Zillow: Home Values Post Gains but Recovery is Polarized

Home values saw the largest quarterly gain in the third quarter since 2006, but the increase was not seen across the board according to the latest data tracked by housing hub Zillow. Recent reports may have indicated a recovery is under way, but Zillow says not to count the gains just yet.

Marking the fourth consecutive quarter of increases at a 1.3% increase over the second quarter, the data leads Zillow to project an additional 1.7% gain in home prices by the third quarter of 2013.

The pace of the recovery is uneven, however, and seasonal changes in the home buying market could stand to hinder the recovery or reverse it temporarily in some places, Zillow says.

“We’re likely seeing home values fall back into the negative range in some markets due to the close of the traditional home-buying season,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “While that doesn’t mean the recovery has come off the rails—in fact, most markets have hit bottom—it does present a confusing environment for consumers. Looking forward, we expect to see home values bump along the bottom for some time, before increasing at a slow and steady pace.”

The uncertainty could be one reason the housing topic has not been discussed widely during the presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, Zillow says.

“The positive news on a national level is dominating headlines, and perhaps that is why we haven’t heard either presidential candidate talk in-depth about housing,” Humphries said. “However, despite the national recovery, we are seeing significant polarization among markets, and more than half of battleground states still are experiencing home value declines. This demonstrates that for many pivotal voters who will decide the upcoming election, housing is still a key issue, and one that should be addressed by the candidates.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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