Online real estate site Zillow today reported that about $6.1 trillion in home values have been washed away since the housing market’s peak in 2006.

And about 17.6 percent of all homeowners were underwater — owed more than their homes were worth — at the close of 2008, Zillow reported. The data is based on the company’s median home-value estimates, dubbed Zestimates, for homes in 161 metro areas.

The estimates include homes for sale and not for sale in a given market area.

Online real estate site Zillow today reported that about $6.1 trillion in home values have been washed away since the housing market’s peak in 2006.

And about 17.6 percent of all homeowners were underwater — owing more than their homes were worth — at the close of 2008, Zillow reported. The data is based on the company’s median home-value estimates, dubbed Zestimates, for homes in 161 metro areas.

The estimates include homes for sale and not for sale in a given market area.

U.S. homeowners lost an estimated $3.3 trillion in home values last year alone, according to Zillow, with $1.4 trillion of that coming in the fourth quarter.

Zillow reported that 10.9 percent of real estate transactions in 2008 were short sales, and foreclosure-related properties accounted for about 19.9 percent of all transactions.

More than half of all transactions in the Madera, Merced and Stockton metro areas of California were foreclosures in 2008, while New York City and Grand Junction, Colo., metro areas had the lowest rate of foreclosure — tying at 3.9 percent of all real estate transactions.

Zillow also reported that the Lincoln, Neb., metro area led the nation with its rate of short-sale transactions — 14.1 percent of total real estate transactions there were short sales in 2008.

Zillow estimates that 21 of the 161 markets tracked had declining home values in 2008.

Home values dropped an estimated 33.4 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter in Modesto, Calif., Zillow reported, and were down 32.9 percent in Salinas, Calif.; and 31.7 percent in Stockton, Calif. In fact, nine of the 10 metro areas tracked with the highest fourth-quarter year-over-year drop in home values are in California.

Fayetteville, N.C., had the largest gain, at 6.9 percent, followed by Yakima, Wash. (6.2 percent); Utica-Rome (5.3 percent); Bay City, Mich. (3.6 percent), and Oklahoma City (3.5 percent), according to Zillow’s estimates.

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