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 Group's Chief Analytics Officer. To learn more about Stan, click here.

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