When it comes to the housing market, Kansas City could be Florida, or California, even Phoenix and Las Vegas, of all places. It’s in those places that Moody’s Economy.com reports that house prices will fall more than 50 percent before the end of this mess.

Well, it could be worse.

When it comes to the housing market, Kansas City could be Florida, or California, even Phoenix and Las Vegas, of all places. It’s in those places that Moody’s Economy.com reports that house prices will fall more than 50 percent before the end of this mess.

Economy.com estimates the housing dilemma will drag the national average home price down 36.2 percent from a first quarter 2006 peak to the fourth quarter this year.

But on the flipside, here in Kansas City, the average price of a Jackson County home will decline a modest 5.1 percent from a first quarter 2008 peak to the first quarter of 2010.

Donna Best from First American Title in Blue Springs, said everyone in the housing market is on the edge of their seats.

“We’re holding our breaths,” Best said.

And come April when property taxes are evaluated, homeowners and buyers will know whether to exhale or fume.

Yet there is light.

According to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, local home-builders posted a 13 percent gain in new home permits in January 2009. The statistics were compiled by the association.

At the same time, however, January’s total marked the lowest monthly report since 1982.

Tim Underwood, HBA executive vice president and CEO, said that the greater metropolitan area is in a position to recover more quickly than other regions, in part to HBA members reducing inventories for the last 24 months.

“Local builders reacted much more quickly to reduce inventories than most builders did nationwide,” he said, which in turn, has allowed the area to retain its value better.

Part of President Obama’s stimulus plan provides home buyers who haven’t owned a home in at least three years with an $8,000 fully refundable tax credit, but buyers have to live in the home for three years.

The tax credit puts a smile on Frank Baker’s face. He works as a broker/associate with 21st Century Realty Klahn and Associates. All the other news concerning market values isn’t worth smiling about, he said.

“But we’re in better shape than many, many areas,” he said. “Here in the Midwest, the market doesn’t fluctuate as much as it does on the coasts. We’re more insulated.”

Still, much of Baker’s business these days are foreclosures, but he’s not counting  it will last, but that it will improve. He said when property tax evaluations come in April, he’s expecting homeowners to get good news.

“I would have to say that they’ll decrease,” he said.