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Published: Thursday, 6/6/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Toledo ranks in Top 15 for low housing prices

724 bank-owned homes average $54,854 in value

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

If there’s a silver lining to the significant number of bank-owned homes in Toledo, it could be the ample opportunities available for investors who are willing to take on a project.

A report released today by RealtyTrac ranked Toledo among the best markets in the nation for buying fixer-uppers. For investors looking to generate cash from rent, local real estate agents say that sounds spot on.

“It’s typical for out-of-state investors, when they arrive in Toledo, to be shocked and amazed at what they can buy,” said Jon Modene, a real estate broker at ReMax Masters in Perrysburg.

RealtyTrac’s report focused on bank-owned homes that were built before 1960, with market values less than $100,000. As of the first quarter, there were 724 such properties on the market in Toledo, RealtyTrac said, with an average market value of $54,854.

“Toledo is one of the hottest investor rental markets for what RealtyTrac mentioned, which is older, cheaper houses,” Mr. Modene said.

The rental market is strong here, he said, and Toledo doesn’t have the same level of economic risk as other regional cities such as Detroit or Cleveland — places that also made RealtyTrac’s list.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said the data are meant to show there are still bargains to be had for people willing to put in the rehab work. The properties, he said, are probably more appealing to investors looking to rent or flip. However, some may be a good fit for buyers looking to settle in to a new home.

“Ideally you find a neighborhood where there’s just one or two of these properties and you can come in and take advantage of that,” he said.

The report didn’t attempt to rank the cities. However, it did include the change in average sales price for distressed properties.

“In some of these cities, the average price is still going down, and it’s a little more risky to purchase one of these homes in that type of market,” Mr. Blomquist said.

Of the 15 cities, five had median sales prices that were still falling from April, 2012, to April, 2013. Prices rose in seven cities, led by a 41 percent jump in Phoenix. (The firm said data weren’t available for three other cities on the list.)

RealtyTrac said the median sales price of distressed properties in Toledo was up 9.4 percent from April, 2012, to April, 2013.

“That is on the upswing, which makes it a little more safe to purchase in this environment,” Mr. Blomquist said.

Data from the Toledo Board of Realtors show the average sales price of homes in Lucas County and upper Wood County was up 10 percent through April, compared with last year.

“We do have buyers from all over.... and they can’t believe you can actually buy a house for $10,000 or less,” said Anna Mills, a realtor with City Trends Realty in Maumee and president of the nonprofit Toledo Real Estate Investment Association.

Ms. Mills said she’s worked with buyers from states as far away as Arizona — and even a buyer from Sweden.

The caution with buying homes on the ultralow end of the market — Ms. Mills said there are nearly 100 homes listed in Toledo for less than $10,000 — is to be careful not to put more into the home than can be gotten out of it.

Still, she said there are opportunities, especially those looking to buy and hold. “You have to remember even though it’s a buyer’s market, it’s not a seller’s market,” she said.

Average market values in the 15 cities ranged from about $41,500 in Detroit to just more than $74,000 in Indianapolis.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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