Entries in Zillow (8)


US Home Prices Rise But Gains Are Uneven Across Country

Phillip Spears/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- The housing market is revving up and gaining strength in some parts of the country.  Average U.S. home prices rose 1.3 percent in the third quarter, the biggest quarterly gain since 2006, according to real estate information provider Zillow.

But the pace of the recovery is uneven, with home values growing rapidly in some areas and falling in others.  

Compared with the year before, Zillow says prices shot up more than 20 percent in the Phoenix metro area.  Meanwhile, in the Atlanta region, home values dropped nearly 5 percent.


“We’re likely seeing home values fall back into the negative range in some markets due to the close of the traditional home-buying season,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries explains.  “While that doesn’t mean the recovery has come off the rails -- in fact, most markets have hit bottom -- it does present a confusing environment for consumers."

Zillow's forecast shows a modest rise for next year, with values increasing 1.7 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


To Buy or to Rent? New Analysis Says Buy in Much of US

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Is it better to buy a home or rent?  An analysis released on Thursday by real estate information provider finds that in most of the U.S., buying becomes a better deal than renting after only three years of residence.

In many metro areas, the advantage comes much sooner. In Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, for example, owning beats renting after 1.6 years, the study finds. 

Zillow determined the breakeven horizon -- the point at which owning becomes more financially advantageous than renting the same home -- for more than 200 metro areas and 7,500 cities around the U.S.

Unlike a simple purchase price-to-rent ratio, the breakeven horizon takes into account such other data as taxes, tax deductions, down payments, utilities, appreciation, maintenance, opportunity costs and fluctuations in the rental market.

"People traditionally have looked at the price-to-rent ratio," Zillow senior economist Svenja Gudell told ABC News.  "But that's not comparing apples and apples.  Our calculation takes into account all costs, plus tax deductions and inflation.  It would be very hard for the average consumer to crunch these numbers."

The shortest breakeven horizons occur in markets such as Florida's, where home values fell farthest during the recession.  The ownership advantage there kicks in after less than two years. In other markets, however, where values have held, the advantage comes far later.  In San Jose, Calif., for example, the time is a little over eight years. San Jose had the longest breakeven horizon of any of the 30 largest metro areas Zillow studied.

Within metros, the study found big variations between one city and the next.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, a homeowner breaks even after 8.8 years; while in a similarly-priced home in Menlo Park, the time required is a bit over 14 years.

Metros with the longest horizons (besides San Jose) include Oak Harbor, Wash., and Santa Cruz, Calif.  Those with the shortest include Memphis, Tenn., and Fernley, Nev.

Gudell said it would be a mistake to conclude that buying always is the better option.  Everything depends, she said, on the metro area and the length of stay.  For lots of folks who occupy their home a year and a half, renting remains, she said, "a solid option."  In the right metro, it even can pay off for persons staying as long as five or six years.

Here are the 30 metro areas Zillow examined and their breakeven horizons (in years):

  • Miami-Fort-Lauderdale, Tampa -- 1.6
  • Detroit -- 1.7
  • Phoenix -- 1.7
  • Orlando, Fla. -- 1.7
  • Las Vegas -- 1.7
  • Riverside, Calif. -- 2.0
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth -- 2.1
  • Pittsburgh -- 2.1
  • Cincinnati -- 2.1
  • Cleveland -- 2.4
  • Columbus, Ohio -- 2.4
  • Atlanta -- 2.5
  • St. Louis -- 2.5
  • Denver -- 2.5
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul -- 2.7
  • Charlotte, N.C. -- 2.7
  • Chicago -- 2.8
  • Baltimore -- 2.8
  • Philadelphia -- 3.0
  • Sacramento, Calif. -- 3.1
  • Washington -- 3.5
  • Portland, Ore. -- 3.5
  • San Diego -- 3.6
  • Seattle -- 4.0
  • Los Angeles -- 4.3
  • Boston -- 4.3
  • New York -- 5.1
  • San Francisco -- 5.9
  • San Jose, Calif. -- 8.3

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Housing Market Turning the Corner After Five-Year Slump

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in five years, home prices have posted an annual increase, says real estate information firm Zillow.

