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Home prices continue downward slide

By Staff | Nov 13, 2010

Home values continue to decline nationwide, according to online real estate website Zillow.com, setting the stage for what some fear will be a long, cold winter for the housing market.
Zillow.com — which culls real estate data from 145 metro statistical areas — said the housing downturn is approaching “Great Depression era” levels.
With values falling for the 17th consecutive quarter, Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries thinks the worst is still to come.
“The high percentage of homeowners in negative equity continues to be troubling,” Humphries said. “It represents a huge number of people who are not only more vulnerable to foreclosure, but who are essentially trapped in their current homes and are prevented from selling and buying a new home. This has profound implications for future demand.”
The average price for a home in Cape Coral during the third quarter was $106,000, according to Zillow.
Between August and September of this year, the median home price declined another 0.5 percent. From the second to third quarters, values dropped 1.4 percent. And year over year Cape Coral saw a 7.4 percent decline.
According to Zillow.com, the median home price in Cape Coral is $106,300.
Yet, the numbers aren’t entirely correct, according to Encore Realty’s Paula Hellenbrand, who said that Zillow does not know the true value of properties in the Cape.
Hellenbrand pointed to a southwest Cape home with Gulf access she sold recently.
On Zillow the property was listed at $259,500, while she actually sold it for $350,000, she said.
While Hellenbrand agreed that values are still lower than the much vaunted boom years, she said one thing Zillow.com is not reporting is that the city’s inventory is in steady decline.
“Prices aren’t rising dramatically, but inventory keeps shrinking,” Hellenbrand added.
Hellenbrand also said the sites like Zillow.com often “twist” numbers, and while people in Cape Coral realize things might not be all bad, it’s important the those outside the city are getting the clear picture.
“The message needs to go out … part of our recovery is the direct correlation to consumer confidence. The truth is it’s not all doom and gloom,” she said.
Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson said that Zillow.com’s average value of $106,500 is probably accurate, though he said the bottom of the commercial real estate market has yet to hit.
“Commercial always follows residential,” Wilkinson said. “And it’s continuing to go down, I can tell you that.”