Home Prices for 20 U.S. Cities Decline Most on Record


A new price sign stands atop a sign outside a home in Park Ridge, Illinois, on Nov. 6, 2008. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — House prices in 20 U.S. cities declined in the year ended in September at the fastest pace on record as rising foreclosures pushed down property values.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index dropped 17.4 percent in September from a year earlier, more than forecast, after a 16.6 percent decline in August. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001.

Mounting foreclosures are contributing to the drop in home prices, while adding to the inventory of unsold homes on the market. Lower property values are weighing on household wealth, causing consumers to cutback on spending and increasing the likelihood that the U.S. economy will contract for a second consecutive quarter.

Read moreHome Prices for 20 U.S. Cities Decline Most on Record

50,000 estate agents face axe in next nine months


Experts have warned that up to 50,000 estate agents may lose their jobs in the next year

As many as 50,000 estate agents could lose their jobs by next Autumn because of the worsening economic crisis, experts today warned.

Economists said the collapse in the housing markets meant the true figure would be double previous predictions of 15,000 job losses, with some experts forecasting at least 50,000 out of work by next year.

The panic has led to some businesses making desperate attempts to secure their survival, with one estate agent even converting part of his office into a cafe to generate extra income.

Ben Read, managing economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said the toll of job losses would be shocking.

He told the Evening Standard: ‘It will definitely be worse. The housing market has dropped significantly more since May and the outlook for the next nine months is pretty ropey.

‘Because of the worsening situation in the economy you could easily expect that figure of 15,000 to go up by 50 per cent. The true figure could even be as much as 50,000.

‘Most estate agents have let go significant numbers of staff and are working on skeleton staff. I’m sure it will surprise everyone how bad it is.’

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Housing market ‘far worse’ than figures suggest

Online estate agent says latest figures underestimate fall in prices by two-thirds

House prices across the UK have already fallen far further than official data and market indicators suggest, Rightmove, the online estate agent warned yesterday, as it revealed that up to 300 estate agents were quitting its service every month.

While the latest figures from leading mortgage lenders such as Halifax suggest that prices are down by 15 per cent from their peak, Rightmove said the falls were up to two-thirds higher.

Miles Shipside, the commercial director of Rightmove, said: “Estate agents tell us that the actual prices that are being achieved [initially between buyers and sellers] for property are down by about 20 to 25 per cent beneath peak asking prices. That has not come out in the national indices.”

His revelation suggests that house prices have not only fallen much further than the highly regarded surveys of Halifax and Nationwide, which both track house prices based on agreed mortgages, but could also be lagging behind the situation on the ground.

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Jobless ranks hit 10 million, most in 25 years; unemployment hits 14-year high


Sunny Yang, left, a masters degree student from Shanghai and employed banker in New York City, speaks with World Bank representative Roberto Amorosino about opportunities for unemployed friends of his during a career fair at Columbia Univeristy Friday, Nov. 7, 2008 in New York. The U.S. unemployment rate bolted to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent in October as another 240,000 jobs were cut, far worse than economists expected and stark proof the economy is deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid pace. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s jobless ranks zoomed past 10 million last month, the most in a quarter-century, as piles of pink slips shut factory gates and office doors to 240,000 more Americans with the holidays nearing. Politicians and economists agreed on a painful bottom line: It’s only going to get worse.

The unemployment rate soared to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, the government said Friday, up from 6.1 percent just a month earlier. And there was more grim news from U.S. automakers: Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., American giants struggling to survive, each reported big losses and figured to be announcing even more job cuts before long.

Regulators, meanwhile, shut down Houston-based Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on Friday, bringing the number of failures of federally insured banks this year to 19.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Franklin Bank, which had $5.1 billion in assets and $3.7 billion in deposits as of Sept. 30, and of Security Pacific Bank, with $561.1 million in assets and $450.1 million in deposits as of Oct. 17.

Read moreJobless ranks hit 10 million, most in 25 years; unemployment hits 14-year high

UK: Perilous state of economy revealed by MPC’s shock move

The perilous state of the UK economy was exposed as the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee made an unprecedented 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates.


Winston Churchill meets the Queen in 1955. Photo: PA

The shock vote brought interest rates down to 3pc for the first time since January 1955, when Winston Churchill was prime minister. Economists forecast that the cut could pave the way for further reductions – with some claiming that rates could hit a historic low of 1pc.

Thursday’s move was interpreted as a desperate attempt to protect the UK economy from a severe recession.

“There has been a very marked deterioration in the outlook for economic activity at home and abroad,” said the MPC in an explanatory statement, adding that the threat of inflation was now receding.

It warned that after the most serious crisis in the global banking sector for almost a century, households and businesses were likely to find it difficult to obtain credit “for some time.” The MPC counted falling share prices, a sharp reduction in UK output, and a squeeze on household budgets among a nasty cocktail of circumstances that have combined to hit both businesses and consumers hard.

The MPC’s decision came amid a raft of gloomy news and data emerged. Figures from Halifax, the UK’s biggest mortgage lender, showed that house prices have fallen by 15pc over the past 12 months.

