County Home Prices Down Nearly 20% Since 1990

Homeowners in Ventura County have seen the value of their properties drop by nearly one-fifth during the real estate slump of the past five years.

That's about on a par with the overall real estate decline in Southern California, which has seen the worst price declines of any region in the state, a study shows.

One bright note for Ventura County homeowners: The real estate market here has fared considerably better than that of such high-priced areas as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Still, Ventura County's housing market is much weaker than Oregon's, where values have skyrocketed by two-thirds since 1990.

Selling prices of single-family houses in Ventura County averaged $236,000 at the end of this year's second quarter, 19.7% below the average of $294,000 in June, 1990. That represents a paper loss, on average, of $58,000 for the county's homeowners.

The price decline in Southern California as a whole during the same period was 21.7%. Los Angeles County was the hardest hit in the region, with prices falling 24.7%, according to DataQuick Information System, which conducted the study along with the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick.

Homeowners in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Santa Monica suffered the most severe price declines in the state in recent years, while some communities in Northern California and the Central Valley are emerging relatively unscathed from the real estate recession, the study showed.

While prices fell 17% statewide, homes in Marin County increased 0.8% in value and homes in Tulare County were up 14.8%

Among the communities hardest hit were parts of Hollywood, down 45.1%; Santa Monica, off 39.6%, and Beverly Hills, down 37.8%.

The most modest decline, 5.1%, was reported in the Central Valley and rural areas.

All but three counties in the state showed price declines during the period. Those experiencing rising prices were Marin, 0.8%; Kern, 0.4%, and Nevada, 5.4%.

Some Southland communities with the nastiest five-year declines are now starting to come back, researchers said.

In the past year, price increases have been registered in parts of Pacific Palisades, up 11.7%; Manhattan Beach, up 8%; and Beverly Hills, up 3%.

In contrast to the experience of most California homeowners in the past five years, prices have risen since 1990 by 15.6% in Arizona, 17.7% in Nevada, 19.3% in Washington state and a whopping 67.8% in Oregon.

In the past year, Ventura County house prices declined only slightly, falling to $236,008 in August from $236,388 a year earlier.

The study was conducted for clients of DataQuick and KPMG on Wall Street and in the mortgage banking industry.

An area's price trends are considered in buying and selling packages of home loans in the secondary mortgage market.

Other factors often used in determining the value of a mortgage are a house's location, size, age and amenities.

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