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Real estate experts have been speculating on when the U.S. housing market will reach bottom for years now, and the most recent Zillow Home Value Forecast is once again making a bet on the numbers. The research firms’ first quarter Real Estate Market Report recorded a 0.5% increase in home values from February to March, which was the largest monthly increase since May 2006, shortly before the onset of the financial crisis and subsequent recession. Based on this and other metrics, Zillow predicts 19 of the 30 metros areas it analyzes for its Home Value Forecast will reach bottom by 2012. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

Property values in the United States are expected to stay the same over most of this year, suggesting that the hard hit residential real estate market has reached bottom, it is claimed.

Home values in the United States increased 0.5% from February to March, the largest monthly increase since May 2006, according to Zillow's first quarter Real Estate Market Reports.

Over the next 12 months, it is likely that many months will show no change or slight appreciation late this year, the Zillow Home Value Forecast suggests, with overall home values falling 0.4%.

Nineteen of the 30 metro areas covered by the Zillow Home Value Forecast will reach a bottom in 2012, or have already reached a bottom, it predicts.

Several of those are expected to see significant home value increases in the next 12 months, including Phoenix up 6.5%, Miami-Fort Lauderdale up 5.6% and Tampa up 2.5%.

Twelve of the markets covered by the forecast will experience home value declines in the next 12 months, although some of those are likely to reach a bottom in late 2012. Some metros, however, are anticipated to experience significant home value declines in the next 12 months, including the Atlanta metro, with home values falling 4.1% and the Chicago metro, where values are expected to decline 3.8%.

‘For people who have been waiting to time their home purchase close to market bottom, it's time to start shopping. When the bottom will hit will vary by market, and it's nearly impossible to time a purchase exactly right,’ said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries.


‘But home prices are not the only part of the equation. Buyers also should take into account the possibility that rising mortgage rates could offset any further home value declines that may occur,’ he explained.

‘From an economic perspective, the latter part of the first quarter is full of positive news as the spring selling season gets underway. While it is unlikely that national home values continue to rise at this rate through the rest of the spring and summer, it is undeniable that we are seeing sparks of life in the housing market,’ he added.

The report also shows that in the first quarter, the rate of homes foreclosed fell to 2009 levels, with 7.4 out of every 10,000 homes foreclosed, which is significantly down from 8.3 out of every 10,000 homes foreclosed in February.

‘March's lower foreclosure rate does not show signs of the expected increase after the multi-state attorneys general settlement in February. But we should take this news with a grain of salt, as there still exists the possibility for foreclosures to increase again,’ said Humphries.
However, foreclosure re-sales rose to a new high, with 20.5% of all sales in March being foreclosure re-sales.

This article was republished  with permission from Property Wire.