Chicago region home prices back to April 2000 levels

Data from the S&P/Case-Shiller suggest that Chicago area home prices have returned to levels from early 2000:

Home prices in the Chicago area hit a new post-housing crisis low in March, falling to levels not seen locally since April 2000, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

With the most recent decline, average  home prices in the Chicago area have fallen 39 percent since they peaked in September 2006, according to the index…

Much of the pricing pressure was on homes that sold for less than $139,182, as the average selling prices for those properties in March fell 3.4 percent from February and were down 9 percent from a year ago and reflects the impact of distressed homes on the market. That puts the pricing environment for lower-priced homes akin to where it was in April 1995…

“We’re beginning to see more stability in the overall numbers,” Blitzer said. “The housing situation in the United States, while certainly not booming, is seeing some stability and possibly some gains going forward. Prices will be the last thing to go up.”

As the article notes, economist Robert Shiller has expressed skepticism that housing prices will rise anytime soon.

While there may be a lot of worry about foreclosures (and Illinois ranks poorly here as well), the issue of depressed housing prices might linger even longer. The wealth that people expected to incur through their house has, on average, been reduced to 2000 levels. Another way to interpret the data above is that on average, people who have bought a home since April 2000 can’t expect to make any money on selling their home now. This could limit people’s abilities to move and purchase homes as well as change how they think about homebuying.

 Zillow just put together a new map of the United States based on what % of homeowners are underwater. The map has more people in the red than one might hope:

The real estate information website Zillow has compiled its data from the first quarter of 2012 to build this map, showing just how much negative equity there is among the homes in many counties. Deep red along the west coast, throughout Florida and in the Great Lakes region serve as a harsh reminder of the chronic troubles these areas are still struggling to control…

In the worst hit counties, more than half of the homes are underwater. Clark County, Nevada – home to Las Vegas – is among those in the unfortunate top 1 percent, with 71 percent of homes underwater. For the vast majority of homes here, the amount owed is more than 200 percent of the value. Clayton County, Georgia, part of metro Atlanta, has an astounding 85 percent of its homes underwater.

This article from 24/7 Wall St. breaks Zillow data down even further to name the ten cities with the highest rates of homes with negative equity. Las Vegas, Reno, and Bakersfield are the worst performing cities in the country, with rates above 60 percent.

While the situation is certainly bad in many, many parts of the country, four-fifths of all counties in America have fewer than 35 percent of their homes underwater, according to the map. But it’s still a widespread problem – and one that seems to be growing. More than 31 percent of all homes in the country are underwater, according to these first quarter 2012 numbers from Zillow, a jump from the 28 percent the company noted a year earlier and the 22 percent the year before that.

It could take a long time to reverse these trends.

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