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Published: Wednesday, 5/14/2008

Toledo median area housing sales price falls to $89,700

BY TED FACKLER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The sales price of Toledo-area homes dropped at twice the rate of the national average at the beginning of this year. But on a positive note, Ohio homes are selling much faster than in other states, a new report shows.

The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that the median sales value of homes in metro Toledo fell 13.8 percent to $89,700 in the January through March period compared to the same period a year ago.

The national value dropped 7.7 percent from a year ago to $196,300. The median price is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less

"Foreclosures have definitely had a huge impact on our market in Toledo," said Larry Cain, a Re/Max agent in downtown Toledo. Lenders are quick to sell them, and buyers have begun to flood the foreclosure market.

In the Toledo metro area in the first quarter, 1,877 foreclosure-related filings were made, or one for every 159 households, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an online tracking firm in Irvine, Calif. But the influx of foreclosed homes began much earlier, said local experts, and their cheap prices are just now affecting sales values.

Mike Hayden, a Re/Max general manager in Toledo, said that large to medium-sized homes aren't selling well, but foreclosures are.

"If you think of it as a comparison to the automotive market, the big [cars] aren't selling anymore, but the little ones are," he said.

At the DiSalle Real Estate Co. in Maumee, sales manager Pat Johnson said that home values there have probably dipped at just half the rate of metro Toledo.

"With the interest rates being good, the shoppers are starting to come out of the woodwork," she said.

Local experts also cite excessive home building in past years as causing an oversupply now, which has led to low-priced properties.

Other metro areas in Ohio fared better than Toledo, the study said. Cincinnati sales prices dropped 6 percent to $128,000; Columbus fell 7.2 percent to $131,400; Dayton dropped 7.7 percent to $100,500, and Youngstown dipped 13.5 percent to $67,700.

Cleveland, however, reported a 16.9 percent drop to $102,000, ranking with Toledo in the top 20 for decreased values nationwide, the realty group said.

The study also reported on total home sales, which nationwide dropped 22 percent in the past year to 4.9 million. Ohio's, however, fell just 10.8 percent and Michigan's 4.3 percent during the same period, ranking them as the No. 12 and No. 5 hottest sales markets, respectively, nationwide.

Nationally, median home prices fell in two-thirds of the cities surveyed. The 67 percent of cities reporting price declines was the largest percentage of cities reporting price drops in the history of the survey, which goes back to 1979.

Contact Ted Fackler at:

tfackler@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199.


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