The administration has blown through billions of dollars and nearly as many acronyms to achieve "stabilization" in the housing market. According to Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.com, December 2009 may mark the beginning of a "double-dip" and the end of "stability":
December brought signs that the fledgling recovery of home values in many markets is slowing again. U.S. home values got a bit lower again in December relative to November levels and the rate of decline got just a little bit higher as well. The national Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) was down 0.21% on a monthly basis in December to $186,200 versus a monthly decline of 0.16% in November. Annualized depreciation was 5.0% nationally.
More significantly, a number of large markets saw an end to their streak of consecutive monthly gains, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore. In total, one in five (29) of the 143 markets tracked by Zillow saw monthly depreciation or flattening of home values in December after having experienced at least five consecutive month-over-month increases in home values during 2009. If these declines are sustained, as we expect to happen in many markets, the result will be a “double dip ” in home values, defined as two periods of sustained declines in home values separated by a brief period of stabilization or recovery.