207 North Park Drive: The Real Estate Crash of 2008 Still Echoes, Even in the Best Neighborhoods

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207 North Park Drive is a Fisher Park classic, a Craftsman bungalow with beautiful stone columns. Built in 1912, it overlooks the park on one of the neighborhood’s finest streets. It sold last week for $398,900, its full asking price and a pretty impressive number considering it’s not quite 2,000 square feet. That comes out to $206 per square foot, up near the top of the range for the neighborhood and way above what many Fisher Park houses have sold for recently. The house was on the market just over a week before an offer was accepted.

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Even at that price, though, the seller took a loss. They bought the house for $399,750, and that was 12 long years ago. It’s not a big loss, less than $1,000 (but don’t forget the real estate agents’ commission, likely 6 percent — almost $24,000). Still, how could such a fine house in Fisher Park fail to appreciate in 12 years? The answer: The house was bought in September 2007, only a year before real estate crashed. The pre-catastrophe market was just about at its peak.

But that was so long ago, right? Hasn’t the market recovered? Overall, yes. “Prices across the U.S., which fell 33 percent during the recession, have rebounded and are now up more than 50 percent since hitting the bottom, according to CoreLogic, a global property analytics site.” (The Washington Post, October 4, 2018) That brings average prices back up around their 2008 levels or higher.

For any particular house, timing has much to do with the profitability of a sale. Homes bought 10 years before the crash had 10 years of appreciation before the bottom fell out.  If they’re back to their pre-recession value, their owners can sell now and come out reasonably well. But houses bought just before the crash, even a couple years before, may have needed all this time just to get back to their previous sale price. Even in a neighborhood as popular as Fisher Park.

207 North Park had made it just about all the way back when it sold last week. Considering how quickly it sold, perhaps the seller could have hung a higher price on the place and at least have broken even. At the listed price, though, it was already near the top of the current market in Fisher Park. Sometimes when you’re selling a house, it’s more important just to get it sold than to hold out for the maximum possible price. Every additional mortgage payment takes a bite out of your profit margin.

For what it’s worth, 207 North Park isn’t the only historic home in the Triad to be caught lately in the lingering effects of the crash.

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2560 Warwick Road, Winston-Salem, built in 1948

  • Sold for $1.13 million on June 14, 2019
  • Last previous sale: $1.37 million, June 2005
  • Loss: $240,000, 18 percent
  • Neighborhood: Buena Vista

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301 Edgedale Drive, High Point, built in 1921

  • Sold for $493,000 on April 29, 2019
  • Last previous sale: $600,000, February 2006
  • Loss: $107,000, 18 percent
  • Neighborhood: Emerywood

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813 S. Church Street, Winston-Salem, built in 1824
The Philip Reich House

  • Sold for $345,000 on April 24, 2019
  • Last previous sale: $435,000, July 2008
  • Loss: $90,000, 21 percent
  • Neighborhood: Old Salem