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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Home Prices Trend This Year

What Home Can You buy for $400,000 This Year

A Survey In 5 Major Cities

If you're shopping for a home this year, you couldn't have timed it better. The country is in a buyer's market with a 7.2-month supply of homes for sale. Anything more than a six-month supply means an advantage for buyers. But just how strong that "buyer's market" phenomenon is -- and how it might help you -- can vary from one side of town to the other, or even from one neighborhood or school district to next.

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And even though it's described as a buyer's market, it's certainly no fire sale. In the spring of 2006 Bankrate surveyed the country to see how much home $400,000 could buy in 24 cities small, medium and large.

This year Bankrate went back to five of those same cities -- in the East, South, Midwest, West and Northwest -- to see what, if anything, has changed.

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Mid East-Fort Wayne, Indiana:
Price comparison 2006-2007: Unchanged with better deals for new homes.
In the past year, the median price of a home fell $2,500 to $101,600. Buyers looking for a new home can get some good deals.

South- Miami, Florida:
Price comparison 2006-2007: Overvalued despite 6 percent price drop.
Miami buyers will have more choices and may get a slight break on price. The median home price at the end of 2005 was $391,200. At the close of 2006, it was $366,800. Sellers are not budging in their prices and buyers are not making offers. However, if you need a single-family home with $400,000, you are not going to find anything very nice or very big. Either you buy a condo, or you go away from the metropolis.

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West- Las Vegas, Nevada:
Price comparison 2006-2007: Still overpriced but prices falling.
Buyers who waited until this year will be able to get more for the money. Last year, the median home price in the Las Vegas area was $315,900. This year it slid to $313,500. As far as single-family homes, there is an enormous amount of properties on the market at the moment.

East-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Price comparison 2006-2007: Unchanged due to stagnant economy.
In the $400,000 price range, you'll probably get the same for your dollar. Median home prices have increased $7,200 to $222,300 in the last year -- about 3 percent -- but the numbers of actual sales are down. Homes are staying on the market slightly longer than last year.

North West-Seattle, Washington:
Price comparison 2006-2007: Prices soaring -- the bubble's still inflating.
In Seattle this year, $400,000 will buy much less house -- and it will likely be a town house rather than a single-family home. The median home price at the end of 2005 was $335,000 versus $372,900 at the end of 2006 -- an 11 percent jump. What you could get last year for $400,000 would have been around 2,200 square feet and still within the city limits. To get that same thing now would take up to $500,000 or more. While there are plenty of townhomes, Seattle has few houses available for $399,000 in the city limits.

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