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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Calling All Forensic Nerdologists

by Tanta on 3/11/2008 06:02:00 PM


Or whatever it is you guys are. The sort who become fascinated by weird housing-related data. The sort with good researching abilities. The sort with a surprising amount of time to kill given your apparent educational background and skill levels. You know, UberNerds.

I was spending some time today with the official list of counties that are subject to the new higher jumbo-conforming loan limits. All the usual suspects are on there, plus a few surprises. Like, Athens County, Ohio.

What is Athens County, Ohio doing on this list? It's the only county in Ohio to make the list, which given Ohio's hideous RE market conditions, isn't that surprising. But why did this county--which is not even a metropolitan area (it's a "micro area")--become the highest-cost county in Ohio, loan-limit-wise? The new conforming loan limit for Athens County is $432,500. I'm having a hard time finding data on median home prices in Athens County--since it isn't even an MSA--but I do see that, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors, the average price of homes sold in December of 2007 was $111,891. The highest average current listing price I found on a real estate site was $158,000. I could only find a handful of listings over $400,000. Because the new jumbo-conforming limits are supposed to be 125% of area median prices, that implies a median price for Athens County, Ohio of $346,000.

I hasten to add I have nothing against Athens County, Ohio. I'm sure it's a very nice place. But can anyone tell me what they're smoking at HUD? Does somebody with some important political connections live in Athens County? Was the median price calculated on more than two home sales? Help me out here, Nerds.

UPDATE: Ponder this (source):

(Thanks, JKB!)