Home prices may decline an average of 5% across the country in 2010. Some regional markets hit hardest by the recession will experience additional double-digit declines while others will increase, according to real estate forecaster Local Market Monitor. Fresno tops the forecast for cities with populations over 600,000 expected to experience the worst decline in home prices next year, followed by the Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando and Phoenix metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The Portland, San Jose, Tacoma, Tucson, West Palm Beach and Stockton, Calif. MSAs round out the bottom 10 regions in terms of projections. The forecast also reports that nationally, the delinquency rate is currently 9% for residential mortgages and 8% for commercial real estate loans. But the report’s not all bad news. In Baton Rouge, where the number of jobs has increased, home prices are expected to perform the best across the country, followed by Buffalo, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston in the forecast of top 10 markets. Little Rock., Omaha, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Wichita Falls and Syracuse, N.Y. round out the top 10. These areas are ones that did not experience large price booms and relatively low increases in unemployment. Many Texas markets, for example, should see modest price increases, while Washington D.C. and Anaheim, Calif. will stabilize, said Ingo Winzer, president of Local Market Monitor. “Right now, a good market is still one where home prices aren't going down,” he said. “However, this will change as the recession eases. Next year we'll see good price increases in many markets.” The Local Market Monitor is a nearly 20-year-old quarterly forecast of economic performance that uses home values, housing starts, and employment and population growth, and other indicators to project future changes in the economy. Write to Austin Kilgore.