The aggregate value of homes in the United States will drop $1.7 trillion this year after a drop of $1 trillion in 2009. That data comes from a report from real estate research firm Zillow.
Zillow also says that “Since the peak of home values in June 2006, more than $9 trillion in values has come out of the housing market.”
Several analysts believe the free fall is not over. Recently S&P predicted home prices could drop another 7% to 9% next year. The trend is based to a large extent on high unemployment and the fear of potential home buyers that price will dive further. Banks are also reluctant to make mortgage loans to all but the most credit-worth buyers.
Nearly 11 million mortgages are underwater in the US. Economists say that the owners of the homes with these mortgages are more likely to default because they see not financial future in holding the real estate particularly if they are in financial difficulty. RealtyTrac estimates that total foreclosures and bank repossession of homes will rise to 3 million this year. There is also a “shadow inventory” of about 2 million homes which have been foreclosed upon but not put onto the market for sales.
The federal government has considered programs that would help homeowners reset the principle value of their homes lower which would create some equity for many mortgage holders. These programs would probably have to operate through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which hold or manage over 50% of American mortgages. These two firms have lost hundreds of billions of dollars and are unlikely candidates to be the conduit for more investment in the real estate markets.
There are virtually no signs of a recovery in the real estate market and no realistic plans to begin a recovery.
Douglas A. McIntyre