Nasty Bay Area Home Statistics Burst Forth

Number of underwater "homeowners" jumps

By John Boitnott
|  Tuesday, Feb 3, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Nasty Bay Area Home Statistics Burst Forth

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The popular online real estate Web site Zillow.com unleashed a series of attention-grabbing statistics about the Bay Area's struggling real estate market on Tuesday.

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It's not the news Bay Area homeowners were looking for while the economy sputters like a car that ran out of gas.

The popular online real estate Web site Zillow.com unleashed a series of attention-grabbing statistics about the Bay Area's struggling real estate market on Tuesday.

The San Francisco Bay Area lost $113 billion in home values, according to Zillow.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, home values in the Bay Area plummeted more than 17 percent at the end of 2008.

"A witch's brew of economic insecurity, foreclosures and tightened lending standards are helping to keep hard-hit markets down and to widen the scope of markets showing declines in home values," said Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow vice president of data and analytics.

By the end of 2008, almost 18 percent of homeowners owned homes that were worth less than they had been when they were first bought.

A homeowner that lives in that negative equity situation is often said to be "underwater."

Among the other statistics released by Zillow:

In 2008, one in three homes sold (34%) in 2008 were foreclosures.

More than 10 percent of the sales that took place were short sales.

50 percent of all sales were homes sold for a loss, according to Zillow.

The hard-hit Central Valley continued to lead the nation in foreclosures, as more than half of all sales in the Madera, Merced and Stockton metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) were foreclosures, Zillow reported.

The New York City metro area and the Grand Junction, Colo., had the lowest rates of foreclosure in the country (both at 3.9 percent).

"As more markets turn down and markets that were already down go deeper, the pace at which value is being erased from the U.S. housing stock is rapidly increasing, with more value wiped out in the fourth quarter of 2008 than was eliminated in all of 2007."

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