Thursday, November 13, 2008

One-Third Of US Properties Sold At A Loss

Source : The Business Times, November 13, 2008

Home values slide 9.7% in third quarter, the seventh consecutive decline

(SAN FRANCISCO) One-third of US homeowners who sold their property in the 12 months through September lost money as foreclosures depressed prices and more Americans became unemployed in a weakening economy, reported.

Home values fell 9.7 per cent in the third quarter, the seventh consecutive decline, to a median US$202,966, Seattle-based Zillow, a seller of real estate data, said in a report yesterday. One in seven homeowners had negative equity, or owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth.

'It's clear we are at a unique point in history,' Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice-president of data and analytics, said in a statement.

'We've had seven consecutive quarters of decline, and we expect that to continue until at least the middle of next year. Most markets are still seeing five-year annualised returns, but we will see more markets slip into flat or negative long-term change as the economy continues to suffer.'

Stricter mortgage standards and record foreclosures are deepening the housing recession amid climbing unemployment.

US payrolls fell for a 10th straight month in October and have dropped by 1.2 million so far this year, the Labor Department said last week. The jobless rate is at a five-year high of 6.3 per cent.

The 30.2 per cent of homeowners who sold at a loss at the end of the third quarter compared with 23.7 per cent at the end of the second quarter, Zillow said.

Almost one in five transactions were foreclosure sales. California had 14 of the 17 markets where more than half of homes sold were sold at a loss, according to Zillow. -- Bloomberg

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