How Red State/Blue State Differences in Housing Might Tip the Election

Aerial homes

JamesBrey/Getty Images/realtor.com

We’ve listened to the pundits, suffered through the debates, scrutinized the polls, and squinted at that ever-changing electoral map. Everyone, it seems, is desperately trying to get a true read on what’s going to happen, in one of the most bitterly contentious presidential elections our nation has ever seen.

There is no shortage of critical issues hanging in the balance: the pandemic, the economy, national health insurance, climate change, race relations, oh my! It seems at times that the United States has never been more sharply divided.

But where do the deeply etched red-state/blue-state splits really come from? And how much can the huge housing differences across the nation tell us about how we got here—and where we’re going? We turned to the data to find out.

We analyzed eight major housing indicators, to see how greatly they diverged between red, blue, and swing states.

To come up with our findings, realtor.com® analyzed internal data to come up with metrics for home and rental price, price appreciation, home size, and inventory. We took the age of homes and the homeownership rate from U.S. Census Bureau data. The second-home information came from Optimal Blue, a real estate data firm specializing in lending information.

We can’t pinpoint the exact cause of the rancor that’s developed between many Republicans and Democrats. But we can look at the substantial housing differences that may be contributing to the divide. They include everything from blue-state denizens paying a whole lot more for their homes and rentals, to those in red states having larger homes to live in.

“Life can be really different, depending on where you live,” says realtor.com’s chief economist, Danielle Hale. “That’s reflected in different real estate norms, and it has a role in how you view your life and your priorities and values.”

She adds, “Owning a home literally gives people a stake in the ground, and that seems to translate into [more of] an incentive to vote.”

The analysis identified 20 red states, 17 blue states plus Washington, DC, and 13 swing states. We used Politico’s designations to break out swing states. They included Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

So as President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden enter the homestretch, what are the some of the biggest housing differences between red, blue, and swing states that might help push them to the finish line?

1. Where are home prices the highest—and the lowest?

Red: $249,650*
Blue: $424,500
Swing: $310,698

Home prices are top of mind for just about everyone. A strong housing market has traditionally been a sign of a strong economy. This year, everything is topsy-turvy, though, with home prices shooting up to new heights in most of the country, despite a recession.

In this pandemic-induced downturn, prices are soaring instead of falling, thanks to record-low mortgage rates and to Americans wanting larger spaces of their own where they can quarantine.

The median home list price hit an all-time high of $350,000 nationally in September, according to realtor.com.

Home prices are typically highest in blue states, where residents often make more money, which allows them to afford their expensive places. Some of the nation’s biggest and priciest cities are in these liberal-leaning states, which boast thriving job markets, highly skilled workers, and more cosmopolitan populations.

That’s why a teeny-tiny home in San Francisco or Manhattan is going to cost a whole lot more, and attract more interested buyers, than a much more spacious abode in a rural community with a struggling economy. There are simply fewer good jobs to attract new residents to rural areas.

“A lot of the differences you see between red states and blue states reflect the urban-rural divide. Urban areas have traditionally voted more Democrat, and rural areas have typically voted more Republican,” says Jonathan Bydlak, interim director of the governance program at the R Street Institute, a libertarian think-tank.

In this year’s election, he adds, “We’ve seen an increased polarization between urban and rural lines.”

The most expensive homes are in bluest-of-blue California. The median home list price was a mind-boggling high of nearly $725,000 statewide in September.

Homes in red states were significantly cheaper, because many of them have economies that are not as strong. In deep-red West Virginia, the median home list price was just under $170,000.

2. Where have prices risen the most since the last presidential election?

Red: 30.9%**
Blue: 26.5%
Swing: 35%

Home list price and appreciation

Tony Frenzel

Home appreciation, a nightmare for first-time buyers and a godsend for sellers, is strongest in the current swing states, which tend to be going through a demographic shift.

Many of these purple places have become the new ‘It’ areas to be. They have growing job markets, creating all kinds of new opportunities; lots of culinary, cultural, and recreational amenities; and lower prices than the big cities on the coasts.

As these states lure folks away from liberal locations, the new residents are changing the political coloration of many of these formerly more conservative areas. And all that new demand for a limited amount of homes for sale is driving prices up, up, up.

“Rising home prices can be good or bad, depending on whether you already own a home,” says realtor.com’s Hale. “They create equity for owners that can be tapped for remodeling, invested in a business, or leveraged for a down payment on a future home. But for renters hoping to become owners, they can make the goal of owning a home seem frustratingly unattainable.”

Home price appreciation soared the most in New York, where it rose 88.8% in the period between September 2016 and September 2020. Yikes!

The blue state of Hawaii saw the only loss in appreciation, of -2.7%. This drop in value is probably related to the pandemic. Many potential buyers, particularly international buyers from Asia, weren’t willing to fly to the South Pacific islands to view properties in the midst of a health crisis (only to endure enforced quarantine once they got there).

The red states of North Dakota, West Virginia, and Alaska reaped the next smallest gains in property values, with appreciation of just 1.3%, 6.3%, and 8.8% respectively.

3. Where has the number of homes for sale fallen the most since the 2016 election?

Red: -54%**
Blue: -49%
Swing: -59%

Housing inventory

Tony Frenzel

The historic lack of homes on the market has become one of the biggest challenges for buyers. Even those with steady jobs, hefty down payments, and the ability to secure a mortgage with record-low rates are struggling to find a home of their own.

