Many Still Insecure About Housing Affordability

In this job, I regularly receive email and telephone calls that qualify as balderdash. This I define as questionable information, typically involving online surveys from groups I have never heard of, sent in the hope that I will publish them as “click bait” without checking further than the end of my fingertips.

But one survey in particular, from the NHP Foundation, was not balderdash by any measure. The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making investments that preserve and create affordable multifamily housing for low- to moderate-income families and seniors. The foundation’s survey found that 75 percent of 1,000 Americans questioned were afraid of losing their homes; that 40 percent feared job loss would result in such a loss; and that 65 percent were “cost-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Worries that rents would be raised or retirement would bring deep income cuts also persisted. Affordable housing is housing for which occupants pay no more than 30 percent of their income. Those who spend more on rent or mortgages are considered cost-burdened. Why aren’t these survey figures hard to believe? Perhaps because a record number of Americans — I believe nearly 8 million between 2006 and 2013 — lost their homes to foreclosure. Many were victims of a now-discredited finance system that gave unqualified borrowers who didn’t have a prayer of ever repaying any amount they wanted — if only they could exhale after inhaling.

But many, many more were victims of the financial collapse brought on by this mortgage madness, including those who lost their jobs in downsizing, or whose wages were reduced to retain their employment, or whose spouses were laid off in the same cutback frenzy. It reminds me of a story of the London Blitz, when a woman stopped her car to give a married couple a lift to the wife’s sister’s in the countryside. “We were bombed out last night,” the husband told the driver. “Was it your house?” she asked. “Would have been Tuesday,” he replied. Think of the years of mortgage payments for a house that was turned to dust when a Dornier Do 17 medium bomber dropped a 500-pounder on it.

The effect the Great Recession and the bumper crop of foreclosures have had on millennials has been well-documented. Watching their parents struggle to keep their homes during hard times is often cited as a major reason that millennials choose to rent and delay buying. One interesting part of the NHP Foundation survey is that although most of the respondents believed that housing people could afford was important, 20 percent were “unlikely to welcome” it in their neighborhood.

Foundation president and CEO Dick Burns attributes this opposition to “an outdated concept of affordable housing.” “Today’s affordable housing is comprised of new and upgraded garden apartments and high-rises; amenity-laden developments that look nothing like ‘projects’ of the past,” he says. “It all starts with housing,” Burns says. “Without the underpinning of a secure place to live, it’s nearly impossible for an individual or head of household to find and keep a job and provide for themselves and their loved ones.”

Millennials Will Redefine The Economy

They’re known for bouncing around jobs, delaying marriage and holing up in their parents’ basements. Dubbed recently as the “children of the Great Recession” by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, millennials are the best educated and most diverse population of young people in U.S. history. They are also perhaps the most coddled, some would say spoiled. As they emerge this year as the United States’ largest demographic group—some 75 million strong—millennials are taking up the mantle as the most impactful generation since the baby boomers.

Their influence has started slowly, due largely to the economic instability that has left many struggling to find good-paying jobs and saddled with staggering student loan debt. But millennials—adults under 35—are certain to shape the economy for decades to come. And their coming of age in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has bred distinct traits that could pose special challenges for the nation’s future growth and prosperity. For starters, millennials are not big spenders, at least not in the traditional sense.

Millennials tend to prefer experiences over buying things and accumulating stuff. To them, an impressive selfie capturing a memorable moment is, in some sense, as enviable as a new car or fancy watch was to their parents.Neil Howe, an economist and demographer who coined the term “millennials” with co-author William Strauss, sees it as part of a redefining of American conspicuous consumption.

Instead of material wealth, millennials show off through their travels, hobbies and even meals, which get photographed and posted on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

“If you’re a foodie, you can go out and have some incredible dining experience, and then you can curate it almost as if it were a thing,” Howe said. Millennials are one reason restaurants have been doing well—and hiring so many workers. Dominick Ardis, 29, typifies his generation. In between jobs this year, the Tallahassee, Fla., resident scrounged money from family and friends so he could immerse himself in Hebrew studies this summer at Middlebury College in Vermont. Last year it was the art of glass-blowing. And before that he was getting voice lessons.
“Music is such an emotional and experiential event,” he said. Ardis is interested in his career and making money, too. It’s just that he’s got other things on his mind, like taking a trip to Cuba next year.

Such priorities may well give Ardis and his fellow millennials a more fulfilling, well-balanced life than, say, workaholic boomers. But that may not be great for a U.S. economy driven by consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the nation’s gross domestic product. Young Americans are unusually optimistic, which could propel purchases—and economic growth—as their disposable income increases. But they’re still not likely to have as much left over because so much is going to skyrocketing rents and education expenses.

