Total home values in the United States fell $489 billion in the first 11 months of 2009. A large drop, to be sure, but it marks a significant improvement from 2008, when homes lost a total of $3.6 trillion in values.

In addition, about one-third of the markets we covered (48 of 154) had gains in total home values. The Boston metropolitan statistical area (MSA) topped this list, gaining $23.3 billion. Last year, the Boston MSA lost $53.4 billion.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Los Angeles MSA’s housing market lost the most dollars in 2009 — $60.8 billion. But even that was a significant improvement from 2008, when the MSA lost $345.8 billion. The LA market has actually performed quite well recently, having seen six consecutive months of monthly gains in home values as of October, but the strong negative performance earlier in the year dug the overall market a large hole early on.

Below is a table of the markets with the biggest gains and losses. It’s important to note that these markets don’t necessarily represent those where individual home values are performing the best and worst. When figuring the total value of real estate, the number of homes in an area come into play, so big markets are more likely to have the biggest total dollar-value gains and losses.

Markets With Biggest Gains 2009

Markets With Biggest Losses 2009

The 2009 numbers are encouraging, but our optimism for next year is cautious. The government’s tax credits and low mortgage rates are spurring a lot of demand, but the tax credits will end after the first quarter, and mortgage rates are likely to rise at that time as well (as the Fed ramps down its purchase of mortgage-backed securities). In addition, foreclosures are likely to rise. All of these factors will put downward pressure on home prices, so the possibility of another dip in prices does exist.
Dr. Stan Humphries is a real estate economist and real estate expert for Zillow. Stan is in charge of the data and analytics team at Zillow, which develops housing market data for most major metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., and provides economic research for current real estate market conditions. He helped create the algorithms for the popular Zestimate® home value and the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI).

About the Author

Stan is Zillow's Chief Economist. To learn more about Stan, click here.

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  • tom

    Zillow is overestimated ..I once owned a house My house was double under their value with comparing Zillow ..Don’t believe them ..They are trying to make people happy…

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  • Stoopid American

    The fact of the matter is that homes have been OVERPRICED for the past 15 yrs and UNAFFORDABLE for the vast majority of people. To hide the problem of housing inflation with the blessing of congress and the fed the interest only, variable and other schemes were cooked up by the brilliant minds that lost sight of the fact that homes should be treated like homes, not stocks and other wall street funny money. Why is a single person still on the finance committee that was there before the bubble, didn’t they prove their incompetence yet???

    So if we pretend it isn’t a fact that the banks, fed, wall street, congress and every recent president conspired to suck the equity out of America and send it overseas to foreign investors, exactly where is the money going to come from for people to start affording what they couldn’t have afforded to begin with? It is not coming. We no longer MAKE anything, in the name of global trade and not wanting to get our back yards dirty we outsource everything possible, lay people off like yesterday’s trash and import every item in Wallmart and every other retailer from China.

    The real estate market will continue to be a suckers bet and the wave of foreclosures will hit high gear as soon as the next “stimulus” smoke and mirror show is over. Want proof??? Try to refinance if you are underwater. If this was temporary one would think that the bank holding the mortgage would be happy to extend the term out to 40 years to make it affordable and not insist you need to pay it down to 80% of it’s new value. Instead they would rather foreclose or short the sale because it is easy money to recover again from taxpayers as if they didn’t steal enough on the first go round.

  • Fraud America

    Welcome to fraud america!

  • brenton butterworth

    Zillow home values are not accurate by any means. I have been a builder for over 20 yrs and a realtor in the state of rhode island for 10+ years. In some rare cases zillow values is close, but for the most part their values do not make any sense. I would like to know how they come up with their home values??? Do they take in consideration capital improvements? Where are they based out of? Are they familar in all local markets? The information given on this site can and will hurt homeowners trying to just get fair market value. If you really want real estate value hire someone local that knows their market and has been in the appraisel business over 10 years.

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  • brenton butterworth

    Hire a agent in your local market place. Don’t use this to be accurate.

  • LucyMobile

    Wow, that is some money.

  • Loans with Bad Credit Rating

    The real estate market will continue to be a suckers bet and the wave of foreclosures will hit high gear as soon as the next “stimulus” smoke and mirror show is over. Want proof??? Try to refinance if you are underwater.

  • Breckenridge realtor

    The Banksters are still holding back billions in properties from being “for sale on the market” to try to stabilize pricing. Many more new defaults to come in next 1.5 years. It is not the pretty picture the administration is presenting.

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