Written by David Castellon
Despite improvements in the Valley’s housing values since the Great Recession ended, the rate of recovery for housing prices in Fresno County is among the slowest in the nation.
In fact, the county’s recovery rate ranks 94th among the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country, according to a report issued by HSH.com, the nation’s largest publisher of mortgage and consumer loan information.
The company’s Home Price Recovery Index uses the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index as a basis to determine which housing markets have fully recovered from the downward spike in the housing market due to the recession and which still haven’t reached pre-recession prices or better.
What they found in Fresno County was that in the third quarter of this year, the average value of a single-family home was a little more than $224,100 — well above the lowest average value during the recession, about $137,400 but 21.7 percent below the peak average value pre recession, at more than $272,000.
Other California metro areas at the bottom 10 of the list were Stockton-Lodi, at 98th place, with an average third-quarter housing price 24.5 percent below that area’s pre-recession peak, and Bakersfield, at the overall bottom of the list with prices 32.7 percent below peak.
“It is important to note that many markets — even the 10 that still remain the furthest from their boom-year price peaks — have seen significant price recoveries since hitting their bottom values,” the HSH report states.
In particular, it notes that Stockon-Lodi and Tucson have seen their gaps shrink by half or more over the past couple of years.
“It’s important to note that even in markets that have not yet returned to previous peaks, it’s not as though borrowers have no equity in their homes,” thank to years of paying off mortgages, so homes that are underwater or with no or little equity may be small in numbers, it continues.
The Visalia, Madera and Hanford metro areas weren’t included in the report, which states that homes in at least 37 of the major metro areas have exceeded their pre-recession home-price levels, on average, some by considerable ratios.
For example, home prices in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. Metro Area — the area topping the recovery list — averaged 72.2 percent higher in the third quarter of this year over the pre-recession peak, HSH reports.
“The Seattle, Wash. and Portland, Ore. metropolitan areas are moving up fast; two years ago, Seattle was ranked 32 in the group of recovered markets, moved up to 20 just four quarters ago, and is now up to position 11. The Portland, Ore. Metro Area has also been moving steadily higher, from 21 two years ago, to 14 last year, to 12 now,” according to the report.
“Of course, what these kinds of movements reflect is simple: Home prices in certain metros are skyrocketing year after year. A rising home price tide may be lifting all boats, so to speak, but some metropolitan boats are perched atop higher waves than are others.
To see the full list, go to www.hsh.com and search under “News and Views.”