The low home-buying rate of young adults already has been a big factor in the slow housing market. The homeownership rate for those under 35 slipped to a low of 34 percent this year, compared with around 40 percent for young adults in the prior three decades. And people today are getting married and having children later, which will weigh on home sales in the future. Like other millennials, Summer Lollie is keenly interested in having her own place. She wants something close to her parents’ two-story, four-bedroom house in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite where she grew up and currently lives, she says. But the 27-year-old community organizer can’t imagine how she will be able to save up for a down payment and afford a mortgage.

While Lollie’s parents never finished college, she graduated from Washington and Lee University, a well-regarded school in Lexington, Va. But with more than $35,000 in student debt and a car loan to boot, she has struggled to make ends meet. She moved back with Mom and Dad in April 2015, paying a little rent to them. There’s more than economics behind the living-at-home phenomenon, however. Lollie doesn’t mind the arrangement at all because she likes being with her parents—something more common among millennials than people of their age in previous generations. Experts think that reflects their protective upbringing and more frequent exchanges, thanks in part to the rise of texting and social media. “I have loving parents here,” Lollie said.

Another key difference with their predecessors, particularly Generation X, is that millennials are not big risk takers. That seems especially true when it comes to starting businesses. The rate of new startups is higher today than 10 or 20 years ago for every major age group—except those between 20 and 34 years old. The result is that the composition of new business formation, already turning grayer with the aging of baby boomers, has shifted even more sharply to older adults in recent years. Two decades ago, a little more than 34 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S. were younger than 34 years old. Today it’s just 25 percent.

Startups represent dynamism in the economy. New and young businesses have long created the bulk of new jobs in America, and are critical for productivity growth, too. Some would-be entrepreneurs are being held back by their heavy student debt load. Nonetheless, it’s puzzling that there seems to be relatively less entrepreneurial zeal among millennials, particularly since they grew up in an era when people like Facebook founder and millennial Mark Zuckerberg, 32, have been celebrated in business schools and popular culture. In fact, however, there’s evidence that young adults today would rather work for big companies than take their chances at budding firms or in their own garages. Compared to boomers, millennials are more interested in having the same job through most of their life.

Their relative risk-aversion may have something to do with the protective environment that parents and schools created for millennials, emphasizing participation over winning. Partly because of such pampering, millennials are more self-absorbed than prior generations, even narcissistic. But at the same time, research suggests that young adults today are also very community-minded. If baby boomers were known as the “me” generation, millennials might be called the “we” generation.

Majority Of Investors Want To Invest In Real Estate

Could real estate be the hottest trend in investing? While the concept itself isn’t new, confidence and intrigue in this investment strategy are high according to recent findings from a national survey of U.S. investors by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, which found 89 percent of U.S. investors surveyed are interested in incorporating real estate into their investment strategies. The results also revealed that 80 percent of U.S. investors surveyed believe a real estate portfolio is one of the best financial legacies they could leave for their family, so what could this mean for the real estate industry?

Real Estate Investors of Today and Tomorrow

  • Nearly all (96%) of U.S. investors surveyed who have invested in real estate believe their decision has helped them achieve some form of financial success:
    • 52% greater overall financial stability
    • 51% greater long-term net worth
    • 45% greater monthly cash flow
  • 94% percent of those who have invested in real estate are interested in making a future investment of this kind
    • 84% who have invested in real estate indicated that they willmake another real estate investment
      • 2 in 5 planning to do so in less than a year
    • 80% of investors surveyed who have never previously invested in real estate expressed an interest in making this financial commitment:
      • 96% of Millennial investors are interested in making a real estate investment, showing greater interest than their Boomer counterparts (83%).
      • Millennials are more drawn to personal real estate investments (79%) than commercial (49%).

Family Motivations behind Real Estate Investment

Despite capturing the public’s fascination through reality TV, only a small portion of respondents (29%) view property flipping as a beneficial real estate investment. Rather, research revealed that family is a driving motivation behind real estate investments.

  • 79% of investor respondents feel it is important to invest in a property that they could use for themselves or a family member at some point.
  • 83% of parents who invest would consider buying a property for or with their child or grandchild to:
    • Co-manage and profit from together (40%)
    • Manage and profit from it themselves (39%)
    • Have their children or grandchildren live in the home during college (35%)
    • Fund college tuition in the future (35%)

Investing More than Money

Unlike many other investments that can be made with the click of a button, real estate investments are often complex and require careful consideration. In fact, 89 percent of investors who have made a real estate investment in the last five years feel it is important for a real estate investment property to be geographically close, so that they could either manage or use it themselves.