The rise is small -- just 0.2 percent -- but after a long, deep slump the market is looking up.

"After four months with rising home values and increasingly positive forecast data, it seems clear that the country has hit a bottom in home values," says Zillow's Chief Economist Stan Humphries. "The housing recovery is holding together despite lower-than-expected job growth, indicating that it has some organic strength of its own."

The largest price rise over the past 12 months -- 12.3 percent -- came in Phoenix, one of the hardest-hit markets during the housing bust.  

The Zillow Home Value Forecast shows that in most markets prices will rise modestly over the next year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Housing Market to Hit Bottom by Late 2012, Report Suggests

Phillip Spears/Digital Vision(SEATTLE) -- Online real estate marketplace Zillow said home values rose 0.5 percent in March from February, the largest monthly increase since May 2006 when the housing recession began.

Zillow’s report describing the first quarter follows two other reports about the housing market released on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index showed average home prices tumbled to their lowest level in nearly a decade, after prices dropped in February from January in 16 of the 20 cities it tracks.

A separate report from the Commerce Department indicated new home sales fell last month by the most in more than a year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000 units.  That followed a 7.3 percent increase in February.

“I think the variety of data points of housing market we’re getting this week all point to a slowly healing housing market,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said.  “We think of it as a bottoming process, as opposed to the bottom being a discrete point in time.”

Humphries said the “bottoming process is well under way and is made up of new home sales that have reached bottom and are starting to rebound a bit.”

The Zillow Home Value Forecast shows that national home values will fall 0.4 percent over the next 12 months, suggesting that U.S. home values could reach bottom in late 2012.

Humphries said buyers with longer time horizons, retirees, second home buyers and investors, are returning to the residential marketplace.

“The next stage is for the more mainstream buyer to get off the fence and start buying,” he said.  “All that activity ultimately leads to slowing depreciation rates and ultimately a bottom in home values themselves.”

The rate of homes foreclosed fell to 2009 levels in the first quarter of 2012.  Zillow reported 7.4 out of every 10,000 homes foreclosed, down from 8.3 out of every 10,000 homes foreclosed in February.

The report stated that 19 of the 30 metro areas covered by the Zillow Home Value Forecast will reach a bottom in 2012, or have already reached a bottom.  Zillow expects several of those areas to see significant home value increases in the next 12 months, including Phoenix (6.5 percent) and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (5.6 percent).´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dr. Seuss-Like Homes For Sale

Zillow(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Seuss, who would have celebrated his 108th birthday on Friday, is still a household name across the U.S. and perhaps is even an inspiration to home decoration.

Zillow compiled a list of homes for sale or rent that bring to mind the colorful shades and shapes in his children’s books. The homes range from $139,000 to $22.5 million with locations from Colorado to  Florida.  Zillow also included in the list a colorful, oddly shaped rental property in Long Island, N.Y., for $16,000 a month.

See slideshow of seven Dr. Seuss-like homes for sale or rent.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. He passed away on Sept. 24, 1991, at age 87 but his estate continues to earn millions in royalties from his books and films. The latest film, based on his children’s book, The Lorax, will be released on Friday from Universal Pictures.

Forbes listed Geisel as one of the top-10 earning dead celebrities last year, earning $9 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Economists Predict Housing Rebound to Be a Year Away

Creatas/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- The three-year decline in U.S. home values won’t abate for at least another year, according to a national survey of more than 100 economists, real estate experts and investment strategists.

Prices are forecast to continue to decline until the market’s bottom is reached in late 2012 or early 2013, economists in real estate marketplace Zillow’s Home Price Expectations Survey for December reported.  U.S. home prices are expected to decline 1.57 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 after falling 0.4 percent through September, according to those surveyed.

“Unfortunately, when we look ahead to next year, the unabsorbed pool of housing supply, dragging levels of consumer confidence, high unemployment and negative equity will continue to put downward pressure on the housing market, pushing our expectation for a potential recovery into late 2012 or early 2013,” Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.