The number of properties for sale is down the most in swing states, for the same reasons why home appreciation is the highest there: They’re becoming increasingly desirable places to live, so they’re attracting new residents. Builders can’t keep up with the demand. So it’s tougher to find a home, and prices are rising.

Inventory was down the most both in the swing state of New Hampshire and in the red state of Idaho—by 71% in both instances. In Idaho’s case, it’s likely due to all of the Californians and tech workers moving in. The state has a burgeoning tech sector, lower home prices, and a more reasonable cost of living than the Golden State.

The number of homes for sale rose in just two spots: Washington, DC, at 29%, and Hawaii, at 9%. It’s an election year, so it makes sense that many folks in DC are planning to sell and move back home.

4. Where are homes the biggest—and the smallest?

Red: 1,989 square feet
Blue: 1,839 square feet
Swing: 1,868 square feet

Home size

Tony Frenzel

It’s not exactly a surprise that homes are biggest in red states, which tend to be located in the South and Midwest, where land and construction labor is usually cheaper, and there are fewer building and zoning regulations. It’s easier to go big.

Homes in the red state of Utah had the most median square footage, at 2,546 square feet. Meanwhile, homes in Washington, DC, had the least, at 1,136 square feet.

There simply isn’t much vacant land available in many of the big, blue cities to put up new housing. Think the heart of Manhattan versus the plains of Nebraska. So buyers make do with smaller condos, townhomes, and duplexes.

5. Where are the oldest and newest homes?

Red: 41 years
Blue: 46.5 years
Swing: 44 years

It seems that just about everyone these days is seeking a HGTV-ready home with granite countertops, a soaking tub, and droolworthy hardwood floors. (That could be because they’ve been stuck at home, binge-watching the channel, since the pandemic began shutting the country down in the spring.) But many buyers simply can’t afford, or can’t find, new construction.

The youngest homes are in the red states, which are often alive with the sound of busy building crews.

On the flip side, the oldest homes tend to be in Democratic strongholds, like Boston, where the nation was founded.

“Homes are going to be older in urban areas,” says R Street’s Bydlak. “East Coast cities are the core base of the Democratic Party, and those are some of the oldest parts of the country.”

The newest homes were in the swing state of Nevada, at an average of just 27 years old. New York had the oldest homes, at an average age of 60—practically senior citizens.

6. Do Democratic or Republican states have higher homeownership rates?

Red: 60%
Blue: 57%
Swing: 59%

Homeownership rate

Tony Frenzel

Homeownership rates were just a tad bit higher in red states, which also offer less expensive home prices. Makes sense, right?

And homeowners tend to be a little more conservative than renters, says John Weicher, director of the Center for Housing and Financial Markets at the Hudson Institute, a conservative-leaning think-tank in Washington, DC.

“If you own your own home, you’ve got [more of] a stake in society,” says Weicher, who served as an assistant secretary of housing for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the first term of President George W. Bush. Homeowners, he notes, are more likely to want to protect their net worth and vote on issues that can affect their finances, such as taxes.

The swing states Iowa and Minnesota had the highest homeownership rates, at 65%. That means about two-thirds of folks in those states own the roofs over their heads.

The blue stronghold of Washington, DC, had the lowest homeownership rate, just 38%. That’s probably because the makeup of the city shifts, depending on which party is in power. So politicians, their staffs, government appointees, lobbyists, and a whole host of other workers are continually cycling in and out.

New York had the second-lowest rate of homeownership, of 47%, followed by Hawaii and California, at 50% and 52% respectively.

7. Median monthly rental prices for one-bedroom apartments

Red: $877
Blue: $1,564
Swing: $1,150

The priciest places for buyers also tend to be the most expensive for renters. The big, blue cities, where the good-paying jobs, top-rated restaurants, and all the best museums, theaters, and sporting facilities can be found (many of them are still shuttered by the pandemic), are typically the priciest of them all.

That could explain why red-state renters got the best deals—particularly those in Oklahoma. Rents for one-bedroom apartments were lowest in Oklahoma, at $710 a month, followed closely by West Virginia at $715 and Arkansas at $717.

Meanwhile, the most expensive states for home buyers were also the priciest for renters—and they were overwhelmingly blue. New York renters shelled out the most, at a median $2,599—nearly four times what folks paid in Oklahoma. The second-highest rents were in Massachusetts, at $2,228, and the third-highest were in California, at $2,225.

8. Highest percentage of second homes

Red: 5%
Blue: 8%
Swing: 4%

Blue states may have low homeownership rates—but they also have the highest percentage of vacation homes. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming!) The idea of weathering the pandemic in a beach house or a cabin in the mountains sounds awfully sweet, right about now.

The blue bastions of Virginia, Washington, DC, and Massachusetts (hello, Cape Cod!) had the highest percentage of vacation homes, at 23%, 21%, and 15% respectively. And it’s not uncommon for those working in politics and government to buy second homes in DC, and then return to their home states at the end of the latest session.

Folks owned the fewest vacation homes in the swing state of Ohio and the red states of Indiana and Kansas. Second homes made up only 1% of homes in these states.


