Industry News

Wall Street devalues real estate sector

Inman Index: HouseValues, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shares suffer declines

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Wall Street has hung a 'SOLD' sign on HouseValues. The company's shares lost more than 17 percent of their value last month to close at $8.24 per share March 31 and have fallen by half since Jan. 27, when the price last peaked at $17 per share. Investors and analysts have punished HouseValues since it lowered its 2006 earnings estimates at the end of February. A Piper Jaffray analyst downgraded the shares from "outperform" to "market perform" and cut his target price on the company from $23 to $13. A March 1 note to investors said the analyst sees "little catalyst for the shares during 2006," according to a Forbes.com report. An analyst at Banc of America Securities also downgraded HouseValues from a "buy" recommendation to "neutral" and cut his target price for the company from $14 to $8.50, according to NewRatings.com. Analysts may well have their own concerns about HouseValues' business model in a softer housing market and more competitive online sector, but some of the piling...