For non-investors, this commitment can be a deterrent. Eighty-nine percent of non-real estate investors surveyed who cited concerns about jumping in on an investment property, the top reason was that they don’t know enough about investing in real estate (42 percent), followed by it requires too much time (41 percent), demands too much starting capital (35 percent) and that it is “risky” (28 percent). There is a clear need for real estate professionals and their insights – 30 percent would be more likely to invest if they had access to a real estate investment professional for advice, or resources to explain how to get started.

This need translates into a set of expectations. Approximately 53 percent of respondents expect a real estate agent to advise on managing the investment, as well as provide guidance on terms (49 percent) and down payment advice (47 percent).

To see consumer confidence of this magnitude is very promising. Through this research, we’ve discovered that a majority of investors, including Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, believe real estate is the best way to diversify an investment portfolio. What’s fascinating is that even when it comes to real estate investments, for many, there are still emotional drivers that accompany this type of transaction. Consumers are starting to look forward and see real estate as a viable investment strategy, and as an industry, we need to help educate and guide these individuals on the right path to achieve this goal.

The aspiration to invest in real estate is there, yet it is up to real estate professionals to explain the fundamentals and help to serve as strategic sources throughout the process. Our hope is that this research empowers our industry to provide the resources and develop the necessary information to accelerate this opportunity for both current and future real estate investors.

Tips For Buying Foreclosures

Despite increases in home prices and a stabilizing housing market, many experts say the foreclosure crisis is far from over. But buying a foreclosed home is different from buying a typical resale. In many cases:

— Only one real estate agent is involved.
— The seller wants a preapproval letter from a lender before accepting an offer.
— There is little, if any, room for negotiation.
— The home comes as-is, and it’s up to the buyer to pay for repairs.

On the upside, most bank-owned homes are vacant, which can speed up the process of moving in.

Buying a foreclosure is definitely a bit of a grind. It’s not easy. You’re getting fantastic pricing, but sometimes it takes going through a lot of houses and writing a lot of offers to get the home you want.

Get a Broker and Lender
The first two steps in buying a foreclosure should happen almost simultaneously: Find a real estate broker who works directly with banks that own foreclosed homes and get a preapproval from a lender.

First visit any site with a database of foreclosed homes. You also could look at a local real estate website that lets you filter the results to see only foreclosures. You might find the acronym REO, which means “real estate owned” (by a bank, that is). This signifies that a home has been through foreclosure and the lender is selling it.

Get a Broker on Your Side
The goal of combing through foreclosure listings is not to find a house; it’s to find an agent. Banks usually hire a few real estate brokers to handle their REO properties in a market. In a lot of cases, the buyer works directly with the bank’s broker instead of using a buyer’s agent. That way, the commission doesn’t have to be split between two brokers.

A lot of these realtors have a long-term relationship with these banks, and they know of listings that haven’t even come on the list yet. Call them about the listings that you’re interested in, but also ask them about listings that may be coming up because sometimes it may take a day or two or even a week before a listing actually comes onto the database.

In places where thousands of foreclosed properties are for sale, you might not get much one-on-one attention from overloaded agents. To prove that you’re serious about buying, right before or after you meet with the agent, meet with the lender.

Get a Preapproval Letter
Unless you plan to pay cash, you’ll need a recent preapproval letter from a lender. The letter will describe how much money you can borrow, based upon the lender’s assessment of your credit score and income.

The problem is, buyers want to find the house first, and then they think they’ll work out the financing. But the problem is, the really good deals on these bank-owned, they go quick — and the buyer doesn’t necessarily have time to try to work out the financing afterward. They need to work that out first.

Some first-time buyers make the mistake of assuming that the bank selling the home will also finance the mortgage as part of the deal. Don’t expect to get financing from the bank that foreclosed on it. That’s a totally separate transaction, and they view it that way. The people in the (bank’s) REO department are not loan officers. They are getting rid of bad assets.

Pricing Depends on Sales Pace
There’s no rule of thumb on what the bank’s bottom line is on price. Just as with any other real-estate purchase, you have to look at the recent sales prices of comparable properties, or “comps.”

You really have to look at the comps in today’s current market conditions and write a competitive offer based on that. Sometimes the bank prices the homes really low, and the home will have multiple offers over list price within hours. Sometimes it’s priced too high, and you can come in lower. A lot of times, buyers will come to me and say, We want to write offers for half price. It just doesn’t work that way.

Don’t Expect a Repair Discount
Keep in mind that foreclosed houses generally are sold as-is. Let’s say the house is listed for $200,000, all the comps are $200,000, and so the client comes in and said, Hey, look, I want to buy this house but I’ve got to do paint, carpet and fix some mold damage, so I want to take $15,000 off the price. You know what? All the other ones were in the same condition, and they sold for $200,000.

