becoming homeowners?

We looked at data from Nielsen Demographics, Nielsen Scarborough, and Nielsen Financial, as well as our own, of course, to come up with our findings. We used Politico‘s list of those critical 11 swing states where the election will likely be won or lost—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—as well as its lists of established red and blue states.

Our analysis confirmed some long-held beliefs about the differences between the Grand Old Party and the Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But it also upended some of our preconceived notions, and may provide some insight into why each candidate can inspire fervent devotion in some, and sheer, unadulterated terror in others.

“It speaks to the diversity that is America,” says realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “It’s really tough to see that there’s any one candidate who could appeal to all Americans. We reflect the cultures and the way of living from where we come from.”

So let’s head to the realtor.com electoral map!

red_states_blue_states_map

1. Which states have the most expensive homes?

It’s long been known that Democratic strongholds, largely based in the Northeast and California, tend to be wealthier. Lucky them! The median household income in those states is $62,564—about 23 percent higher than red states, where it’s $50,820, and 13 percent more than in swing states, at $55,524.

And on top of that, 1.4 percent of households in left-minded blue states bring home $500,000 or more, which makes sense when factoring in all those six- and seven-figure bonuses on New York’s Wall Street and tech fortunes in California’s Silicon Valley. The percentage of folks making half-a-mil-plus bank may not sound all that high, but it’s 133 percent more than the percentage in right-leaning states and 75 percent more than in purple states.

Since liberal state denizens are earning more, it’s not exactly a tremendous leap of logic that their residences are also worth more. The median home value is $301,000—a whopping 91 percent more than more conservative swaths of the country and 59 percent more than those middle-of-the-road regions of America. Hawaii has the most expensive homes, followed by Washington, D.C., and California.

The ultra-critical swing state of Ohio has the least expensive homes, followed by the red states of Indiana and Kansas.

“What we’ve seen is a migration of people to the coasts of the country. It’s for jobs, it’s for amenities,” says Rachel Meltzer, an urban policy professor at the New School, in New York. “[But] there’s only so much land to build on—so prices are going to go up if people keep wanting to live there.”

2. Which states have the most homeowners?

Despite those higher incomes in liberal parts of the U.S., homeownership is highest in red states, where it simply costs less. About 67.9 percent of households in Republican-supporting states are homeowners—compared to 63.5 percent in Democratic strongholds and 67.8 percent in swing states.

“Owning a home is more attainable in red states, because the cost difference [in home prices] is substantially more significant than the income difference,” realtor.com’s Smoke says. “[And] you also get more in terms of space.”

The state with the highest rate of homeownership was none other than Vermont, the blue-as-you-can-get home of onetime presidential contender Bernie Sanders.

And the city with the highest homeownership rate is in another liberal stronghold, San Jose, Calif. The Silicon Valley city is one of the most expensive markets in the nation, as the next big tech stars compete over the very limited number of homes on the market, pushing up prices. The median list price of homes is $767,000 in the city, according to realtor.com.

Washington, D.C., the blue district that isn’t quite a state, has the lowest homeownership rate, followed by New York. Miami, in the swing state of Florida, was the city with the lowest rate of homeownership.

Many buyers in red states may not be raking in a ton of dough, but achieving the American Dream of homeownership only requires them to fork over about 26 percent of their median household income. Meanwhile, it takes 32 percent of a household’s income to buy a place to live in a blue state.

In a purple state? It’ll run you about 25 percent of your income to purchase your own place.

3. Who’s paying the most rent?

Renting ain’t a cakewalk in the liberal swath of the nation either, at an average $1,381 a month.

That’s quite a chunk of change—52.1 percent more than those in red states, where tenants shell out an average $904 a month. And it’s 34.9 percent more than renters are paying in purple states, at $1,204 a month.

“The cost of housing is directly tied to how much land is available,” realtor.com’s Smoke says. “The parts of the country that have an abundance of land have the lowest housing costs.”

4. Where are the biggest homes?

Homes are biggest where land is cheapest—and property is the least expensive down South and in rural America. You probably knew that. And those areas tend to vote Republican. You probably knew that, too.

For example, the median red state listing is about 2,000 square feet—about 210 square feet larger than in more left-leaning states and 100 square feet larger than homes in purple states.

