Home values tumble in 2009
But mortgage applications climb to a 2-month high.
Home values in the United States fell by a whopping $489 billion in the first 11 months of 2009, according to real-estate Web site Zillow.
While $489 billion sounds like a huge number, it's also a huge improvement from 2008, when home values shed $3.6 trillion.
"Home values stabilized significantly during the second half of 2009, with the total dollar value of U.S. homes increasing since June," said Zillow's chief economist, Stan Humphries. "Most housing markets across the country had a good summer, spurred largely by the government's tax credits for homebuyers, combined with very low mortgage rates."
Home values actually rose in the Boston area, the report said, gaining $23.3 billion. Last year, the Boston metropolitan area lost $53.4 billion. Providence, R.I., gained $12.4 billion after losing $28.7 in 2008, and Denver saw values rise $10.7 billion after an ugly $20.2 billion drop last year.
But things were not pretty in Los Angeles. The region suffered the largest total loss in home value, at $60.8 billion. Home values fell $49.6 billion in Chicago and $49 billion in New York, Zillow said.
In related news, total mortgage applications rose 8.5% last week to the highest level since early October, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning.
Applications to refinance an existing mortgage were up an unadjusted 11.1% for the week ended Dec. 4, while applications for home purchases were up a seasonally adjusted 4%, the MBA said. About three-quarters of last week's loan requests were for refinancings, the MBA said.
The increase came despite a rise in the 30-year fixed-mortgage rate, which averaged 4.88% last week, up from 4.79% the week before. Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.33%, up from 4.27%. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages, however, averaged 6.55%, down from 6.56%.
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