Last month, we reported in our Q4 Real Estate Market Reports that five of the 143 markets we covered were in the throes of a “double dip,” meaning home values showed sustained monthly increases sometime during the year, but have been falling again, for at least five months in a row, on a month-over-month basis.
Some additional markets were on the double-dip watch list. Home values, measured by the Zillow Home Value Index, were falling after earlier increases, but the falls hadn’t yet gone on long enough to constitute a real trend.
The watch list has shrunk a bit, as many markets that were on it last month sunk firmly into double dip territory after January. Ten markets, including the Boston and Denver MSAs, seem poised for a double dip. Here’s the full list:
On the other side of the coin are 16 markets that continue to show monthly increases. But for some of these, there is a caveat. Markets like the San Francisco MSA, while seeing month-over-month increases, are also seeing the rate of increase slow. If that continues, home value changes could tip back into negative territory, making some additional MSAs candidates for the double dip.
But for homeowners who live in a double-dip market, don’t lose heart. The double dip is nothing more than the continuation of an inevitable market correction. It’s not a new downturn, just the end of the one most markets have been experiencing since 2006. As Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries explained in his blog post last month, the bottom is in sight for most markets across the country, although we expect it will be several years before values begin to show substantial increases again.
One quick note on how we define double-dip markets: Not only do the monthly increases and decreases have to be sustained (the first downturn has to last for at least 10 of 12 months, and the upturn and subsequent downturn have to last for at least five months), they also have to total an annualized change of at least 1 percent.