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Zillow: Signs of a ‘double dip’

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For the 12th straight quarter, home values declined year-over-year, according to property search and valuation site Zillow. The site released its fourth-quarter 2009 real estate market report Wednesday. Home values declined 5 percent between fourth-quarter 2008 and fourth-quarter 2009, and 0.5 percent from the third quarter of 2009 to the fourth, to a median valuation of $186,200. More than 1 in 5 mortgaged single-family homes, 21 percent, were "underwater," meaning the owners owed more on the house that it was worth. That negative equity rate remained virtually unchanged quarter-over-quarter. In a sign of an impending "double dip" in the housing market, 20 percent (29 out of 143) of metropolitan areas Zillow studied had flat or decreasing home values after at least five straight months of increases during 2009. Zillow defined a market experiencing a double dip as one that saw decreasing monthly home values of at least 1 percent for at least five consecutive months,...