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RISMEDIA, March 1, 2010—President Obama recently announced an additional $1.5 billion in homeowner aid for the areas of the country hardest-hit by declining home values. Florida, Michigan, Arizona, California and Nevada are the five states that will receive funds.

Speaking from Henderson, Nev., Obama spoke about the nation’s fiscal difficulties, and the many homeowners who have been hit by unemployment and foreclosure. According to the White House, the $1.5 billion will be doled out to state housing finance agencies who will in turn take the lead in developing programs that will be most helpful to homeowners in their states. Possible programs will assist homeowners currently in negative equity, help unemployed homeowners or address issues with second mortgages.

There aren’t a lot of details about the additional aid yet. The Department of the Treasury will announce the rules of the program and how much each state will receive in the next two weeks.

What’s certain is that homeowners in cities like Henderson certainly face challenges. Henderson is the second-largest city in Nevada and is part of the Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area. According to Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports, home values in Henderson have fallen 52.5% since the market peaked in May 2006. The median home value then was $353,000. At the end of 2009, it was $167,800. This graph of Henderson’s Zillow Home Value Index gives you an idea of how home values within the area have changed over time.

As is typical in cities and towns where home values decline rapidly, many of the homeowners in and around Henderson also owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. In the greater Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area, Zillow data shows 81.3% of all owners of single-family homes with mortgages were underwater at the end of 2009.

The people of Henderson and Las Vegas are hardly alone in this. Here is a chart of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Zillow where the Zillow Home Value Index has fallen the most since the individual markets peaked.

More details on these programs are sure to emerge in the coming weeks, and we’ll be sure to stay on top of them. To see how cities and towns near you have fared, check out local home values in Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports.

For more information, visit