* Median home list prices as of September 2020, using realtor.com data
** Median home list prices from September 2016 compared to September 2020, using realtor.com data

The post How Red State/Blue State Differences in Housing Might Tip the Election appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Great Metal Detectors for Treasure Hunting

Does treasure await you on the beach? There's one easy way to find out.

Does treasure await you on the beach? There’s one easy way to find out. (Pixabay/)

Chances are that you’ve seen people combing a beach looking for this hidden treasure using metal detectors. Ever wanted to give this hobby a try? You don’t need a chest full of gold to find the right tool. With that in mind, we’ve tracked down some outstanding metal detectors to help you in your quest to find hidden items.

This sturdy model was designed for searching difficult terrain.

This sturdy model was designed for searching difficult terrain. (Bounty Hunter/)

The team at Bounty Hunter have created a metal detector that comes with a preset ground balance to neutralize the response of the device to the mineral makeup of the ground you’re searching. Begin a sweep of the area with the detector in motion all metal mode, and then switch to using discrimination mode when you have a more precise item in mind.

Pros: Can find a wide range of metals including coins, iron items along with precious metals such as gold and silver.

Cons: The coil is waterproof but if you are using it at the shoreline, you have to be careful about keeping water from splashing the non-waterproof housing and shorting it out.

This easy-to-use unit is a great learning tool.

This easy-to-use unit is a great learning tool. (National Geographic/)

Armchair explorers have been reading National Geographic magazine and watching its documentary videos for decades. When you’re inspired to get out there and do some exploring of your own, consider this metal detector, which is designed for kids. When it finds something buried, this detector will start flashing its LED light and emitting a beeping sound.

Pros: A telescoping arm allows you to extend the length of the metal detector, which includes a padded arm strap and comfort grip for easier usage by kids.

Cons: The way the unit is balanced, users may find it causes their arms to wear out from holding it while scanning in larger areas.

It even comes with a digging shovel so you can get started immediately.

It even comes with a digging shovel so you can get started immediately. (RM RICOMAX/)

A 20 percent larger LCD display screen of this metal detector from Ricomax gives you more data as you come across buried treasure. It’s billed as the most advanced model yet from the company. Using buttons instead of old-fashioned knobs and dials, you’ll be searching for hidden items in no time. Also included: a digging shovel with a handy carrying bag to bring it to your search locations.

Pros: New high-accuracy DSP chip helps you detect more buried items with improved signal response.

Cons: The RM Ricomax metal detector comes with instructions that users may find difficult to understand, so you may need to find videos of people using it online for help in using it.

A LED flashlight is included so your search won’t have to end when the sun sets.

A LED flashlight is included so your search won’t have to end when the sun sets. (Garrett/)

When you have encountered a larger piece of buried treasure, this metal detector will help you to identify its edges, making an easier process of digging in the sand or soil to retrieve the item. To help you judge target depth, this detector includes inches and centimeters on the side of the pinpointer.

Pros: After five minutes have elapsed without you pressing any buttons, the detector will produce warning chirps to remind you to adjust your settings while moving through the environment.

Cons: The unit’s power will go off automatically after 60 minutes to help you save battery power, but if you are out searching for a longer period, it might be annoying to have to reactivate it mid-search.

Our Picks for Best Smokers

Take your meals to the next level using a smoker.

Take your meals to the next level using a smoker. (Pexels/)

Smokers are also a great way to make meats juicy and tender. Leaner cuts might dry out quickly on a grill, but a smoker’s low temperature and prolonged cook time keeps moisture in to make meats perfect. Ready to add a smoker to your outdoor cooking arsenal? Here are our top picks.

Compact but large enough to smoke a whole turkey and ham at the same time.

Compact but large enough to smoke a whole turkey and ham at the same time. (Weber/)

This model from Weber is the classic version of the charcoal smoker. It features everything you need to control temperature, humidity and smoke, including a water pan, thermometer and vents. Inside are two cooking grates that provide plenty of room for poultry and larger cuts of meat. It’s meant to handle life outdoors, too, with rust resistant metal legs and a porcelain enameled finish that will stand up to the elements.

Feature-rich model with four racks, digital control panel and side loading wood chip system that allows easy refilling without opening the smoker.

Feature-rich model with four racks, digital control panel and side loading wood chip system that allows easy refilling without opening the smoker. (Masterbuilt/)

For a smoker that allows complete control, check out this number from Masterbuilt. It’s a digital model that gives you a control panel where you can adjust temperature and time. Inside are four chrome racks, which gives you plenty of room for poultry and large cuts of meat, or adjustment to accommodate lots of smaller things. It’s an electric smoker, too, which means charcoal won’t be a concern. With that, this model features a side wood chip loading system. This means that when you need to top up wood chips, you can load them into the side without opening the door and letting out the smoke and warmth.

A more efficient way to say goodbye to gas and charcoal.

A more efficient way to say goodbye to gas and charcoal. (Z GRILLS/)

The innovative smoker and grill from Z Grills relies on wood pellets rather than a more conventional fuel source. Efficiency is the name of the game with wood pellets. Twenty pounds of pellets will let you cook for about 20 hours, which costs much less than the fuel needed for a gas or charcoal grill. With that, this smoker does double duty as both a smoker and a grill. A digital controller lets you set temperature and airflow so that you get the perfect result every time.

This model has an easy-to-use charcoal and ash handling system.

