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HOME, SWEET HOME?

" Home values in the United States extended their fall in the first quarter, with more than one in five homeowners now owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, real estate website Zillow.com said on Wednesday. U.S. home values posted a year-over-year decline of 14.2 percent to a Zillow Home Value Index of $182,378, resulting in a total 21.8 percent drop since the market peaked in 2006, according to Zillow's first-quarter Real Estate Market Reports, which encompass 161 metropolitan areas and cover the value changes in all homes, not just homes that have recently sold. U.S. homes lost $704 billion in value during the first quarter and have depreciated $3.8 trillion in the past 12 months, according to analysis of the reports. Declining home values left 21.9 percent of all American homeowners with negative equity by the end of the first quarter, Zillow said. By comparison, 17.6 percent of all homeowners owed more on their mortgage than their property was worth in the fourth quarter of 2008, and 14.3 percent were underwater in the third quarter of last year, the reports showed." (Yahoo News, 6 May) RD

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