U.S. housing prices fell collectively 12.2 percent from the same time in 2008 during February, says this newly released home price report from First American CoreLogic. The firm's monthly Home Price Index says prices have fallen nationally now for 24 straight months and seems to be picking up speed. Especially in Washington, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Massachusetts and Virginia.
Not here, though. Prices in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties are declining now at a slower pace, says the firm. That's because so much of the decline has already taken place.
Prices in the region collectively declined 23 percent in February from the same time last year, compared to last month when the year-over-year decline was 25 percent.
Here's the cheerful synopsis from the firm's chief economist:
"Over one-fifth of U.S. housing wealth has vanished and home prices continue to decline. Decreases are now being driven by rising unemployment and a high volume of distressed home sales. Given that home prices are generally a lagging indicator of market health, we believe the largest declines have already taken place, but we expect home prices to continue to decline into 2010 as economic conditions and excess housing inventories dampen prices," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic.