Real estate claws back

Experts say the market takes into consideration too many factors other than the number of rental properties to get a hard answer whether rentals lower real estate values in an area.

Greater Toledo is successfully clawing its way back from the collapse in real estate prices as two recent events show.

With the Great Recession of 2008 increasingly just a painful memory, rather than an ongoing disaster, community leaders should put quality housing and quality neighborhoods at the top of their agendas.

The newest triennial appraisal from Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez has ratcheted up property values throughout most of the county.

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Home valuations were raised in Toledo, on average, 7 percent over three years. Oregon went up 10 percent, Monclova Township 12 percent, and the city of Sylvania went up 12 percent. There were a couple of pockets of decline — Harbor View and Richfield Township.

A second metric showing greater Toledo has regained its footing comes from the Toledo Regional Association of Realtors, which tells us average home prices in northwest Ohio have surpassed the previous peak set in June, 2006.

The association said that in the eight counties it covers the average sale price in June was $143,839.

Before the recession, the peak average sales price occurred 12 years earlier, in June, 2006, at $137,159.

The Great Recession began when the housing bubble burst, wrecking jobs, businesses, pensions, lives, and home equity.

The bubble was at least partly caused when the federal government-sponsored finance agencies known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraged risky and poorly qualified loans, contributing to excessive prices and unrealistic expectations for real estate gains. Sellers, buyers, real estate agents, and lenders got caught up in a frenzy unmoored from reality.

There are still many with homes “underwater,” on which more is owed than the house is worth.

And many Toledo homes are still thousands of dollars away from the real estate value they had in 2006. Doug Kwiatkowski, the association’s president, said the current rise in home-buying has helped homeowners who were underwater to recover their investments.

Politicians view the enhanced valuations as a sign of confidence, and they’re right.

But homeowners and the real estate industry must not forget the extremely painful lesson of the burst housing bubble.

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