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RISMEDIA, September 21, 2009—Home values continued to show encouraging signs according to new data released in Real Estate Market Reports for the July 2009 time period. The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) was down 9.9% from its level one year ago, compared to a 10.5% and an 11.9% annualized depreciation rate at the end of June and the end of the first quarter of 2009 respectively. While home values nationally are now down 21% from their peak in the second quarter of 2006, July marked the sixth consecutive month of improvement in the annualized depreciation rate for the nation. The ZHVI was down 0.4% from June, so home values were still not flat on a sequential basis. 

Some of the hardest-hit metropolitan areas continued to show weakness. The ZHVI for Las Vegas, NV, down 53% from peak, was down 32% from July of last year (and 3.1% from June 2009) and still hasn’t seen improvement. Moreover, the percent of all homes in Las Vegas that were foreclosed in the month has been increasing again for the past two months after several months of decline. Similarly, depreciation in Phoenix, AZ (down 46% from peak) has stabilized but the metro area is still reporting a 25% decline in home values from levels last year and the percent of foreclosed homes is also rising again. Riverside (down 52% from peak), Miami (down 45% from peak), and Tampa (down 41% from peak) are seeing some improvement in annualized depreciation rates albeit their rates are still quite high (-26%, -21% and -20% respectively) and all three still show substantial declines from the prior month (-1.6%, -1.0% and -1.1% respectively). 

In almost all markets, the worrisome trend to watch is the increasing number of foreclosures. While the foreclosure re-sale rate (sales of foreclosed homes as a percentage of all sales) is declining in most markets, this is mostly attributable to increases in the total number of homes sold, not a reduction in the number of foreclosures. Looking instead at the number of homes being foreclosed as a percentage of all homes, most markets are showing a resurgence now in foreclosures. Indeed, even the foreclosure re-sale rate is expected to climb again in most markets as home sales begin to decline in the fall and winter (home sales will taper off seasonally but foreclosures will continue to pick up steam). It’s for this reason (combined with the overall high levels of for-sale inventory still present in many markets) that we expect the monthly change in ZHVI to continue to remain negative for the next few quarters, although we expect annualized depreciation rates to continue to moderate. 

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