Loveland and Berthoud values declined, but other markets increased. Five of 11 major housing markets in Northern Colorado increased in value from 2007 to 2008; however, the Loveland - Berthoud market was not among them.

Home prices in Loveland and Berthoud dropped 1.9 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to a new study on home prices compiled by the Colorado State University Everitt Real Estate Center in Fort Collins.

The study counters the perception that the housing market is "in the tank," said John P. Gerhard, research analyst with the Everitt Real Estate Center in the College of Business.

Gerhard and Sriram Villupuram, a researcher with the Everitt Real Estate Center and assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Real Estate, compiled the house price indices study for year-end 2008. The study will be released each year in March and August to continue tracking the housing market.

"Its primary value will be to the real estate community," said Chuck McNeal, chief executive officer and chairman of the Group Inc. Real Estate, which has six offices in Northern Colorado.

"What it will do is make it easier for real estate professionals to explain to consumers the nature of markets," he said.

The house price indices study provides price indices for 11 major market areas in Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties and for individual census tracts in Northern Colorado.

The indices use data from information Real Estate Systems, a multiple listing service for Northern Colorado, and includes more than 180,000 closings from 1997 through 2008 in three counties. The indices use a weighted repeat sales methodology, which measures the price change for the same house when it is sold a second time.

The indices, which are provided at a county, market area and census tract level, are more detailed than other indices that report home prices," Gerhard said.

"Northern Colorado's housing market is actually in fairly good shape according to our analysis of housing prices," Gerhard said. "(The market) is hyperlocal, meaning it can vary widely by neighborhood and even block by block."

Gerhard and Villupuram found that the markets with the highest level of appreciation were located around the three major universities, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado, and major employers.

The indices at the market area level show that the Tri-Town area of Dacono, Firestone and Fredrick increased the most in value at 2.1 percent from 2007 to 2008. For Collins - Timnath followed with a 1.5 percent increase. The other three market areas showing an increase were Boulder, Gunbarrel, Estes Park and Erie. The market area with the largest decline in value was Greeley - Evans at 8.2 percent, followed by Longmont at 4.7 percent.

The other markets with a decline were Johnstown, Milliken, Windsor, Severance, Loveland, Berthoud, Louisville and Lafayette.

Over the 11-year span, Boulder - Gunbarrel showed the greatest increase in home prices, appreciating 89.1 percent from 1997 to 2008, while Greeley - Evans showed the lowest level of appreciation at 7.9 percent.

The Loveland - Berthoud market fell in the middle with a 39.1 percent appreciation.

Article written by Shelley Widhalm and published in the Reporter-Herald