IHS Global: Signs of Stabilization Emerge
While cautious not to declare an outright bottom in the housing downturn, IHS Global says a deceleration in the rate of home price depreciation just "might signal the beginning of market stabilization." House prices fell at a 2.2% annual pace in Q109, compared to a significantly higher 12.5% pace recorded in Q408, according to the financial analysis and forecasting company. Nationally, prices have fallen a whopping 10.4% below their 2007 peak. But just 199 of 330 metropolitan areas studied by IHS Global experienced price declines in Q109. That's down from the 312 areas registering declines in Q408. Of those metros that saw home values drop, the areas of greatest decline continue to be in Florida, California, Nevada and Michigan. During the quarter, 57 metro areas posted declines over 25% from their peaks and 134 experienced declines greater than 10%. Nine metro ares -- all in California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada -- have seen prices plunge more than 50% from their peaks. IHS Global's study found the nation's housing market, as a whole, is now slightly undervalued. Only the Pacific Northwest, extending across a region through Idaho and Utah, remains overvalued. "The good news is that the declines are happening as consumer confidence is rising and housing sales and starts seem to be bottoming out," says Jeannine Cataldi, senior economist and manager of IHS Global Insight's Regional Real Estate Service. The bad news, Cataldi says, is that job losses continue at high rates, housing inventories are still elevated and consumers, while becoming somewhat more confident, are still hesitant in the face of economic uncertainty. Write to Kelly Curran.