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Monday, November 29, 2010

How Do I Find the Property Value Trends in My Area?



Knowing property value trends can be very helpful to you as a buyer, seller or investor. As a buyer, you can pinpoint bargains in areas that are trending upward (or downward) in price. As a seller, you can use the information as part of the bargaining process to get the maximum price from the sale. As an investor, you can use the latest forecasts and trends to determine whether you want to invest, when you want to invest, and how much to put into a property. 

Remember, the trends are not guarantees of future performance; they're an educated guess as to which way the market is moving.Whatever your real estate goals, you want the latest and best information, and you want it from experienced professionals. In terms of your neighborhood and/or city, your local real estate agent is the best source for weekly and monthly trends. After all, it's their job to stay on top of such trends in the markets they serve. 

Other organizations provide state, regional and national forecasts. They're often updated on a monthly or quarterly basis. Sources of Information Thanks to the Internet, there are many, many sources for data on real estate property value trends. 

For state trends, go to the Federal Housing Finance Agency website (http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=215). Click on your state to get the Housing Price Index (HPI). 

If you're wondering exactly what the HPI measures and how it's calculated, here's what the site says: "The HPI is a broad measure of the movement of single-family house prices. The HPI is a weighted, repeat-sales index, meaning that it measures average price changes in repeat sales or re-financings on the same properties.

This information is obtained by reviewing repeat mortgage transactions on single-family properties whose mortgages have been purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac since January 1975. The HPI serves as a timely, accurate indicator of house price trends at various geographic levels. Because of the breadth of the sample, it provides more information than is available in other house price indexes." So, if you want property value trends for Nebraska from the FHFA site, click on "State HPI Summary" and scan down the list of states until you find Nebraska. The handy table gives rankings and trends in quarterly, 1 year, 5 year and "Since 1991Q1" columns.On the same site, you can also click on "Research and Analysis," and you'll get a list of government and industry sites which will provide you with information on property trends. Note: The FHFA site doesn't provide predictions; it simply reports data. To get analysis and predictions, try the respected RealtyTimes.com. It reports on current market conditions and provides advice to consumers as well. Another site for information on residential properties is Zillow.com.

To find local information, fist click on the "Local Information" tab. That takes you to the page where you'll find the "State," "City," and "Nearby Neighborhoods" tabs. Click on the appropriate names, and you have local information! There are many, many other websites from which you can gather property value information. 

I don't have the space to list them all, so here's a partial list of major industry and governmental agencies: 

- National Association of Realtors = Freddie Mac 
- National Association of Home Builders 
- Census Bureau 

Of course, the network, cable, and satellite channels report many of the finding from the sources listed above on a national basis. But, if you want local information, I recommend you work with your local real estate agent! He or she is best positioned to give you the latest information on property value trends. 

To see what I can do for you in that regard, please contact me today!

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