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House prices in Toledo area drop 3% in 2011's first quarter

Toledo, Monroe homes ranked among most affordable in U.S.

Housing-prices

Housing prices in the Toledo area have fallen 14 percent in the past five years.

THE BLADE
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A new federal report on nationwide home sale prices says those in Toledo have continued to decline, losing another 3 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and 14 percent over the last five years.

The quarterly report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency measures sale price information from federally backed mortgages. It ranked the four-county Toledo metro area 186th out of 309 metro areas in percent change in house prices over the last year with a decline of 3.12 percent.

Meanwhile, another quarterly measurement released Thursday by the National Association of Home Builders ranked Monroe, Sandusky, Lima, and Toledo among the nation's most affordable housing markets.

The survey said Monroe had the second-highest percentage of affordable homes in the nation, behind only Kokomo, Ind. Sandusky ranked sixth, Lima 14th, and metro Toledo 22nd. Toledo was most affordable among Ohio's largest metro areas.

In the Federal Housing agency report, Columbus was ranked 154th with the smallest decline in Ohio over the last year at 2.24 percent, Akron was 159th with a loss of 2.38 percent, Dayton was 171st with a decline of 2.72 percent, Cincinnati was 184th with a loss of 3.09 percent, and Cleveland was 187th with a decline of 3.14 percent.

Statewide, the report records a decline of 6.71 percent for sale prices in Ohio and 4.09 percent in Michigan over the year before.

However, over the last five years, the decline in home sale prices was 14.71 percent in Ohio, and nearly double that in Michigan at 29.23 percent.

Nationwide, seasonally adjusted prices fell 5.5 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011.

"I've been saying for some time that housing prices in metro Toledo have started to stabilize. The reason there's still a decline is that there's still a relatively heavy mix of foreclosures in the total sales volume locally," said Ed Sitter, the current president of the Toledo Board of Realtors, and a real estate agent for the Danberry Co.

"If things stay the way they are now, I really believe that we in the metro area have seen our worst days and things are on the rebound."

In the homebuilders' quarterly survey, the sales price for a home is compared with the area's median family income and looks at the percentage of houses that would be affordable at that income level.

Jim Loss, of Loss Realty Group, said the affordability measure is a good leading indicator for an improving local real estate market.

"I'm not really that surprised, particularly with all the good news in the auto industry," he said. "I think we're slowly coming around.

"I don't think we're going to see prices go up for a long time, but we're definitely starting to see some action returning to the market."

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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