Home Price Declines Slowing In High-Depreciation Markets

al housing prices fell 12.2% in February from a year ago and have declined for 24 consecutive months, according to the February 2009 home price data from First American CoreLogic's LoanPerformance HPI. Over the past three months, there has been a small but noticeable acceleration in home price decline, reversing what appeared to be a stabilizing trend in the fall of 2008. The depth and breadth of price declines continued to worsen in February, First American CoreLogic adds. More than 700 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) were experiencing home price depreciation, up from 402 CBSAs experiencing depreciation just six months ago. More than 100 CBSAs were experiencing double-digit declines, compared to 83 six months ago. Nevada was the top-ranked state for price depreciation at -26.7%, followed very closely by California at -26.5%, Arizona at -21.1%, Florida at -19.7% and Rhode Island at -19.5%. The silver lining for these high-depreciation states, the company states, is that the rate of price declines has been decelerating the last few months. Although price declines are beginning to stabilize for the very high depreciation markets, the price trends among a next tier of states that are experiencing double-digit declines is worsening. These states include Washington, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Massachusetts and Virginia. Of these six states, Washington and Oregon stand out as having experienced the largest acceleration in price declines during the last year. "More than one-fifth of U.S. housing wealth has vanished, and home prices continue to decline," notes Mark Fleming, chief economist for the company. "Decreases are now being driven by rising unemployment and a high volume of distressed home sales. Given that home prices are generally a lagging indicator of market health, we believe the largest declines have already taken place, but we expect home prices to continue to decline into 2010 as economic conditions and excess housing inventories dampen prices." SOURCE: First American Co


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