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Top 10 metros for rising real estate values

Zillow: Rent values climb, home values may be close to bottom

Home values continue to approach an expected near-bottom as a flood of foreclosure sales in February 2012 contributed to a 4.5 percent year-over-year decline in U.S. home values, according to a Zillow report released this week.

The latest Zillow Home Value Index, which is based on estimated home values in markets across the country, found rising values in 13 of 165 (8 percent) of U.S. metros tracked on a year-over-year basis in February.

But there are some metros that saw positive trends in home values from February 2011 to February 2012.

The data shows that the Phoenix market, which has been hard-hit by heavy foreclosures and price drops during the downturn, is fluttering again: The metro is alone among the largest 25 U.S. metros to show a year-over-year increase in home values in February — though very slight at 0.1 percent.

Only 13 — 8 percent of all the 165 U.S. metros Zillow tracks for the index, posted positive year-over-year home-value increases this February. The tracked metros, as a whole, saw home values drop 4.5 percent in that time period, to $145,400.

Home values were dampened, Zillow noted in the report, by a large share of foreclosure sales: Foreclosed homes accounted for 20.3 percent of all home sales in February — that bested a 20.2 percent share in March 2011.

"We have made it through the worst of the housing recession with a bottom on the horizon, but the deep backlog of foreclosures, elevated negative equity, and high unemployment are all still obstacles on the road to recovery," said Zillow economist Svenja Gudell.

Among the top 10 metros in the black were those with values below the February U.S. median existing-home price of $156,600, as reported by the National Association of Realtors last month.

Tulsa, Okla., ranked third on the list among those markets with the largest year-over-year home-value increase in February, had an estimated home value of $100,200, according to Zillow data, while Binghamton, N.Y., with an estimated home value of $106,000 in February, ranked fourth.

The average home value among the 10 markets with the highest year-over-year home-value gains in February was $136,880, while the average home value for all of the U.S. metros tracked by Zillow was $167,639, with an average year-over-year home-value change of 4.6 percent.

Morristown, Tenn., with a 5.5 percent year-over-year value gain, and Oklahoma City, Okla., up 5.2 percent, stand at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the index. The other eight markets to post the highest year-over-year gains in home values were, in order:

  • Tulsa, Okla.
  • Binghamton, N.Y.
  • Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Laconia, N.H.
  • Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Utica, N.Y.
  • Lebanon, N.H.

Although home values continue to be depressed, the new Zillow Rent Index showed that rental values are trending up, posting a nationwide year-over-year increase of 2 percent. Each of the largest metros in this index, based on estimated rental values across the country, posted a year-over-year increase in February, with national monthly rents climbing to $1,212.

Morristown, Tenn.


Feb. 2012 Home Value $109,500
Year-over-year change 5.5%

Home in Morristown, Tenn. Flickr/Brian McConnell.