Home Values Down, But So is Negative Equity

August 9, 2010 No Comments »

double down

Home values nationwide fell 0.6 percent in the second quarter from a quarter earlier and were off 3.2 percent compared to last year, according to real estate information service Zillow.

But the rate of decline slowed for the second straight quarter, likely a result of the homebuyer tax credit, improved affordability, and ongoing loan modification efforts.

Still, 21.5 percent of homeowners were in negative equity positions, meaning they owed more on their mortgages than the current value of their homes.

However, that’s down from 23.3 percent in the first quarter and 23 percent from a year ago.

Conditions certainly varied by region, with more than a quarter of markets experiencing increases in home values over the past year.

In California, five markets have seen home value increases over the past five quarters, with the San Diego MSA leading the way with a 7.3 percent rise year-over-year.

“As the national housing market limps toward stabilization, individual markets are a mixed bag,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries, in a release.

“The double tax credits for some California homebuyers have certainly stimulated housing demand there and are partly responsible for the rapid – and likely unsustainable – rates of appreciation in many markets across the state.”

At the same time, home values in hard-hit Arizona and Florida continued to fall, with the Miami- Fort Lauderdale MSA seeing a 15.2 percent year-over-year decline and the Phoenix MSA slipping 11.8 percent.

High supply seems to be the culprit there, and the shadow inventory is likely exacerbating matters as well.

Home sales are expected to fall significantly post-tax credit, which could extend the time until the nation as a whole sees a home price bottom.

Currently, Zillow expects a bottom sometime in the latter half of 2010.

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