If you're a Twin Cities area homeowner, here are a couple charts from today's year-end 2010 report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors that will make your head hurt.
They show the change in median value of houses by Multiple Listing Service area from 2006 to 2010. It is not pretty. Click on the charts for a larger view and use the "page down" key on your computer to scroll to the bottom.
We've written a ton on MinnEcon about the long road back for housing values. These charts really bring it home.
As far as I can tell, only the Chanhassen and Maple Grove / Osseo areas showed increases in value since 2006.
Take a look at the charts and report and let me know if something surprises you.
It's worth remembering that this isn't just a numbers game. A house is typically the single biggest investment Americans make, an asset once relied on to build wealth and provide the means to send kids to college and provide a financial cushion in retirement.
Here's a great reason why us data nuts are so valuable: the increase in prices in both Maple Grove and Osseo can be explained by a change in product mix versus true changes and sales prices - fewer houses in the lower price points sold this year than the last few, which pushes the median price up.
If you play with several different settings in MAAR's interactive chart you can see what I am talking about but it is more complicated to see than it is to just trust me on this :-)
I just did this type of analysis on the Minnetonka market a couple weeks ago and the proof there is pretty obvious: