Explaining Southern California's economy

Visual Aid: Foreclosure starts in 2008 vs. 2012 — and in blue and red

Foreclosure starts have been falling just about everywhere that went for Obama in 2008. But look at how much work is still to be done in L.A. County.

Real Estate listing and analytics service RealtyTrac has put together what it's calling, with no shortage of good timing, an "Election 2012 Housing Health Check," comparing the state of American housing now with four years ago.

Five metrics went into the analysis: average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and share of distressed sales. The bottom line? According to RealtyTrac, 65 percent of local housing markets are "worse off than four years ago." 

But here's something interesting: on foreclosure starts, activity declined from four years ago in most counties won by President Obama while it generally increased in counties won by his then-challenger, Sen. John McCain. 

Some of this is due to sheer volume and the scale of the foreclosure crisis four years ago. If you look at the chart above — conveniently broken out into blue (for counties Obama won) and red (for counties McCain won) — you can see that the foreclosure problem in Los Angeles County couldn't have gotten much worse. And in four years, it's improved dramatically. But L.A. Country is still well ahead of the rest of the country in the number of foreclosure starts.

The region made up a lot of ground. But there's a long way to go, even if things are indisputably better of today than four years ago.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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