After 2013, the respondents said they expect a “relatively steady” annual appreciation rate of about 3 percent through 2016, slightly below the appreciation rates during the pre-bubble years of 1987 to 1999.

Homes in the U.S. are expected to lose $681 billion in value during 2011, though the bulk of the loss occurred earlier in the year, according to Zillow.  The losses in home values are large, but they are still 35 percent less than the $1.1 trillion drop in 2010.

Meanwhile, Freddie Mac, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, announced on Thursday mortgage rates have remained in record lows.  The 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.91 percent for the week, “a new all-time low,” dropping below last week’s 3.94 percent, the previous record low, according to the agency.  The 15-year fixed matched last week’s “all-time record low” at 3.21 percent.

Freddie Mac’s chief economist Frank Nothaft said mortgage rates will likely remain very low, at least through mid-2012.  He predicted housing activity will be better in 2012, “but not robust.”

“A full-fledged recovery in the housing sector will likely elude the U.S. in 2012, but new construction and home sales are expected to be greater than in 2011,” Nothaft wrote in his predictions for next year.

Distressed sales and “sluggish” home-buying demand will continue to keep prices low in many markets.

“We expect U.S. house-price indexes to move lower before bottoming out in 2012, with modest appreciation forestalled until 2013,” Nothaft said.

He said the rental market appears to be leading the housing recovery, as rental prices have risen in most markets, vacancies have decreased, and property values for professionally managed complexes are up in most neighborhoods.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Values Projected to Lose $681 Million in 2011

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- U.S. homes may have lost close to $700 billion in value this year, but that isn't necessarily bad news.

Real estate tracker Zillow reported Thursday that homes are expected to lose more than $681 million in 2011.  Even so, the figure is 35 percent lower than the $1.1 trillion lost last year, and it's the smallest loss in four years.

Zillow says it represents some improvement since homes are losing value at a much slower pace.

"While homeowners suffered through another year of steep losses, the good news is that homes are losing value at a substantially slower pace as the market works its way towards the bottom," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.  "Compared to last year when we saw sharp declines following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credits, this year we saw some organic improvement in home values, in terms of a slowed depreciation rate which resulted in a smaller total value loss for the year."

The majority of the decline came between the months of January and June, when the housing market lost $454 billion. Zillow predicts $227 billion will be lost in the second half of 2011, from July through the end of December.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Want to Buy a Foreclosed Home? Try Google Maps or Zillow

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With mortgage rates at their highest level in six months, this may be an opportune time for buyers.

Real estate websites are offering better tools to research foreclosed homes for sale, sometimes at a steep discount. Earlier this month, RealtyTrac announced that in the third quarter of this year, the average sales price of properties sold in some stage of foreclosure was over 32 percent below the average sales price of properties not in foreclosure.

Google Maps began offering a search feature last year for foreclosed properties. It is growing in popularity, though it is not very novel, said Justin McHood of

McHood, who writes about mortgage topics for, one of the largest real estate websites, said a number of sites are simply rehashing what is known as "multiple listing services," regional listings of properties for sale. Last month had 12.5 million visitors, up 60 percent from last year, according to Bohutinsky. Despite the "biggest real estate downturn of our lifetime," she said is growing, as is the number of other real estate websites. is a real estate website that specializes in foreclosed properties, with over 2 million listings, according to senior vice president Rick Sharga. Although all foreclosed properties are listed in public records, he estimates that less than 6 percent of public foreclosure databases are online. Sharga said fills that gap by hiring contract employees to hand collect those records in court houses in 2,200 counties nationwide.

Fannie Mae launched a website in June,, which lists the properties it owns. gets 15 to 19 million hits per month and generates about 800 leads a day to listing brokers, according to Janis Smith, a spokeswoman for Fannie Mae. More than 87,000 families purchased HomePath properties in the first half of 2010, according to Terry Edwards, executive vice president, Credit Portfolio Management at Fannie Mae.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio