The national news looks bleak with regard to home sales prices across the nation. A recent report citing the Case-Shiller Index report shows that national homes prices found a peak value in July 2006 and then fell off the cliff through the recession we were all hoping we were emerging from. Values plummeted until 2009 and started a dramatic rebound to 2007 levels in early 2010. This latest report shows the recovery we all wanted and expected was short lived and is now headed south. After the peak in 2009, the trend line is down and has lost another 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011. The trend line on this “A History of Home Values” chart is predicting additional dramatic losses of home values nationwide ending at the pre Y2K housing boom levels which are the same value level we had in 1900, adjusted for inflation. If this trend is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder, but it clearly is not what we expected to see in 2011!
Now enter Iowa City area statistics as a back drop for this national report. In 2006 when the US home value peaked, Iowa City values were an average of $179,616. This local value trended up in 2007 to an average value if $185,418. The average local home value decreased in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to $177,310, a loss of about 4% collectively. This is more like sliding down a bump in the road than falling off a cliff! Also, the number of home sales in 2007 were 2,637 homes. This was a banner year for home sale in this area. The number of sales for 2008 was 2,631, a dead heat for the “banner year”, and decreased to 2,401 home sale in 2009. 2010 showed a rebound in the number of sales to 2,599, a remarkable statistic in the third year of recession.
Now, what does all this mean to the real estate practitioner and to the home seller or buyer? The conclusion is often subjective, but in this case I believe it is fair to conclude that the worst is over in this area, and even the worst wasn’t that bad relative to our neighbors around the country in the Case-Shiller Index data cities. There have been changes in lending and in appraisals for homes, but the value is there and is stable. Once again, it seems there’s no place like home!