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Ypsi area home prices, 2006-2012

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Just realized it's been a year since I posted a compilation and chart of Ypsi-area home sales prices from the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors monthly reports. Here's the updated chart, with the latest year's data added:

Clearly, I have a tendency to get excited and want to share whenever the data hits peaks -- it looks like my post a year ago happened at a local maximum, with the 3-month average price peeking over $100k for just a single month. This time, it's the 6-month average price up over $100k for the first time since 2008 (just barely as of August, more solidly by September). Again, the 3-month average peaked even higher, at $117k in June, but summer prices didn't fall off nearly as quickly this time, allowing the 6-month average to move $12,000 higher than its peak from a year ago.

Full data link at the bottom of the post, and also includes moving averages of sales volume and days on market. (6-month average sales volume is also at its highest in 2 years.)

Economic development benefits of street trees

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Over on MarkMaynard.com, there's an interview with Ypsilanti City Planner Teresa on all things street tree: the trees added to West Cross as part of the recent streetscaping project, the city's tree inventory and urban forestry plan, and the public tree nursery project underway.

Mark asked whether street trees have economic development benefits, on top of the obvious quality of life benefits, and Teresa pointed to a round-up by the Arbor Day Foundation; I decided to go a little further and dig up some primary sources. Copied over here for my own future reference, plus just a little bit of math based on the first source:

$50k median taxable value in Ypsilanti * 3% increase from street trees * 33.67 mills for all local property taxes = $50.51 / year tax revenue increase due to each street tree added to an Ypsilanti home that doesn't have one.

Ypsilanti: consider cash bounties for vacant/foreclosed home rehab

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I'm going to make a suggestion that sounds absurd on its face, in Ypsilanti's current heated battle over cutting costs vs. raising taxes: the city should hand out $10,000 cash grants to people who purchase, fix up, and occupy vacant and foreclosed homes. Why? Because it's a net fiscal gain for the city. (Obviously, this should be treated as a starting point for discussion, rather than a fine-tuned proposal.)

As a timely case study, let's look at the properties owned by local landlord David Kircher, whose entire portfolio was recently put on the market by the trustee appointed in his bankruptcy proceedings. I understand most (perhaps all?) of these properties to also be subject to tax foreclosure by the county for unpaid property taxes.

Ypsi (city) foreclosure rate curving downwards

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A few posts ago, I suggested that sale prices of houses in Ypsilanti are starting to swing up over the last few months. How about the other popular metric of the housing market--the foreclosures?

Foreclosure activity, as we expect, is a downward force on home values, because the bank-owned homes dumped on the market soak up buyers. Over the last few years, from city assessing records, we can see that bank sales in the city go for half or a third the price of private sales:

With average MLS sale prices bumping along at $80,000 during that entire two year period, we can see that it was the bank sales dragging down the price. Fewer foreclosures means fewer bank-owned homes glutting the market, meaning prices can start recovering. Fortunately, Ypsi (the city, at least) is on the right side of that curve.

Historical census info

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Thanks to Dale, I'm suddenly aware of the National Historical Geographic Information System, from the University of Minnesota. NHGIS hosts census data back to 1790! (An admission of mindlessness: I pulled up 1790 as a test and for a moment thought they only had partial census data, since Michigan wasn't listed. D'oh.)

Now I just need to restrain myself to looking up only the data I actually need, and not geeking out into semirandom data dumps.

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