Zillow – Home Values In Most Large U.S. Cities Bottoming

Nineteen of 30 large metropolitan areas have already reached a floor or will by late 2012, the Seattle-based property data provider, Zillow said in a report today. Among the regions that are at the bottom, Phoenix and Miami are poised to have the largest price increases through March 2013, gaining 6.5 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. Atlanta will have the steepest decline, falling 4.1 percent, the company projected.

The U.S. housing market, bolstered by job growth, has shown some improvement.  Home values nationwide climbed 0.5 percent in March from February, the biggest monthly increase since May 2006, according to the seasonally adjusted Zillow Home Value Index. Prices are 25 percent below the May 2007 peak and will be little changed through the end of the year, the company said.

“I remain cautiously optimistic about the full year of 2012, and the first-quarter numbers are very encouraging,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said in a telephone interview. “The bottom in home values is in sight.”

Any recovery might be threatened if the pickup in employment falters, he said.

Markets that have reached the low point include Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Denver, according to the report. The New York metro area’s trough will come in the second quarter, followed by Baltimore and Las Vegas in the third quarter, Zillow projected.

Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, Atlanta and Charlotte in North Carolina are among the 11 areas that won’t reach a floor in 2012, the company said.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped 3.5 percent in February, the smallest year-over-year decline since February 2011, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released yesterday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency yesterday said property values rose 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to February. Prices climbed 0.4 percent from February 2011, the first gain since the 12 months through July 2007.

Zillow’s index measures the value of 100 million homes, whether or not they’ve sold, and calculates the median. Other gauges, such as the the Case-Shiller index, include only sales.

Source: Bloomberg

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