Home values tumble 3 percent

May 9, 2011 at 1:46 PM
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SEATTLE, May 9 (UPI) -- Home values in the first quarter fell 3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, the largest drop between quarters since 2008, a home value index indicated.

The Zillow Home Value Index released Monday indicated the median home value fell 8.2 percent in a year-over-year comparison to $160,600 in the first quarter of 2011, the Seattle-based real estate information marketplace said in a release.

Home values have fallen 29.5 percent since they peaked in June 2006, the organization said.

"Home value declines are currently equal to those we experienced during the darkest days of the housing recession. With accelerating declines during the first quarter, it is unreasonable to expect home values to return to stability by the end of 2011," Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said.

While home buyer tax credits buoyed the housing market last year, "underlying demand post-tax credit, as well as rising foreclosures and high negative equity rates, make it almost certain that we won't see a bottom in home values until 2012 or later," Humphries said.

Negative equity reached a new mark of 28.4 percent of single-family homeowners with mortgages under water in the first quarter, up from 27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, Zillow said. A homeowner is in negative equity when more is owed on the mortgage than the home is worth.

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