Safe to say that the housing bust isn’t over….
Home prices fell in half of U.S. cities in the third quarter as banks stepped up repossessions of properties in default.
The median price of a single-family home dropped in 76 of 155 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. Prices in Ocala, Florida, slumped 20 percent for the biggest decline. Palm Bay, Florida, and Tucson, Arizona, followed with a 15 percent slide. The median U.S. price fell 0.2 percent to $177,900.
The U.S. housing market is struggling as lenders seize a record number of properties and unemployment hovers near a 26- year high. Banks took over 288,345 homes in period covered by the Realtors report, up 22 percent from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a data firm in Irvine, California. Foreclosures boost the supply of available homes and reduce prices because they sell at a discount.
“The bottom has proven to be quite elusive,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist of data firm Zillow.com in Seattle.