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Differences in Home Value Trends by City’s Price Level

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By Stan Humphries, Chief Economist, Zillow.com

RISMEDIA, July 19, 2010—I thought it was time we revisited the earlier analysis we at Zillow.com did on how home value trends vary by the typical home value of a city. Previously, we found that most metros displayed a pattern in which cities with higher-priced real estate had experienced less decline in home values since home values peaked in the specific metro market (relative to cities with lower priced real estate in the same metro).

Returning to the issue armed with May 2010 data from the Zillow Home Value Index, we find a much more mixed picture in terms of the relationship between prevailing home values at peak and peak-to-current declines in home values. See a table of the classification of metro regions showing whether the higher-priced cities within the metro have seen more, less or the same degree of decline in home values since the peak in the market.

In the San Francisco metro area, the price level of a city has had a huge impact on how far home values have fallen. At peak, a typical home in Antioch—in Contra Costa County east of the Bay—had a value of $516,000, but home values there have fallen 63% since then. That’s in sharp contrast to Hillsborough—in San Mateo County—where a typical home was valued at almost $2.6 million at peak and home values have declined only 10% since then. Some of this effect is due to the timing of the housing downturn in these two cities. Antioch went into decline before Hillsborough, but the former is now seeing positive monthly appreciation (0.9% in May) whereas the latter is still seeing negative appreciation (-0.6% in May). So stay tuned, peak-to-decline values may look quite different than they do today in this market.

View an interactive chart (located at the bottom of the linked page) showing the patterns for each metro region.

For more information, visit www.zillow.com.

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