Compare county housing maps over the last four years

As the election nears, many battleground states are being called upon to evaluate their economic status now compared to four years ago. According to RealtyTrac, many counties across the country are finding that their situation is slightly worse than it was four years ago.

RealtyTrac recently released a report titled the Exclusive Election 2012 Local Housing Market Health Check, which measured the economic and housing health of counties across the country by looking at five key factors that contribute the the market: average home price, unemployment rate, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and share of distressed sales.

According to the report, due to the higher levels of unemployment and shares of distressed sales, along with decreased home values, the overall national housing situation is slightly worse off than it was four years ago.

However, consumers planning to base their vote on the country's housing status should keep in mind that the housing crash began in 2008 and has been on the mend ever since. Although many counties report lower home values than four years ago, many also report greatly increase values over three years ago.

Additionally, rental property management officials can attest to the fact that, over the last four years, rental properties across the country experienced a greatly-increased volume of rental applications. While the retail housing market fell, the rental market soared.