Home prices declined more in the fourth quarter of 2010 than in any period since the first quarter of 2009, according to Zillow’s fourth quarter Real Estate Market Reports. Falling 5.9 percent year-over-year, the Zillow Home Value Index reached $175,200 by the end of 2010, off 27 percent from its June 2006 peak.
The declining home values combined with a slowdown in the foreclosure rate due to the so-called robosigning scandal to push the percentage of underwater single-family homeowners with mortgages to 27 percent, up 23.2 percent from just a quarter earlier.
Negative equity could begin to fall in early 2011 as foreclosures increase. Foreclosure liquidations peaked in October, when 0.12 percent of U.S. homes were formally foreclosed. That number fell to 0.9 percent in December, as the robosigning scandal stalled action by the nation’s largest banks.
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