Richmond VA area homes losing value


Area homes losing value

Web site report: 1.6% loss for Richmond area, 9.7% decline for nation

 

Thursday, Nov 13, 2008 

 

By CAROL HAZARD

TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Most homes in the Richmond area have lost value from a year ago, although the loss is not as great here as it is nationally, according to a report released yesterday by Zillow.com.

Moreover, 13.4 percent of homes for sale in the Richmond area in the past 12 months sold for less than the previous purchase price, the real estate Web site noted. According to the Virginia Association of Realtors, 10,122 homes sold in the Richmond area in the 12-month period through September. Thirteen percent of 10,122 is 1,356.

Local home values fell 1.6 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year ago, compared with 9.7 percent nationally, the report stated.

The median home valuation, meaning half were valued for more and half for less, was $222,306 in the third quarter, down from $225,863, according to the report. The peak was $228,608, in the second quarter of 2007.

Gene Seargent, an agent with ERA Woody Hogg & Associates in Hanover County, said the 1.6 percent dip in home prices for Richmond area could be misleading to homeowners who may think their houses are worth more than what the market will bring.

“It’s a gauge, and it all depends on which area you are talking about, whether it’s the West End, South Side or Varina,” Seargent said.

His focus is eastern Henrico County, where property values have fallen 12 percent to 15 percent in the past two years, he said. “The basic 1,200-square-foot ranch in the county that sold for $220,000 two years ago is worth about $185,000 today.”

A house in the Varina area that sold new three years ago for $255,000 is under contract for about $212,000, he said.

“If you were to take the whole market, I would say 1.6 percent is probably pretty accurate,” said Thomas Innes, a broker with RE/MAX Commonwealth.

“It has fallen across the board, but some areas are holding their values,” such as the West End in Richmond and western Henrico, said Lynn Pritchard, an agent with Joyner Fine Properties.

Nationally, home values posted their seventh consecutive quarterly decline, falling to a Zillow home value index of $202,966 — a 12.8 percent drop since the market peaked in 2006. The index is the median valuation for 163 geographic areas on a given day and includes the value of single-family houses, condos and cooperatives.

“The declines continue to accelerate, which tells us we have not yet hit a bottom,” according to the report. Its data come from public sources for metropolitan statistical areas.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a contract with Zillow.com to allow agents and homeowners who buy classified ads to sell homes in the newspaper to get their listings highlighted on a national real estate Web site. The two-year-old Seattle company lists values on 70 million homes and claims 5 million visitors monthly.

Nearly one-third of Americans who sold homes in the past 12 months lost money. One in seven homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their homes are worth, according to Zillow.

In a separate report, RealtyTrac said that foreclosure activity nationwide increased 25 percent last month from the same month a year ago.

“October marks the 34th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity has increased compared to the prior year,” according to the report.

One in every 452 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in October. Filings include default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions.

In Virginia, one in every 493 households — or 6,555 — received a filing in October, representing a 160 percent increase from October 2007.

Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 22nd consecutive month, with one in every 74 households receiving a filing in October — more than six times the national average.
Contact Carol Hazard at (804) 775-8023 or chazard@timesdispatch.com.

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