One measure of properties’ appreciation or depreciation is average house price. It’s not exact–it’s really a measure of the average selling prices of houses in any given time. So, for instance, if during hard economic times, people with lower incomes were disproportionately affected, which caused them to sell their houses, where better-off people may choose not to sell, the average price of houses sold would probably be lower.
There’s no doubt that house prices are lower now, in July 2009, than they were in previous years, namely 2008 and 2007. How much lower is a good question. One of my appraiser friends uses 7% in his reports but will tell you privately that it’s more like 10%. This corresponds with my anecdotal evidence of $165/SF to $150/SF from market peak to now, at least in Eugene.
There are 3 measures of central tendency, mean, median and mode. If you look at mean (what most think of as average) and compare it with mode, you can tell (if you remember your statistics) if there are more high-end or low-end houses sold in comparison to the median. Median price in Lane County for June 2009 was: 209.65K, while mean was: 228.5K. This indicates that there were more high-end houses also sold, above the median price. Those numbers come from the most recent RMLS stats.