Posted by Doug Pretorius on October 28, 2003 at 16:22:21:
The city might also have some of it. Your realty board would almost certainly have it (maybe not going back a hundred years). Although I can definitely see them giving an investor a lot of grief, so I would approach them from a different angle. If you have school-age children, or can secure the assistance of one, you can try to do it as a school project, I bet the board will help out with some basic info.
But you can get a pretty good estimate by just doing a little detective work. Probably the best way to get a gauge of the last 15-20 years is to take a veteran agent out for lunch and get him/her talking about their career. You can get everything from which years were good and which were bad, to what prices were like in yesteryear.
You can also talk to people in their 70s and 80s and ask them about their first house, where it was, what they paid, and what year. Then you do some comps for that area. You then do a little figuring to determine what percentage appreciation has been per year between then and now.
I talked to one lady who bought her first house from the builder in 1925 for $2,200. That same house is now worth about $200,000. It worked out to about 5-6% appreciation per year. You do that for a few houses around your market, and now you’ve got a historical average to compare recent increases against.