Home Values Plunged 91.48% ... or that is what you might believe if you were unfortunate enough to trust the journalism standards of Yahoo! Finance. In what can only be described as gross negligence, Yahoo! published an article from US News and World Report on what it felt was the top 10 bargain retirement spots in the US.
According to this work of fiction, Tallahassee is the 2nd best city for retirees to buy a home because our home values dropped "91.48%" between 2009 and 2010. In her story from 2/22/2011, Emily Brandon states
Housing prices are declining fastest in Portland, Ore. (-92 percent), Tallahassee, Fla. (-91 percent), and Tucson, Ariz. (-88 percent).
The article shows in its data source that the current median home price in Tallahassee is $149,000 and thus through extrapolation, we presume Ms. Brandon must believe that the median home price in Tallahassee, in 2009, was roughly $1.75M. Based upon my experience as a 20 year veteran of the Tallahassee real estate market, and the publisher of the most analytical newsletter on local real estate market conditions in Tallahassee, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that our median home price in 2009 was not $1.75M (actual average single family detached home price in 2009 was $192K).
Now mind you, if it were just a numerical slip-up, I would just pass it off as sloppy journalism and editorial oversight. But she used this information as the foundation of her article.
Ms. Brandon believes that seniors will get bargains by moving away from where they live and heading to markets where values have plunged by as much as 92%! Think about that for a second ... If values are plunging off the charts, doesn't that mean that the rats are jumping from a sinking ship? Do you really think there will be a healthy environment to be found by seniors in markets that suffer this level of distress?
The article by Ms. Brandon only serves to reinforce my observation that numbers don't lie, but people do, which was published, ironically, right about the same time as the article in US News and World Reports. I would strongly recommend, regardless of your market of choice, that when deciding whether to buy or sell a home, that you find the local real estate market expert who continually provides charts, graphs, and analysis of the real estate market. If you're not sure, just let me know and I'll tell you who I would work with in that market.
Joe Manausa, MBA is a 26 year veteran of real estate brokerage in Tallahassee, Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today's challenging market.