Look at the “absorption rate for your product class.” That means you should find out how quickly comparable houses are selling. In foreclosure, a 3,500-square-foot house with a pool in a gated community might sell within days or hours, whereas more modest homes might sit on the market for weeks.

If homes in your product class are selling swiftly, the best advice on a bank-owned property is to come in at your highest and best, unless the property has been sitting on the market forever with no activity. If you’re going to be upset because you would have gone $5,000 more, but you lost the property, just bid the higher price in the first place.

Are New Laws Impacting Real Estate in Your State?

New state laws relating to real estate have taken effect over the summer, many of which could impact homeowners, homebuyers and sellers in certain states.

One such law, enacted in California, equalizes the rules governing escrow services performed by real estate brokers, independent escrow companies and underwritten title companies (UTCs). The law, sponsored by the California Land Title Association, allows a UTC to handle transactions involving properties located in a county where it is not licensed, among other provisions.

Another California law, effective at the beginning of July, requires condominium projects’ annual budget reports include a statement about status as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-approved project and as a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-approved project.

A third law, new to California, requires mobile home park management to provide to buyers and sellers, in writing, the standards that determine the approval of a prospective homeowner; it also allows management to withhold approval based on concealment of material facts, deceit or fraud.

In Florida, a newly-enacted law allows property owners to challenge the property assessment indicated on their Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice. The owner, who may be represented by a real estate attorney, agent, broker or appraiser, can challenge the assessment before his or her county’s Value Adjustment Board (VAB).

Another new law in Florida addresses homeowners insurance coverage for sinkholes, which had previously been limited due to misuse of funds. The law mandates insurance companies offer coverage for moderate damage caused by sinkholes, such as cracked walls and sunken floors, and requires policyholders to document repairs.

In Virginia, a new law shortens the period in which a locality providing water or sewer service can discontinue the service for nonpayment—down to 30 days from 60. A similar new law in Virginia allows a locality providing water or sewer service to place a lien on a property in the amount of the number of months of nonpayment, versus up to three months under a previous statute.

Another new law in Virginia makes a litany of changes to existing legislation (the Property Owners’ Association Act and the Condominium Act), with provisions that:

  • Eliminate the requirement that an association retain a copy of the lease for a rented unit (it may, however, require the names of the tenant(s), authorized occupants and authorized agents, and vehicle information);
  • Prohibit a unit owners’ association from conditioning or prohibiting the rental of a unit, making an assessment, or imposing a rental fee or any other fee except as expressly provided for in law;
  • Prohibit associations from evicting tenants or requiring power of attorney to evict tenants, and prohibit associations from requiring power of attorney from landlords who are represented by an agent and present a property management agreement or equivalent document;
  • Prohibit associations from requiring use of their lease or addendum, unless association bylaws require that their addendum be attached; and
  • Provide that the unit owner may designate a licensed broker to act as the owner’s authorized representative with respect to any lease.

For more information on real estate-related legislation that went into effect this summer, contact your local or regional association of REALTORS® or your county or state representative’s office.

Dealing With An Underwater Mortgage

Back during the real estate bust, we fell behind on our mortgage and worked with our lender to get a loan modification. The lender added the delinquent amount to the end of the mortgage. Now, almost 10 years later, we have retired and are looking to relocate to a smaller house. Although our home’s value has increased, we still are “underwater” on the mortgage due to the modification. We contacted our bank, but we were told that there was no help for our fairly unique situation. There’s nothing we can do?

Your bank’s representative gave you bad information. Your situation is far from unique. You can wait it out or try to complete a short sale. In a short sale, your lender will agree to accept less than it is owed and will release you from the mortgage.

Your house has regained most of the value it lost when the bubble burst. In a few more years, as long as values continue to rise, you no longer will be underwater. You could stay in your home and possibly refinance or move to a new home and rent this one. However, being a landlord is not for everyone. Consider whether you are willing to deal with a tenant and all that goes with that.

I think a better option would be to try for the short sale. You’ll need to list your property with a real estate agent and sign a contract with a buyer at market price. Then you apply to your lender for a short sale by filling out paperwork that is similar to the loan modification process. You’ll have to follow up consistently with the lender until the deal is approved.

Many people completed short sales during the housing collapse, and many complained that the process took too long and was fraught with bureaucracy. This still would take substantial time and effort, though it shouldn’t be as hard now that fewer people are seeking short sales. And it almost certainly would be faster than waiting out an underwater mortgage.

REPOST: 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 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® 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® 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.”

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,”’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

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,”’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 isJacksonville, FL.

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, Calif., 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,”’s Smoke says. “The way of life is clearly different between the two.”

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