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September 23, 2010

From Detroit to Baltimore: Property Values through Boom and Bust

Nearly four years after the downturn of the U.S. housing market, home prices across the country have lost more than 20% of the value measured at the height of the market. For some, the fall from the peak of the market was so severe that it may take years to recover the investment. Others had better fortunes, and still others came out barely scratched, yet most remain uneasy about the uncertainty going forward, and for good reasons.

For one, the July FNC Residential Price Index shows that home prices across the country continued to move lower from the previous year, declining 3% on a year-to-year basis. Meanwhile, recent price rebounds under the homebuyer tax credit have since weakened upon its April expiration. The program’s impact on housing activities including construction spending, new and existing home sales, and inventory reductions on existing homes proved rather short-lived.

In what follows, we analyze home price trends through the boom and bust of the housing cycles for the country’s top housing markets. Our objective is to rank each market according to prospects of long-term home price appreciation in this bumpy ride through the longest housing boom and the deepest bust that followed.

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