The largest homes in the United States? You’ll find ’em in the red state of Utah. But the two cities with the most spacious digs were in a swing state: Colorado’s Denver and Colorado Springs.

Meanwhile, the smallest median square footage can be found in bluer-than-blue District of Columbia. That’s followed by the Hawaiian Islands, where space understandably goes for a premium.

The city with the tiniest median digs is Miami. (Notoriously cramped cities like New York likely didn’t make the list, as the only data available was at the metro level, which factors in surrounding suburbs.)

5. Where do folks own the most second homes?

Blue state buyers may not own as many homes, but residents in those areas are 14 percent likelier to own a second home. Got that? They’re also 9 percent more likely to own real estate as an investment.

It makes sense, since as we noted above, these folks are raking in more dough than their peers in more conservative swaths of the country.

6. Which states have the oldest houses?

Since many of the blue state cities are older than their red peers, the housing stock also has quite a bit more history. About 19 percent of all houses were built in or before 1939 in left-leaning hubs. That’s 95 percent more than red states, and 36 percent higher than in purple states.

Think about it: New York and Boston were founded more than 200 years before metros like Atlanta and Dallas were established in the mid-1800s.

7. Which states have the most mobile homes?

Those living in conservative states are 33 percent more likely to live in mobile homes, often found in trailer parks. They’re also most likely to wind up in manufactured abodes made in factories.

The highest concentration of mobile and manufactured homes are based in the red—and poor—state of Mississippi. The metro with the highest percentage of these lower-priced residences is Jackson, Miss.

The fewest mobile homes? Washington, D.C., and the blue state of New Jersey. The city with the lowest percentage of these homes is super-expensive San Francisco.

8. Who has the most solar panels?

Liberal states tend to have more eco-friendly residents, who are 12 percent more likely to have solar panels installed on the roofs of their homes than those living in other states.

The most panels by sheer number were installed in the blue state of California, whereas Hawaii has the highest percentage of residences with the eco-friendly power source. Silicon Valley’s San Jose, CA, is the city with the highest percentage of homes with solar panels.

The fewest number of panels are in the red state of Wyoming. Memphis, Tenn., was the city where the smallest percentage of residents invested in them.

The bottom line?

“[The analysis] was a perfect statement of why there are such differences politically between red and blue states,” realtor.com’s Smoke says. “The way of life is clearly different between the two.”

This article was originally posted on www.Realtor.com.

Time to Plan Your Fall Outing

NAR PULSE—Summer may be over, but fall is a great time to hit the road, especially for a long weekend getaway. You and your agents can save year round on car rentals with Budget®, a proud REALTOR Benefits® Program partner. From now until Oct. 31, get $10 off a 2-day weekend rental, in addition to saving up to 25 percent on base rates. See offer for terms and conditions. Click here to get started.

Credit Union Is Changing the Business Banking Landscape for the Better on Behalf of REALTORS®
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, a Division of Northwest Federal Credit Union, has NAR members’ back in business banking, having recently led the charge bringing  escrow accounts to the credit union industry. Their Real Estate Escrow Checking Account for brokers’ earnest money deposits has no minimum balance and no monthly fees. The Credit Union is a proud partner in NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Program. Learn more here.

September Is REALTOR® Safety Month
In honor of September being REALTOR® Safety Month, here’s a safety tip from the REALTOR® Safety Program: Social media usage has an impact on your safety. Carefully consider each item you share, and be aware that old posts, even if they’ve been deleted, may be copied or saved. See more at realtor.org/safety.

Home Prices Continue to Accelerate

Home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months, according to recent data from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.1 percent annual gain in July, up from 5.0 percent last month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.2 percent annual increase, down from 4.3 percent the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.0 percent, down from 5.1 percent in June.

Portland, Seattle, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last six months. In July, Portland led the way with a 12.4 percent year-over-year price increase, followed bySeattle at 11.2 percent, and Denver with a 9.4 percent increase. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending July 2016 versus the year ending June 2016.

Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.7 percent in July. The 10-City Composite recorded a 0.5 percent month-over-month increase while the 20-City Composite posted a 0.6 percent increase in July. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.4 percent month-over-month increase, the 10-City Composite posted a 0.1 percent decrease, and the 20-City Composite remains unchanged. After seasonal adjustment, 12 cities saw prices rise, two cities were unchanged, and six cities experienced negative monthly prices changes.

