Home values in most U.S. markets continued to decline in the first quarter of this year, falling 3.8% year-over-year and 1% quarter-over-quarter to $183,700, according to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Report issued by Seattle-based Zillow.
The report found that negative equity across the country remained high, with 23.3% of single-family homes with mortgages underwater – up from 21.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009. Foreclosures reached a new peak in March, with more than one out of every 1,000 U.S. homes going into foreclosure during that month. Foreclosure re-sales also remained high in March, generating 22.2% of all U.S. home sales during that month.
However, the report found that several major metropolitan areas in California – the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Ventura markets – have stabilized significantly in the past year, marking what could be the bottoming out of their respective housing crises. Home values in those markets rose at least the past 10 months, after values in all five markets reached a low point in April or May 2009, according to Zillow.
‘It's a very positive sign that several large markets have hit what appears to be a tentative bottom in home values,’ says Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist. ‘While this is no guarantee that home values there will not fall again, it is more likely than not that they will remain above their lowest point last year.’