This model has an easy-to-use charcoal and ash handling system. (Dyna-Glo/)

For the big jobs, this Dyna-Glo model is ideal. This one gives you 47 inches of vertical space and six racks, totaling 1,176 square inches of cooking space, which is ideal when you need to smoke a variety of food items. It features an offset charcoal and wood chip management system, too, which means there is no need to open the smoker’s main door in order to dump ash or replenish wood chips. Simply open the charcoal chamber as needed for emptying or refilling.

Shelves and a warming rack make this grill convenient to use, too.

Shelves and a warming rack make this grill convenient to use, too. (Royal Gourmet/)

With both a large grill and an offset smoker, this Royal Gourmet option is perfect for cooks who want a versatile grill and smoker. Inside, the main grill chamber provides 438 square inches of cooking surface while the offset smoker offers 183 square inches. The large charcoal pan holds up to five pounds of charcoal, which is ideal for when you want to smoke all day.

Slap Shot! Connecticut Compound With Hockey Rink Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

most popular homes 10/23

realtor.com

It’s an NHL fantasy camp come to life. You can work on your slap shot without ever setting foot outside your property!

A Connecticut compound with a hockey rink skated away with the title of most popular property on realtor.com® this week.

On the market for a little over a month, the one-of-a-kind offering continued to gather up clicks from folks who dream of putting on a power play in the privacy of their own home.

The professional-grade hockey rink even comes complete with its own Zamboni. The property also boasts two guesthouses and a pool, for those who aren’t interested in lacing up the skates.

However, it’s the building built for hard-checking action that makes this a can’t-miss home.

Outside the rink, you took the time to click on a few other extreme homes this week. Interest in a massive 8,400-square-foot barndominium in Iowa spiked, as did clicks for a spectacular 1960s lemon-lime waterfront time capsule in Oklahoma, and a midcentury masterpiece in Michigan perched on the private Lake Helene.

In the wise words of the office philosopher Michael Scott (or was it hockey legend Wayne Gretzky?): “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

With that in mind, we’d like you to take a shot at perusing all of this week’s most popular homes…

10. 305 Old Forge Rd, Pine Grove, PA

Price: $200,000

Why it’s here: Spanning 5 acres, this property is called the Forge, and is headed up for auction at the end of the month. The six-bedroom main house offers 6,022 square feet of living space and has been sitting vacant for years.

Built in 1800, the home is filled with built-ins, beamed ceilings, exposed stone, and other vintage details. But the bathrooms have seen some quirky upgrades over the years, and this one-of-a-kind property is ready to be reimagined.

Pine Grove, PA
Pine Grove, PA

realtor.com

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9. 21698 Tollhouse Rd, Clovis, CA

Price: $315,000

Why it’s here: East of Fresno, CA, this nearly 6-acre mountain hideaway includes a five-bedroom home built in 1936.

The two-story house has a fireplace, galley kitchen, remodeled bathrooms, as well as new paint and carpet. Outside, there’s a porch for relaxing.

Clovis, CA
Clovis, CA

realtor.com

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8. 6325 Meadowwood Ln, Grand Blanc, MI

Price: $499,900

Why it’s here: Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and sitting on nearly a full acre on Lake Helene, this midcentury marvel is awash in natural wood everywhere. There are also walls of windows and built-ins galore.

The home was built in 1956 using cantilever construction methods, and many of its original details are still in pristine condition. There’s also a basement, which opens onto a rock garden.

Grand Blanc, MI
Grand Blanc, MI

realtor.com

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7. 670 Reed Rd, Colebrook, NH

Price: $1,550,000

Why it’s here: A turnkey buy! All the furnishings are included in the purchase price of this prime 23-acre piece of property with a 3,273-square-foot post-and-beam home built in 2014.

The custom-built home features poplar bark walls, barn boards sourced from local farms, hickory floors, Ponderosa chandeliers, and hand-made furniture.

Other highlights include a fieldstone fireplace, a kitchen with granite island, stone patio, and outdoor kitchen.

Colebrook, NH
Colebrook, NH

realtor.com

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6. 2697 Niagara Trl, Logan, IA

Price: $799,000

Why it’s here: This barndo building was erected in 2000. It’s since been converted into an 8,400-square-foot home with all sorts of high-end creature comforts, like a custom kitchen, home theater, fenced pool area, and home gym.

The nearly 8-acre property offers plenty of room to expand, should a buyer desire to go even bigger. The west section of the home includes a shop, garage, and storage area.

Logan, IA
Logan, IA

realtor.com

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5. 923 Ormewood Ave SE., Atlanta, GA

Price: $400,000

Why it’s here: Built in 1998 and filled with upgrades, this move-in ready three-bedroom home is designed for indoor-outdoor living.

Surrounded by leafy, mature trees, this classic and crisp home is located just blocks from trails, Zoo Atlanta, and parks.

Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA

realtor.com

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4. 220 Maple St, Springfield, MA

Price: $339,000

Why it’s here: Built in 1874, the Loomis-Wesson Home was designed by the firm commissioned for Harvard’s Memorial Hall.

Today, the eight-bedroom residence is in need of a few repairs and some cosmetic touch-ups.

According to the listing details, it’s been well-maintained and updated over the years, but could use a fresh set of eyes.

Original details include wood paneling, French doors, fireplaces, built-ins, and a grand staircase.