“Both the housing sector and the economy continue to expand with home prices continuing to rise at about a 5 percent annual rate,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The statement issued last week by the Fed after its policy meeting confirms the central bank’s view that the economy will see further gains. Most analysts now expect the Fed to raise interest rates in December. After such Fed action, mortgage rates would still be at historically low levels and would not be a major negative for house prices.

“The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index is within 0.6 percent of the record high set in July 2006. Seven of the 20 cities have already set new record highs. The 10-year, 20-year, and National indices have been rising at about 5 percent per year over the last 24 months. Eight of the cities are seeing prices up 6 percent or more in the last year. Given that the overall inflation is a bit below 2 percent, the pace is probably not sustainable over the long term. The run-up to the financial crisis was marked with both rising home prices and rapid growth in mortgage debt. Currently, outstanding mortgage debt on one-to-four family homes is 12.6 percent below the peak seen in the first quarter of 2008 and up less than 2 percent in the last four quarters. There is no reason to fear that another massive collapse is around the corner.”

“Despite recent data pointing to slower sales, home prices continue to rise faster than incomes in many areas,” says Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield. “Low inventory will continue to be a challenge for buyers looking for the right home and can cause those bidding to be more aggressive on the house they finally want to purchase.”

For more information, visit www.spdji.com.

New Home Sales Tumble in August but Still Top Projections

Sales of new single-family houses in August slipped 7.6 percent, but remain above monthly projections, according to new results from the Commerce Department. Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000, soaring 20.6 percent above the August 2015 estimate of 505,000.

So what are homes selling for? According to the study, the median sales price of new houses sold in August 2016 was $284,000. The average sales price was $353,600. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 235,000. Currently there is a steady home supply of 4.6 months.

This new data shows that although sales took a small tumble, they are rising above projections. Prices are steady, supplies are solid, and the market appears to be on a good track for the rest of the year.

On Monday’s report, realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke stated, “Based on recent data, you might think that the housing market took a turn for the worse in August – but it didn’t. In fact, we are seeing good signs that the new home market is finally growing substantially, with sales of new homes up bigtime over this time last year and so far this year. It looks like these gains are happening because builders are shifting product towards more affordable price points and responding to strong demand by building with contracts in hand. This August only 30 percent of new homes sold were already completed.”

Smoke continued, “Even with a continued lack of homes on the market, total home sales are up 4 percent over last year.  That shows a clear shift in the composition of sales – new homes have more room to grow while existing homes are limited by their owners’ willingness to sell.”

Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield offered the following comments on the report:

“It’s encouraging to see strong demand for newly constructed homes persist as we reach the tail-end of summer. While we’d always like to see a bit more inventory come into play, housing continues to be a bright spot in the overall economic picture.”

For more information, visit www.census.gov.

Realogy Appoints John Peyton as President and Chief Operating Officer

Realogy Holdings Corp. recently announced the appointment of John Peyton to the newly created role of president and chief operating officer (COO) for its subsidiary, Realogy Franchise Group (RFG). Peyton, formerly the senior vice president of brands and shared services for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., will begin at RFG on Oct. 13. Alex Perriello, CEO of the Realogy Franchise Group, will now focus primarily on strategic growth while Peyton will be responsible for the operational management of Realogy’s franchise brands.

Peyton is a recognized global branding leader in a multi-brand environment. He is adept at leading large, complex global structures to maximize the benefits of scale while enabling innovation and flexibility. During his 17-year tenure with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, he combined his expertise in global operations and brand building to drive innovation and ensure the market positioning of the company’s leading hotel brands, which include: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, Element and Design Hotels.

“John Peyton brings extensive strategic leadership experience with world-class brands from his time at Starwood as both an operator and a franchisor in a multi-brand organization,” says Perriello. “We are excited about the fresh perspective and valuable insights he will bring from the luxury hotel and leisure industry to our franchisees and their affiliated agents.”

“Realogy has a tremendous portfolio of brands that is unrivaled in the real estate industry,” says Peyton. “The Realogy Franchise Group is well-positioned for continued growth and innovation, and I look forward to helping accelerate its growth trajectory.”

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©2015 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.®  Equal Housing Opportunity.  Licensed in Virginia.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier, REALTORS
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Phone: 540-343-5000
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Daleville, VA 24083
Phone: 540-966-3033
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