The foreclosure crisis has caused property values to plummet and has taken a toll on communities nationwide. Although Ohio has been hit especially hard, Upper Arlington's housing market has remained relatively stable, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors.

The foreclosure crisis has caused property values to plummet and has taken a toll on communities nationwide. Although Ohio has been hit especially hard, Upper Arlington's housing market has remained relatively stable, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors.

"It's been more stable, yes. We have also seen the fluctuations of the economy and the real estate market, but not to the same degree that we have in other communities," said Chip Parrish, a director with the Columbus Board of Realtors and a team leader with Keller Williams Realty. "It's an established community. The reasons why people live in Upper Arlington, a lot of them have grown up here and want to come back here."

Home sales are down 23.1 percent in central Ohio compared with the same period last year, according to figures released in April by the local, state and national boards of Realtors. The average sales price of a central Ohio home dropped from $155,141 last March to $143,287 in March 2009, reflecting a national and statewide decline.

In Upper Arlington, however, the sales price for single-family homes actually increased from April 2008 to April 2009, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors' figures. The current average sales price is $310769, compared to $284,463 at the same time last year.

"Upper Arlington has a greater percentage of single-family homes. We don't have as many condos or duplexes, although we certainly have those, too," said Parrish, who has sold property in Upper Arlington for 17 years. "We never real saw real high, high appreciation (in property values), so there hasn't been as much depreciation."

As a first-ring, built-out suburb, Upper Arlington cannot boast new infrastructure like some outer-ring suburbs. But Upper Arlington also does not have the problem of builders developing subdivisions on undeveloped land, with newly built homes sitting vacant because of sagging demand.

"We don't have a lot of new growth here in town," Parrish said. "That helps the continuity in the community."

The local school system also remains a lure to families in search of homes, Parrish said. The Upper Arlington City Schools received an "excellent with distinction," the highest rank possible, on the Ohio Department of Education's 2007-08 report card.

"We do find that is a very big draw," Parrish said of the schools. "The location of Upper Arlington to downtown, to the (Ohio State) university, that is also a big draw."

While no community is immune to the national economic climate, Upper Arlington continues to fare well, Parrish said. Incentives the federal government have recently made available for homebuyers are slowly pumping new life into the overall real estate market, he said.

"With job losses, they affect all communities, and that, many times, is why there are the foreclosures or the short sales that we find," Parrish said. "At the same time, with the low interest rates and the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit, it has counteracted a lot of activity in the marketplace and rebuilt consumer confidence."

cbournea@thisweeknews.com