Springfield, MA
Springfield, MA

realtor.com

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3. 2151 London Groveport Rd, Grove City, OH

Price: $1 

Why it’s here: Don’t let the low price fool you! You will need to outbid the competition to win this Ohio home. It’s headed to the auction block with an opening bid of just a single buck, and a savvy bidder could walk away with a serious bargain.

The four-bedroom home sits on 7.5 acres, but there are no interior photos to help us even guesstimate how much this place might be worth.

Along with the house, a winning bid will acquire an outbuilding, pasture, and attached garage.

Grove City, OH
Grove City, OH

realtor.com

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2. 446482 E. Fishermans Rd, Gore, OK

Price: $299,000

Why it’s here: Open the door and walk back into a different era! This time-capsule home from 1960 isn’t just a vintage decor dream, it’s also a waterfront retreat on Lake Tenkiller.

Along with the purchase price of the three-bedroom lemon-lime fantasy, you can also negotiate to buy all the furnishings.

Gore, OK
Gore, OK

realtor.com

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1. 503 Studio Rd, Stamford, CT

Price: $7,690,000

Why it’s here: Put the biscuit in the basket any time you like!

This estate has a lot going for it: 13 private acres, 2 guesthouses, and a pool. However, it’s the full-sized professional hockey rink that has puck-minded dreamers buzzing.

The rink building has everything a buyer would need to live out an NHL fantasy: heated team benches, a lighted scoreboard, home and visitors’ team locker rooms, a sound system for announcements, a viewing lounge, and even a Zamboni to keep the ice in pristine shape.

Stamford, CT
Stamford, CT

realtor.com

The post Slap Shot! Connecticut Compound With Hockey Rink Is the Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s New Home Really Up for Rent by the Hour?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

WPA Pool / Pool / Getty Images

After much soul-searching and globe-trotting, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have finally settled into their first home—a mansion in Santa Barbara, purchased in August for $14.65 million.

Just one question: As officially “financially independent” ex-royals, who no longer receive funding from the Sovereign Grant, how will they pay for such a palatial property? Here’s one idea: They could rent out their place by the hour.

In fact, that may already have been happening. On Oct. 16, the Daily Star reported that long before Harry and Markle had moved in, back in August, their property was up for rent on the film location site Giggster for $700 an hour.

And even after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved in, their house allegedly remained up on Giggster, only to disappear abruptly once the British press pounced on the story.

Tatler notes that the listing now reads, “Sorry, this location was unpublished.”

Just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, the couple’s 18,000-square-foot estate comes with nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, plus a pool and tennis court.

Clearly, it would be a splendid spot not only for filming movies, but weddings, fundraisers, and other events that call for a gorgeous backdrop.

Still, given that hordes of royal fans and paparazzi would no doubt pay any price to get a peek at this famously private couple’s new digs, you have to wonder: Are these rumors about their residence even true?

Giggster did not respond to our request for comment, but some real estate experts say that given both Harry and Markle’s current financial belt-tightening and the cost of maintaining this massive home, renting it out by the hour could make a whole lot of sense.

Keep it clean, people! There’s to be no stripping down in this rental home

Google Maps

Why Harry and Meghan may want to rent out their place

As strange as it may seem that wealthy people would need to rent out their massive mansions, it’s surprisingly common, particularly in a posh neighborhood near Los Angeles like Santa Barbara.

“Santa Barbara County has dozens upon dozens of scenic houses that you can rent by the day for a variety of reasons,” adds Tyler Drew, CEO of Anubis Properties in Los Angeles.

“This includes wedding destinations with on-site catering and weekend getaways. Some are open to the public, and others are only available if you know the owners personally.”

Given that Harry and Meghan are likely to be traveling quite often, renting out their home while they’re away could help fund their lavish lifestyle.

“They probably need the money, since their exodus from royal status and the overhead required for keeping up a mansion like this is extremely costly,” posits Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles.

While a $700 price tag doesn’t seem that steep, keep in mind that when the listing was reportedly up, the property had mandated a 10-hour minimum in the fine print, designed to eliminate anyone who wasn’t a serious financial player in the film business.

“The message here is to make sure you have deep pockets or go home—tire-kicking production companies need not apply,” says Ameer.

Other stipulations on the Giggster listing, understandable in the pandemic, were that the group visiting must be limited to a maximum of 15 people—with further bans on smoking, pets, and alcohol (which could make for a rather dull soiree).

The risks Meghan and Harry could face renting out their home

Probably the biggest concern if the couple were to rent out their house would be security clearances.

“There’s a tremendous amount of vetting that goes on each time a film or photo shoot is arranged,” says Ameer.

In addition to privacy issues, “There’s potential for wear and tear on the property, and security is a huge issue when you’re allowing access to outsiders onto the grounds.”

The Giggster listing also reportedly stipulated that one type of filming would definitely not be allowed on the premises: porn. Which makes sense, although shockingly, adult films are not always a no-no for wealthy homeowners who rent out their pads in this manner.

“If it’s a flashy, rockstar kind of property, then perhaps the porn thing may actually help the home’s marketability,” says Ameer. “But not so much if it’s a place that’s geared toward families.” Or displaced royals, apparently.

The post Was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s New Home Really Up for Rent by the Hour? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Best Watches for Outdoor Adventurers

If you're outdoors, you need a watch built for the environment.

