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Published: 2/15/2008

Area home prices show little slippage, stay low

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Sales prices for existing homes slipped less in northwest Ohio than in the nation overall at the end of 2007, but remained in the basement when compared to other medium-size and large cities, a new report shows.

The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that the value of a midpriced home here fell less than 1 percent to $104,000 in the fourth quarter from the same time in 2006.

That was a fraction of the 5.8 percent decline recorded nationally.

But prices of homes sold in northwest Ohio were the 10th lowest among the nation's 150 largest cities and were about half of the national median of $206,200, the organization said.

"It's a reflection of what's being sold," said Al Green, a real estate executive in Bowling Green who is president of the Toledo Board of Realtors.

"The homes above $250,000 are selling slower than those below $250,000. The lower-priced homes are selling. The higher-priced homes are not."

An official at the Realtors group nationally cited the same reason for the national decline.

Higher-priced homes are not selling well, partly because problems in the mortgage industry have made it more difficult to get approval for large loans, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the organization.

The number measures median prices, meaning half of homes sold for less, half for more. About half of the metro areas nationally had price drops from the end of 2006.

For the year, preliminary figures show that prices of existing homes, not including condominiums, in northwest Ohio fell to $106,600 from $110,000 in 2006. The yearly number was ninth lowest in the nation.

The only places with lower prices for the year were Buffalo; Decatur, Ill.; Elmira, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; Fort Wayne; Saginaw, Mich.; South Bend, Ind.; and Youngstown.

No other cities in northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan were included.

Elsewhere nearby, the trade group said, metro Cleveland prices fell 9.4 percent to $118,600 at the end of last year; Cincinnati prices were down 4.5 percent to $132,400; Columbus prices slipped 1 percent to $137,200; and Detroit's were down nearly 14 percent to $133,300.

Nationwide, existing homes sold at an annual rate of 4.96 million units in the fourth quarter, down 21 percent from a year earlier, the study shows. The states suffering the biggest drops were Nevada, down 44 percent, and Wyoming, down 42 percent.

For condominium sales, the trade group said, the Toledo region's price declined 4 percent to $138,200 in the quarter.

Figures released last month by the Toledo Board of Realtors showed that average sales prices in northwest Ohio slipped 4 percent, or $4,500, to $116,080.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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