As analysts continue to digest the data being produced by the U.S. Census, what happened to the United States housing markets in the past decade begins to look all the more remarkable. For the first time since the Baby Boom hit the housing markets in the late 1970s, regional and local housing market differences are more important to consider than the overall level of demand. Although many analysts believe that it will take another five years in most urban markets to house all of the starter households left over from the Baby Boom, nevertheless, market to market differences have grown so profoundly that one wonders it it is even logical to talk about a "national" housing market: national housing statistics, yes, national housing market, no. In fact, if there is anything that the Savings and Loan debacle has taught the capital markets, it is that credit support of real estate projects is nice, especially if the guarantor is Uncle Sam, but that local market demand for what is being financed is just as important. Investing in housing in the 1990s will he characterized by radically different demand-supply equations that operate in individual markets. A comparative analysis of the housing characteristics of six major states should serve to highlight the investment challenge of the coming decade.

U.S Housing Characteristics

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