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Published: Wednesday, 8/13/2008

Survey finds 40% of metro Toledo sales at loss

BLADE STAFF

Nearly four of every 10 homes sold in metro Toledo in the second quarter of this year went at a loss, and 58 percent of area homes lost value, a new study found.

Still, the study released yesterday by Zillow.com found that median home values in the metro area dropped 6.6 percent during the April-to-June period compared to a year ago but have been climbing this year.

Also, the area fared better than the United States as a whole. Nationwide, values fell 9.9 percent from a year ago and 1.7 percent from the first quarter, according to the online real estate service.

Locally, the median housing value through June was $111,604, up 3.9 percent from the first quarter. The market's peak, the study found, was the second quarter of 2006, with median values at $124,000. The median is the point at which half the houses are worth more and half are worth less.

Some things have improved. A year ago, 86 percent of local houses lost value. But more houses sold at a loss in the quarter than did a year earlier, and 24 percent were in foreclosure, up from 21 percent a year ago.

The national picture was mixed.

Zillow said that across the United States the median house value of $206,919 hasn't been that low since the fourth quarter of 2004. Other statistics show that nearly a third of homeowners who bought since 2003 now owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Nationwide, nearly one in four homes sold during the last year sold for a loss, and nearly 15 percent of all sales were foreclosures. In many markets, these "distress signals" are two to three times higher than figures reported a year ago, Zillow said.

Homeowners seem oblivious to the downturn when it comes to their own homes, however.

An owner confidence measure showed 62 percent think their homes increased in value or stayed the same over the last year despite figures showing they had not, Zillow said. And three out of four people said they expect their home value to increase or stay the same over the next six months.

- Jon Chavez



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