If you’re outdoors, you need a watch built for the environment. (Pixabay/)

The best outdoor-friendly watches mix together many cool features to help you out, From GMT hands that let you see another time zone to date windows, GPS functions heart rate monitoring, and more, you’re sure to find a watch that gives you the perfect combination of features. Not sure what you need? We’ve got you covered with oru list of recommended watches.

A simple, sleek look but also packed with many essential features.

A simple, sleek look but also packed with many essential features. (Suunto/)

Don’t let the sleek, simple, all-black military-style finish fool you – this watch is packed with tons of tools. A weather trend graph comes with a storm alarm and gives preset sunrise and sunset times for more than 400 locations, making it easy to plan activities while staying safe. Vertical movement is tracked by an altimeter, the compass keeps you pointed in the right direction, and your barometer will keep track of air pressure trends. When the watch senses an air pressure drop, it alerts you of potential approaching storms. Additional features include a date display, dual times, multiple language functions, and even a depth meter.

Comfortable fit and rugged design come together for a military-inspired watch that never needs a battery.

Comfortable fit and rugged design come together for a military-inspired watch that never needs a battery. (Citizen/)

You’ll never need to think about replacing a watch battery again with this timepiece. It’s powered by light – any light, not just sunlight. It also features a dark green Cordura strap, black dial, and gives you the rugged look you want while still feeling comfortable all day long. The analog watch offers date, day and gives you both 24-hour and 12-hour time. It’s water resistant up to 100 meters below the water’s surface, making it suitable for snorkeling, swimming, or those times when you just end up wet.

Stainless steel link bracelet looks great while providing durability and the black dial features multiple subdials and features.

Stainless steel link bracelet looks great while providing durability and the black dial features multiple subdials and features. (Seiko/)

With a link bracelet made from stainless steel and a 42 mm steel case and Hardlex dial window, you get the durability you need from an aviation watch. While the black dial looks great against the stainless-steel bracelet, it also features multiple subdials, a fluted crown, and a date window. Safety closure and fold-over push-button clasp ensure you won’t lose the watch when you’re out and about, and it’s water resistant up to 660 foot below water, making it great for most serious water sports.

Affordability meets contemporary class while still packing in excellent features.

Affordability meets contemporary class while still packing in excellent features. (Invicta/)

Look at the contemporary, classy design of this aviation watch and the last thing you’ll think about is affordability, yet it’s a budget-friendly option that still gives you style and great features. The blue strap, stainless steel case, blue dial with rose gold tones, white hour markers and hands come together to give you a stunning look. You’ll appreciate the chronograph functions with 24-hour, 60-minute, and 60-second sub dials, as well as the helpful date window. The watch is also water resistant up to 330 feet.

Fly, train, and navigate with this rugged watch that features nearly every option you can think of.

Fly, train, and navigate with this rugged watch that features nearly every option you can think of. (Garmin/)

Packed with all the great features you’d expect from a watch from Garmin, this aviation watch gives you a rugged design that performs well in the sky or on the ground. Featuring a large 1.5-inch display that’s easy to read in the sun, you won’t have a problem checking your watch quickly while you’re in the air. Sensors offer you a great look at your heart rate while also gauging your blood oxygen saturation so you can stay on top of your altitude acclimation. Advanced training features allowed you to adjust your pace while exercising, and preloaded topo maps and ski maps come in handy, too.

Favorite Flying Jackets for the Air and Ground

Grab a jacket that fits in either in sky or down on the ground.

Grab a jacket that fits in either in sky or down on the ground. (Unsplash/)

The right look can give you the air, confidence, and swagger of a fighter pilot, especially when topped off with one of these great flight jackets – and perhaps a cool pair of aviator sunglasses. Channel your inner fighter pilot with these great flight jackets. Plus, these jackets offer practical features that are incredibly useful when flying or just traveling on land.

Available in a variety of sizes between extra small and 3x-large, this jacket features a fashionable design appropriate for casual, sports, and clubwear.

Available in a variety of sizes between extra small and 3x-large, this jacket features a fashionable design appropriate for casual, sports, and clubwear. (Sandbank/)

The jacket is hand washable and sports a zipper closure and is made of 100 percent polyester. Stylish touches include a ribbed collar, cuffs, and hems, a zippered pocket on the sleeve, side pockets, and an inside pocket.

Made with an outer surface that is 100 percent pigskin leather and a soft inner lining and filling that are both 100 percent cotton.

Made with an outer surface that is 100 percent pigskin leather and a soft inner lining and filling that are both 100 percent cotton. (Flavor/)

The jacket features two side-entry pockets at the waist, two internal pockets, and one pocket with a pen holder on the sleeve. The lining has a U.S. flag print in the middle and the jacket offers a fur collar that is removable or a hood. The jacket is available in a variety of sizes from small to 3XL.

Comes with a ribbed stand collar and knitted ribbed cuffs and hems.

Comes with a ribbed stand collar and knitted ribbed cuffs and hems. (EKLENTSON/)

The jacket comes in a variety of military colors and the shell is made of 100 percent cotton. The lining is 100 percent polyester and the jacket comes in standard US sizes. It features a double closure military cargo-style that includes a zipper closure running the full length of the jacket in addition to a button closure. The jacket offers multiple pockets including two side hand pockets, two button-flab chest pockets, and an inside pocket.

