Home prices fell across a wide swath of U.S. ZIP codes during the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a new report, suggesting that the nation's housing troubles have extended well beyond so-called 'bubble' areas and are reaching into areas some thought might have been insulated from the mortgage and housing debacle.
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According to data released late last week by First American CoreLogic, housing prices fell in more than 75 percent of the nation's primary ZIP codes over the last three months. The graphic to the right shows the three-month price performance by state. "Of the 7,472 ZIP codes tracked by the LoanPerformance HPI, home prices in 5,691 (76.16 percent) of these ZIP codes have decreased over the last three months," said Damien Weldon, vice president, collateral and prepayment analytics for First American CoreLogic. "Year-over-year, however, just 4,028 (53.91 percent) of the ZIP codes we track indicate decreasing property values," added Weldon. The widespread drop during the fourth quarter is an area of concern for U.S. policymakers and industry participants; while yearly price gains are intact in many areas, continued widespread drops will eventually wipe out any gains in annual terms. "This clearly suggests we have some way to go before this correction plays out," said one manager at a national bank, who asked not to be named. "Anyone focusing on the annualized results without looking at quarterly trending is missing the larger picture." California was hit particularly hard, with 97.67 percent of the ZIP codes tracked in the state posting an annualized decline. For more information, visit http://www.loanperformance.com.