It was the sharpest drop since the survey began in 1983 and brought the average house price down to £168,176 in October, compared with almost £200,000 in the same month last year.

Read moreUK: Perilous state of economy revealed by MPC’s shock move

One in five US homeowners with mortgages underwater

NEW YORK, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Nearly one in five U.S. mortgage borrowers owe more to lenders than their homes are worth, and the rate may soon approach one in four as housing prices fall and the economy weakens, a report on Friday shows.

About 7.63 million properties, or 18 percent, had negative equity in September, and another 2.1 million will follow if home prices fall another 5 percent, according to a report by First American CoreLogic.

The data, covering 43 states and Washington, D.C., includes borrowers nationwide, even those who took out mortgages before housing prices began to soar early this decade.

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House prices fall 14.6pc in a year

House prices have fallen for the twelfth month in a row and are now 14.6pc lower than last year, the latest figures from Nationwide show.

Houses for sale: house prices are falling by almost £80 a day, according to Nationwide
The average house price has dropped by £27,000 in the past year, says Nationwide Photo: PA

Prices fell 1.4pc in October and the average house has seen £27,000 wiped off its value in the past twelve months.

The number of completed housing sales has now fallen to its lowest level since the Nationwide series began in 1974, the building society added in its lastest House Price Survey, driving the decline in prices.

The crisis in the financial sector and the latest Government data suggesting a recession is imminent is likely to worsen the housing market slump and has “uncomfortable implications”, Nationwide said.

“A looming recession and continued financial market instability have uncomfortable implications for the housing and mortgage markets, and will undoubtedly affect the pace of recovery in house prices,” Fionnuala Earley, the Nationwide’s chief economist, said.

Read moreHouse prices fall 14.6pc in a year

Foreclosure Filings Rose 71% in Third Quarter as Prices Fell


A foreclosure sign is posted outside a house in Stockton, California, on Sept. 18, 2008. Photographer: Kimberly White/Bloomberg News

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — U.S. foreclosure filings increased 71 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to the highest on record as home prices fell and stricter mortgage standards made it harder for homeowners to sell or refinance, RealtyTrac said.

A total of 765,558 U.S. properties got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or were foreclosed on in the quarter, the most since records began in January 2005, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said in a statement today. Filings rose 3 percent from the second quarter and fell 12 percent in September from August as state laws created to keep people in homes slowed the pace of defaults.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see foreclosures increase as the economy slows down,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president for marketing at RealtyTrac, said in an interview. “The people living paycheck to paycheck are at risk if they lose their jobs. It will cause more people to lose their homes.”

The worst U.S. housing slump since the 1930s is being compounded by a recession that began in the third quarter and may last a year or more, according to Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in July at the fastest pace on record, and sales of previously owned homes in August were 32 percent below the peak reached in September 2005.

Read moreForeclosure Filings Rose 71% in Third Quarter as Prices Fell

“Under water” mortgages are growing threat to U.S.


A real estate broker checks a foreclosed California home for damage and missing appliances in a May 2008 photo.
REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

CAPE CORAL, Florida (Reuters) – Long before she filed for bankruptcy, Ann Neukomm was “under water” — she owed more on her mortgage than her house was worth — a situation more and more Americans are finding themselves in.

As the financial crisis hits Main Street America, nearly one in six U.S. homeowners are finding themselves in the same position, threatening the U.S. economy with a new wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies.

About 12 million U.S. homeowners owe more than their homes are worth, compared with 6.6 million at the end of last year and slightly more than 3 million at the close of 2006, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com.

“At the root it’s ‘the’ problem,” said Zandi. “If you’re going to put your finger on the one thing that’s gotten us into this fiasco, it’s the fact that millions of homeowners are under water on their homes.”

If, like Neukomm, these homeowners go into foreclosure, it would add to the oversupply of homes, delay a recovery in the housing market, and add to pressure on banks.

Already, U.S. consumer spending is slumping as homeowners find they can no longer take equity out of their homes to fund their lifestyles.

In a slowing economy, it doesn’t take much to push an underwater mortgage into default.

Read more“Under water” mortgages are growing threat to U.S.

House prices to plummet by 35% – the biggest ever fall in Britain

House prices will fall a record-breaking 35 per cent by next autumn, a leading firm of economists warned yesterday.

The collapse will be the biggest fall ever seen in this country.

The claim, from the consultancy Capital Economics, will horrify homeowners who face being plunged into negative equity.


Not needed: Estate agent boards piled up in a yard in Hull

According to the forecast, around £65,000 will be wiped off the value of the average home. At the height of the property boom last year the average home was worth £186,000. By next autumn it will be worth around £120,000.

Capital Economics had originally expected house prices to drop 35 per cent by the end of 2010.

But yesterday it amended this forecast in the light of recent economic turmoil. The consultancy still expects the same fall, but squeezed into a much shorter period.

Prices are then predicted to stagnate for 18 months before a tentative recovery begins in 2011.

Ed Stansfield, property economist at Capital Economics, said: ‘The sheer speed of adjustment is causing alarm.’


The housing market has been affected by the credit crunch that has frozen the world’s financial markets

Read moreHouse prices to plummet by 35% – the biggest ever fall in Britain