Post-recession trends

Home values and homeownership rates are down in more populous counties

Home values are slowly picking up after the recession, though they’re nowhere near pre-recession levels. A closer look at home values shows that they declined in large counties but held steady in smaller counties after the most recent recession, according to new findings from the U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey.

The newly published survey reveals that, in nearly 67 percent of smaller counties (with populations between 20,000 and 65,000), the median home value during the recession period (2007 to 2009) was not statistically different from the period after (2010 to 2012).

However, median home values in 43 of the 50 largest counties decreased after the recession.

At a national level, the median home value was $174,600 following the recession — down $17,300 from the recession period.

Additionally, the survey indicated that the national homeownership rate was 64.7 percent in 2010 to 2012 — a nearly 2 percent drop from the recession period — with 49 out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas (by population) experiencing a significant decrease in homeownership rates.

These numbers indicate that the inflated home prices and homeownership rates prior to the recession was mainly in large population centers, says Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica, a Charlotte, N.C.- based housing investment company. “By contrast, smaller population centers performed better over the last 10 years if you place a value on stability and predictability.”

Rand says the survey’s results represent the importance of knowing a local market and not relying on national indexes. He says, “Lots of small-town folks were made to feel very insecure about the value of their homes, due to earlier alarming housing reports, when they had no reason to be.”

The good news today is that the population nationally is growing, Rand says, which will lead to a continued increase in demand for housing.

“Increases in demand mean upward pressure on home values,” Rand adds.

— Erik. J. Martin

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