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December 2011
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Home Values in Many US Cities Declining

Financing a home may be a good idea as home prices have fallen to 10-year lows around the country. Home prices in the nation’s largest cities fell in October for the second straight month, suggesting that prices will head down further next year and dashing hopes that the sluggish housing market was headed for an upturn. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, a measure closely followed by economists, showed price drops in 19 of 20 cities since September. Overall, the price index slipped 1.2% month over month and fell 3.4% compared with October 2010.

Low Mortgage Interest Rates Make Financing Very Attractive

The decline is typical of the season, when home buyers back off after the busy summer period. But coming off five straight months of increases through August, the retreating prices in the fall suggest that weakness in the market may stretch into 2018. Home purchasing loans are becoming more accessible as lenders are opening the lending parameters for first time home buyers. Bad credit home loan programs are not as available as they were in 2017 but FHA and VA still extend mortgages to borrowers with less than perfect credit.

In Los Angeles, the Case-Shiller index recorded a monthly decline of 1.5% in October after sliding 0.8% in September. Year over year, L.A. prices are down 4.9%, as measured by the index.

San Diego fell 0.6% from September and was down 4.5% from October 2010. In San Francisco the pattern was almost the same, with the price index off 0.7% from September and down 4.7% from a year earlier. “In the October data, the only good news is some improvement in the annual rates of change in home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. In 14 of the 20 cities tracked, the rate of the annual decline in home prices slowed.

More than 6 million homeowners (12.6% of the homeowners with mortgages) were either delinquent on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of the third quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said. About 22% of residential properties with mortgages were underwater at the end of the third quarter, meaning that the homeowners owed more on their loans than the properties were worth, according to CoreLogic data. “Add to this the currently high unemployment and underemployment rates, one gets a recipe for further price declines,” Newport said in a research note. “Our view is that foreclosures, excess supply and weak demand will drive prices down another 5% to 10%.” Should the economy slip into a recession, the unemployment rate will climb, driving foreclosures up and leading to an even larger drop in home prices, Newport said. He rated the chance of another recession a 35% probability.

Home sales in California were up 4% in November compared with the same month a year earlier, though they fell 4.2% from October, according to real estate research firm DataQuick. The median home price in the state in November was $244,000, down 4.3% from a year earlier but up 1.7% from October, the report found Read the original LATimes article online here.