My take, watch unemployment numbers. Our economy is already spiraling lower than what was predicted by the White House. The White House predicted that the peak unemployment rate would be 8% if its Stimulus package was passed. Since unemployment is now at 9.4%, we know that the White House estimates are off by at least 17.5% [(9.4-8)/8 * 100 = 17.5].
Foreclosure activity is also important. The moratorium on foreclosure activity ended in March. In the last three months, there were almost one-million foreclosure filings. For the month of May alone, foreclosure filings were up 18% from May 2008. In May, one if every 398 households got a foreclosure notice. (Source: Moneynews)
Finally, consider the months of unsold pre-existing home inventory on hand. The real estate market will continue to be a sellers market until the months of unsold pre-existing homes on the market drops to six months. Our nation's ability to get to a six month inventory of unsold pre-existing homes depends greatly on trends in new home construction. If builders continue to add new homes to the market, pre-existing unsold home inventory will continue to remain higher than historical averages.
Enough about my opinion, here is what Yahoo Real Estate estimates for 10 real estate markets:
1. New York
Metro: New York-White Plains-Wayne (N.Y.-N.J.)
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $343,937
Q4 2008 price: $440,000
Projected price change by MSA: -21.8%
Projected price change by state: -15.6%
One of the metros with the highest housing prices in the nation, the New York-White Plains-Wayne area is projected to have the third-largest drop in the country, behind Los Angeles and Tampa. Analysts predict that 2009 and 2010 will be the worst years, and then home prices will stabilize. Of particular concern is the impact that the crisis in the financial industry, one of the area's largest employers, has had on the housing market. From banker to back-office staff, thousands lost their jobs or saw their incomes slashed. As Wall Street strengthens, so will real estate prices.
Metro: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $253,328
Q4 2008 price: $350,000
Projected price change by MSA: -27.6%
Projected price change by state: -13.2%
Los Angeles, best known as the home of Hollywood, is home to excellent universities such as the University of Southern California and large corporations such as aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman. Southern California has been particularly damaged by the downturn in the housing market and home values are expected to remain soft.
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $248,136
Q4 2008 price: $247,000
Projected price change by MSA: +0.5%
Projected price change by state: +0.6%
Chicago, hometown of President Barack Obama, is the third-largest city in the U.S. and a financial center. The city is famous for its architecture, museums, nightlife, and deep-dish pizza. The area's top employers include Jewel-Osco supermarkets, United Airlines, and J.P. Morgan.
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $171,347
Q4 2008 price: $195,000
Projected price change by MSA: -12.1%
Projected price change by state: -3.6%
This year, prices in the nation's fifth-largest metropolitan area are projected to fall 11.6%. Housing prices in the suburbs remain expensive but have still dropped in price. Real estate in Center City also has seen significant declines but will begin to turn around in 2011.
Metro: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $160,471
Q4 2008 price: $160,000
Projected price change by MSA: 0.3%
Projected price change by state: -0.1%
Texas in general and Houston in particular have been spared the worst of the downturn, thanks in large part to the energy industry. The sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country will hold steady over the next four years. Prices are expected to dip a bit in 2009 and 2010, but regain ground by 2012.
Metro: Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $182,199
Q4 2008 price: $182,000
Projected price change by MSA*: +0.1%
Projected price change by state: +0.3%
Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, has seen its home price declines slow. Prices dropped about 1% in March from to the previous month but were down 16% from a year earlier. The Atlanta metro is home to many of the nation's largest companies including Delta Airlines, CNN, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot.
7. District of Columbia
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $306,398
Q4 2008 price: $330,000
Projected price change by MSA: -7.2%
Projected price change by state: -11.5%
The DC area is one of the nation's few economic bright spots and has been somewhat buffered from the recession because of its government and defense contractor jobs. Another bright spot is its popular tourist attractions, which bring in millions of visitors every year to fill its museums, hotels, and restaurants. However, home prices will remain down through 2010 and will come back in 2011.
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $294,741
Q4 2008 price: $320,000
Projected price change by MSA: -7.9%
Projected price change by state: -3.2%
Boston is a historic city with large hospitals and world-class universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But while education and health services have been strong, the construction, leisure, financial, and transportation industries have all taken a hit. Home prices will begin to normalize in 2011 and be up more than 7% year-over-year in 2012.
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $141,859
Q4 2008 price: $169,000
Projected price change by MSA: -16.1%
Projected price change by state: -17.2%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale is one of the worst-hit housing markets in the country. Retirees, empty-nesters, and others flocked to the area during the boom for its warm weather, relative affordability, and recreational opportunities. And so did builders. Many of the new homes built during the boom have since been repossessed.
What a Home Will Be Worth in 2012: $413,966
Q4 2008 price: $395,000
Projected price change by MSA: +4.8%
Projected price change by state: +5.4%
Relatively protected by the presence of tech giant Microsoft and airplane maker Boeing, after a nearly 10% drop in 2008, analysts project an 8.7% decrease this year, followed by gains. (Source: Yahoo Real Estate)