Stan Humphries, the chief economist at real estate site Zillow.com, declares that the housing double dip began in earnest in December:
December brought signs that the fledgling recovery of home values in many markets is slowing again. U.S. home values got a bit lower again in December relative to November levels and the rate of decline got just a little bit higher as well. The national Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) was down 0.21% on a monthly basis in December to $186,200 versus a monthly decline of 0.16% in November. Annualized depreciation was 5.0% nationally. See Figure 1 below for monthly and annualized rates of change for the ZHVI.
More significantly, a number of large markets saw an end to their streak of consecutive monthly gains, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore. In total, one in five (29) of the 143 markets tracked by Zillow saw monthly depreciation or flattening of home values in December after having experienced at least five consecutive month-over-month increases in home values during 2009. If these declines are sustained, as we expect to happen in many markets, the result will be a “double dip ” in home values, defined as two periods of sustained declines in home values separated by a brief period of stabilisation or recovery.
Home values in an additional 29 markets, including the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), increased on a month-over-month basis each month throughout the fourth quarter. However, the rate of increase slowed from November to December in 21 of those markets, and several appear likely to experience several months of sustained decline in early 2010.
Now check out: Is YOUR city still in the housing market gutter?