It’s a mixed bag when one looks into how single-family home property values have fluctuated across Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties during the past several years.
The average value for most communities in Geauga County for this type of home has dropped very little since 2008, when the real estate market began to crash nationally, according to information from the county Auditor’s Office.
Auditor Frank J. Gliha said his office also just recently completed the triennial update of property values that are determined based on sales, and there will be no change in values from when a countywide reappraisal was conducted three years ago.
“I thought that is very good for the residents of Geauga County,” he said. “I’m working hard to stabilize the values where they are today.”
He doesn’t believe the values will get back to the levels in 2005 when the real estate boom occurred, causing values to skyrocket.
“I think we’re in an economy where the value is where they should be,” Gliha said.
Geauga County Commissioner Mary Samide, who has served in her position for 10 years, believes the large lot zoning requirements in many of the townships, along with the semi-rural characteristics within the county, also have helped to keep property values from declining as much as in other areas in the state.
The average residential property value in eight communities covered by The News-Herald in eastern Cuyahoga County for 2013 shows more of a drop when compared with the years 2008 and 2009, according to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office.
These communities showed the smallest average value drop was $18,005 in Mayfield Village while the highest decline of $38,745 was in Richmond Heights.
Richmond Heights Building Commissioner Philip Seyboldt said property values are probably more accurate now than they were during the boom years of 2005, 2006 and 2007, when he said “practically anybody could buy a house with no money down.”
“Mortgages are harder to come by than they were six or seven years ago,” Seyboldt said.
In Euclid, the average certified value of a residential property was $105,511 in 2008 and decreased to $69,586 in 2013. Several programs are offered in Euclid to help fight abandonment and blight.
The Euclid Development Corp., for example, offers 3 percent interest loans for eligible residents to upgrade and improve their homes, or down-payment assistance for eligible incoming residents.
Through the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, the Advantage Plus Loan Program also is available in Euclid. This program, which is available exclusively in Euclid, is specifically geared toward prospective home owners who want to rehabilitate a home to make it their own. The properties in this program need extensive work that requires the purchaser “to have either renovation expertise or the ability to pay contractors to make the necessary repairs,” according to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank’s website. Investors are excluded from the program.
Participants in the Advantage Plus Loan Program can receive up to $10,000 in renovation work that the buyer and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank “agree must be completed in order to meet the Land Bank’s Housing Quality Standards and any municipal point-of-sale requirements,” according to the Land Bank’s website.
Ian Ahern, a housing manager with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, said the project is a pilot program and they work hand in hand with Euclid Building Department to increase owner occupancy in the city.
Ahern added the program started in 2013 and about 20 homes have been sold through it.
In Lake County, average single home property values weren’t available from the Auditor’s Office, but the average sale prices were available from years 2006 through 2013.
The statistics, which did not include foreclosed or distressed properties, showed average sale prices generally trended toward a decline countywide from 2006 ($161,924) through 2009 ($127,260) jumped slightly in 2010 ($129,300), then spiked by an average of $42,000 to $173,500 in 2011.
In 2012 ($169,680) and 2013 ($166,919), the average sale price countywide leveled off and declined slightly.
Another component of the single-family home sales shows that the number of sales in 2006 in the county totaled 4,274.
In 2007 there were 3,566 sales; 3,147 in 2008; 3,188 in 2009; 2,840, in 2010; the statistics show.
There was a huge dropoff in the number of sales in 2011 with just 930 countywide; in 2012 there were 1,053; and in 2013 the total jumped to 1,624.
State Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake, serves as executive director of the Lake County Land Reutilization Corp., also called the Lake County Land Bank. He said after the real estate bubble burst a few years ago, there were many foreclosures and tax delinquencies that took place, so it’s hard to say exactly how much that has affected average sale prices.
But Rogers said items such as low interest rates and programs like the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program have helped stabilize some prices.
One way the county works to maintain property values is to help get rid of property blight, he said.
So far, the Land Bank has taken down 40 homes within the county since the agency was formed by Lake County commissioners created the entity in 2012.
“We’ve already seen some of these properties be interested for future development,” Rogers said.
Other properties acquired by the Land Bank also have sparked some interest in renovation or possible sales, he said.
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