Wednesday, August 10, 2011
South Florida housing market stabilizing, Zillow says
As the housing bust moves through a sixth year, you find something to celebrate wherever you can.
Home values in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties rose 1.1 percent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, according to data released Tuesday by Zillow.com.
It was the first quarterly increase for the three-county region since June 2006.
“That’s good news,” said Svenja Gudell, senior economist for Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate website. “We’re seeing the first signs of stabilization in that market.”
Now, for the disclaimer: Zillow doesn’t expect a bottom for home prices until 2012 at the earliest, and any momentum might soon be wiped out by the lingering debt crisis, Gudell said.
And there’s more:
• Zillow's Home Value Index for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade is $140,900 -- that's down by more than 54 percent since the housing crash. Prices now are where they were in June 2002.
• Roughly 46 percent of homes with a mortgage in the three counties are “underwater” – worth less than what’s owed. That’s up from 43 percent from one year ago. Nationally, about 27 percent of homes with a mortgage are underwater.
• Finally, 44 percent of homes in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties were sold for a loss in the second quarter, though that’s down slightly from a year ago.
Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said in a statement that the nation's housing market still faces fluctuations in demand for homes and a pipeline of foreclosed properties that will continue to hold down prices.
“We expect a bumpy road ahead,” he said.
Zillow, created in 2006, is a popular site for homebuyers and sellers to track values of homes. It compiles data using public records.
Critics argue that Zillow’s market value estimates, called Zestimates, can be inaccurate, in part because the site doesn’t consider improvements made to the home. Zillow says homeowners must edit their home profiles on the site for it to factor renovations into home values.
To measure its accuracy, Zillow says it compares the historic Zestimates with the actual prices of homes that sold. Using a rating system of one to four stars, with four stars being the best Zestimate possible, the firm concludes that its home value estimates for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties are worthy of two stars.
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