If you’re looking for a cold-weather solution, this model fills the bill.

If you’re looking for a cold-weather solution, this model fills the bill. (TACVASEN/)

This model offers a classic bomber design and is suitable for business, casual, and outdoor wear. The jacket features a bright orange polyester lining and offers ribbing on the collar, cuffs, and hems to a snug fit that will keep wearers warm. The jacket is available in multiple sizes so you can make a stylish statement that matches practically anything. It offers numerous pockets for carrying around all essentials and is available in a variety of sizes from small to XX-large.

It’s designed for warmth and function and features a patriotic flag print on the lining.

It’s designed for warmth and function and features a patriotic flag print on the lining. (Landing Leathers/)

Available in regular and big and tall sizes, this flight jacket offers a 100 percent leather shell, and a body lining made of 75 percent polyester and 25 percent cotton. The filling is 100 percent polyester and the rib is 100 percent acrylic. It features a regular fit that offers extra room in the chest and waist and a snap storm flap over the zipper along with box stitched shoulder epaulets. The jacket’s ribbed cuffs and hem help keep warmth in while the dual entry pockets with snap closures make carrying around essentials easy.

Our Favorite Accessories for Flight Simulators

With these accessories, you're cleared for takeoff.

With these accessories, you’re cleared for takeoff. (Thrustmaster/)

Have you tried the latest flight simulator programs? The details – from the cockpit instruments to the airports themselves – are just incredible. But without accompanying accessories, you won’t get the most out of the computer program. Here are the accessories that keep our eyes to the sky and our heads in the clouds.

This joystick works for many types of flight simulators - even those for spacecraft.

This joystick works for many types of flight simulators – even those for spacecraft. (Thrustmaster/)

We appreciated immediately how this set provided realistic flight controls, including both a stick and a throttle. The tools were easy and comfortable to use and could even be adjusted according to personal needs and preferences. We could either detach the joystick to mimic more realistic flight conditions or keep the throttle and joystick attached to improve the stability of the set. The box itself comes with five axes and 14 action buttons and a rapid-fire trigger to make playing fight simulator games engaging and exciting. The multidirectional hat switch that lets us alternate between the navigation and panoramic view also enhanced the experience.

You’ll need this vital piece of equipment to realistically stear anything from small aircraft to a heavy jet.

You’ll need this vital piece of equipment to realistically stear anything from small aircraft to a heavy jet. (Logitech/)

These pedals offer an admirable level of control from the moment we started using them. The differential toe brakes enhanced the ability to control the aircraft. The system allows the left and right toe brakes to operate independently and really helped our flight simulator set up feel like genuinely sitting in a cockpit. Because the pedals themselves can adjust to different shoe sizes and even come with a non-slip design, they are easy to use for nearly any player. They can also be adjusted to account for your desired amount of resistance, creating the right flight experience for you.

This system comes with a POV hat and a three-position mod switch.

This system comes with a POV hat and a three-position mod switch. (Logitech/)

This system works great for both experienced users of flight simulators and beginners. The system comes with 25 programmable buttons and switch positions and can be used to simulate both commercial and private plane experiences. The parts themselves have been designed to provide an extremely life-like experience. We noticed immediately that the precision bearings helped to create a smooth, easy-to-control experience that made flying enjoyable. The mounting and set-up are also easy to customize so that each user can set up the yoke and throttle precisely as they like. The system integrates seamlessly with other Logitech G flight panels, enhancing your ability to build a customizable cockpit and create the experience you want.

This system is compatible with several different versions of Windows while allowing for a high degree of precision and control while in use.

This system is compatible with several different versions of Windows while allowing for a high degree of precision and control while in use. (Thrustmaster/)

When we opened up this flight pack, we found that the joystick was fully ambidextrous, making it a simple setup regardless of whether the player is right-handed or left-handed. The 16 different action buttons and the 8-way Point of View hat only help to enhance the experience of the flight simulator. These controls have been modeled to provide an extremely realistic experience and allows experienced and advanced users to take their flights to the next level. The pack includes the flight stick, the weapon control system, and the rudder pedals, which all work together to create a flying experience that we really appreciated.

Can be used by gamers and flight students alike, as it was designed by pilots and aerospace engineers to create a highly accurate flight simulation feel.

Can be used by gamers and flight students alike, as it was designed by pilots and aerospace engineers to create a highly accurate flight simulation feel. (Honeycomb/)

When selecting materials for flight simulation, people want to find the tools that will help them fully experience the sensation of flying, and this panel offers a great way to achieve that.  It features a left handle with an 8-way hat switch and a right handle with two horizontal 2-way rocker switches. The dual mounting options also make it straightforward for each person to select the setup that feels the most comfortable for them. The panel also contains a 5-position ignition switch, avionics, light switch panel, alternator, and a 180-degree yoke rotation.

Drop a Line with these Recommended Fish Finders

Need a hand finding the catch of the day? You need a fish finder.

Need a hand finding the catch of the day? You need a fish finder. (Unsplash/)

What’s the worst part about a day fishing on the water? Coming home empty-handed. But having a fish finder on your boat can up the odds in your favor. Some fish finders are more sophisticated than others, but all offer an opportunity to get a leg up others who are not equipped with these devices on the water at any given time. These are five great fish finders to consider if you’re in the market for such a device.

