Reversal of fortune

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water…

Reversal of fortune
After trend of rising prices, some housing markets see about-face

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) – One in five housing markets entered a second leg of home price declines in late 2009, after showing price increases for nearly half of last year, according to a report released Wednesday by Zillow.com, a real-estate Web site.

In 29 of the 143 markets tracked by the site – including Boston, Atlanta and San Diego – prices flattened or began to decrease again in the second part of last year, after five or more months of consecutive monthly increases, according to the site’s fourth quarter real-estate market report.

Home prices in another 29 markets, including Los Angeles and New York, increased each month throughout the fourth quarter. But the rate of increase slowed from November to December in 21 markets, according to the data.

Nationwide, home values fell 5% in the fourth quarter compared with the fourth quarter a year earlier. Values fell 0.5% from the third quarter of 2009.

“While we have seen strong stabilization in home values during 2009, there are clear signs that they will turn more negative in the near-term,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, in a news release.

“What we saw in mid-2009 was a brief respite from a larger market correction that has not yet run its course,” he said.

Excerpt: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/early-signs-of-a-double-dip-in-housing-prices-2010-02-10