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Published: Wednesday, 5/26/2010

Home prices in Toledo drop at double national rate

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

Metro Toledo housing prices sank at twice the rate as prices nationwide over the past year, but in a sign that the local market may be stabilizing, they dropped less than the national figure for the past quarter.

A glut of foreclosures largely led to the slumping home prices, along with the country's economic downturn.

Toledo ranked near the middle of more than 300 metro areas nationwide - at No. 174 - with a loss in local prices of 6.46 percent in the past year, according to a report released yesterday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In the first quarter of this year, prices were down 1.62 percent from the end of last year.

Nationally, the report said, home prices fell 3.1 percent in the past year and 1.9 percent in the first quarter.

The report, which doesn't provide average prices, said metro Toledo prices fell 11.06 percent in the past five years. Nationally, prices were down 2.85 percent.

Other nearby metro areas generally fared poorly compared to the national figures, the report shows. Monroe, ranked No. 272, had a one-year slide of 12.55 percent and a five-year drop of 22.82 percent. But its decline in the first quarter was just 0.8 percent.

The Sandusky area was not ranked nationally, but recorded a one-year price decrease of 8.22 percent and a five-year decline of 8.75 percent, the agency said.

Only Lima locally fared better, ranking No. 144 with a one-year loss of 5.26 percent. Prices there fell 1.94 percent in the first quarter and less than 1 percent in five years, the agency said.

Nationally, the latest annual price drop was twice the drop measured at the end of last year.

The main hurdle for a housing recovery is foreclosures boosting the supply of homes for sale, said Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. The inventory of properties on the market jumped to 4.04 million in April, the highest level since July, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday. That number doesn't include all foreclosures, he said.

"Excess supply drives prices down, and foreclosures are still adding to inventory," he said. "We've seen price improvement in some local markets, but on a national basis prices still haven't hit bottom."

The federal report measures changes in real estate values using repeat data on individual properties. It doesn't include a dollar value for homes. The U.S. median home price was $166,100 in the first quarter, according to the separate Realtors report.



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