With a 4.3 inch screen, this model presents a clear picture of life lurking beneath the surface.

With a 4.3 inch screen, this model presents a clear picture of life lurking beneath the surface. (Humminbird/)

Compact and easily portable, the PiranhaMAX 4 fish finder is easy to take along with you no matter whose boat you’re fishing from. It features dual beam sonar (narrow or wide beam) to help you identify fish and more below the water’s surface and a tilt and swivel mount so you can adjust your viewing angle as needed throughout the day.

Can be stored in your tackle box or carried around in large pockets.

Can be stored in your tackle box or carried around in large pockets. (Venterior/)

One fish finder that offers many benefits, this model from Venterior works for all kinds of fishing including ice fishing, kayak fishing, shore fishing, pier fishing, night fishing, and even sea fishing. It is powered by four AAA batteries (not included) and has backlighting so you can see the display clearly for pre-dawn and late evening fishing excursions.

Allows you to mark hot spots, docks, and ramps so you can return easily.

Allows you to mark hot spots, docks, and ramps so you can return easily. (Garmin/)

The Striker 4 fish finder includes CHIRP sonar transducer, offers convenient keypad operations, and is compact in size at only 3.5 inches. The color screen on this Garmin fish finder offers a vivid display and the device itself is equipped with a built-in flasher. This one comes equipped with a tilt/swivel mount and displays speed data when you’re on the move.

This model can differentiate between fish, weeds, and ground contours beneath the surface.

This model can differentiate between fish, weeds, and ground contours beneath the surface. (LUCKY/)

Useful for a variety of fishing applications, including shore fishing, ice fishing, kayak fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing, river fishing, and more, this handheld fish finder also indicates water depth, fish depth, and fish locations. It comes equipped with an optional float and 25-foot cable. This LUCKY fish finder requires four AAA batteries to operate.

This model offers nearly double the sonar coverage of similar models on the market.

This model offers nearly double the sonar coverage of similar models on the market. (Lowrance/)

If you’re looking for a feature-rich fish finder, this one from Lowrance has many bells and whistles in an easy to use format. It offers additional features, such as autotuning sonar settings, a micro SD slot, and a crisp, clear 4.3-inch display. The included transducer provides 2-D sonar views. It’s easy to set up and use with options for transducer mounting inside the hull, on the trolling motor, on the transom, or through a scupper hole.

Best Water Bottles for Outdoor Adventurers

Get a grip on your hydration needs with a water bottle made for outdoor use.

Get a grip on your hydration needs with a water bottle made for outdoor use. (Pixabay/)

You really think all water bottles were created equal? Not even close when it comes to picking out for outdoor adventures. For starters, glass water bottles are no-goes on boats and beaches. A broken bottle can lead to all sorts of trouble. Also, can your bottle hold up to the extreme temperatures outdoors? You better know ahead of time. Here are our picks for best water bottles for outdoor adventurers.

BPA free and non-toxic, these can also keep your drink cold all day.

BPA free and non-toxic, these can also keep your drink cold all day. (Iron Flask/)

Not only are these bottles available in a variety of sizes and colors, but they are also known for keeping drinks cold for up to 24 hours – even in the hot sun – and warm for up to 12 hours. Each bottle comes with three different lids: a carabiner straw lid with two straws, a stainless steel lid, and a flip lid. These sports water bottles from Iron Flask are made with double-wall insulation so they do not sweat.

For those who need to drink more water throughout the day, these 64-ounce bottles give you a head start.

For those who need to drink more water throughout the day, these 64-ounce bottles give you a head start. (Simple Modern/)

Available in a variety of colors and prints, these Simple Modern vacuum insulated water bottles keep your drinks cold for hours. The bottles feature leak-proof straw lids that flip open for easy drinking without unwanted “sloshing.” These bottles are designed only for cold drinks. You should not use them for hot drinks nor should you wash the bottles in the dishwasher. The lids are dishwasher safe.

It’s lightweight and made from high quality, BPA, BPS, and BPF-free materials.

It’s lightweight and made from high quality, BPA, BPS, and BPF-free materials. (CamelBak/)

The idea is simple – to make hydration easy. This water bottle from CamelBak is essentially leak-proof when the lid is closed, yet it allows a high water flow when in use. It is easy to use and fill and is completely dishwasher safe. Beyond that, the water bottle is made of lightweight and made of high quality and eco-friendly materials. It is available in a variety of colors to let your personality shine or to match your bikini top, sail covers, etc.

Big enough for ice cubes to keep your drink extra cold.

Big enough for ice cubes to keep your drink extra cold. (Bottled Joy/)

Need a little extra motivation to drink your water when you’re outdoors? This bottle can help with motivational sayings to get you through the day. It features a built-in handle so you can carry it from one end of the beach or boat to the other with ease. One interesting feature is that the mouth is wide enough to accommodate ice cubes, so you can keep your water cool throughout the day.

Works for drinks hot or cold for hours at a time.

Works for drinks hot or cold for hours at a time. (Tervis/)

These tumblers from Tervis feature premium grade 18/8 stainless steel and are copper lined. They are BPA free and keep cold drinks ice cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to eight hours. This tumbler features a navy anchor pattern for a nautical-friendly vibe.