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Published: Thursday, 9/28/2006

Toledo ranks low in home price index

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Toledo may not have Lindsay Lohan or Nick Lachey, but nice middle-class homes can be had here for a tenth of the cost in Beverly Hills, according to a study released yesterday.

The Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index examined the average price of a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home in 317 U.S. cities.

Buyers in the California enclave paid $1.8 million for the same house that could be had for $173,700 in northwest Ohio.

The survey, which also included some foreign markets, tells people what their homes would be worth in various states or countries. Seven California cities were among the most expensive, along with St. Thomas, Bermuda, and Paris.

The survey "serves a very practical purpose," said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive of Coldwell Banker.

Relocation advisers for companies such as General Electric Co. and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service use such measures to help set cost-of-living adjustments for employees. Coldwell's study focuses on the type of house that corporate managers, military officers, or government employees might choose: a four-bedroom with two or more baths, a two-car garage, and casual space for entertaining.

The most affordable cities: Minot, N.D., $132,333, and Killeen, Texas, $140,310.

Toledo was well below the national average of $423,950.

In Ohio, Columbus had the most expensive mid-market home, at $251,364, and Toledo had the second lowest behind only Canton, at $148,333.

In Michigan, Ann Arbor was the most expensive, at $324,500, and Grayling was the lowest, at $144,250.



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