4 Out of 5

Looks like anything but...

Inquiring minds are gazing toward Las Vegas where the best odds in the city are, as being reported by The Las Vegas Sun, is the probablility of a home underwater as over 80 percent. Pushed there by continually falling home values:

Las Vegas home values as measured by Zillow fell 4.2 percent in the third quarter and pushed the region’s percentage of underwater properties to 80.2 percent.

The number of homes underwater — when property owners owe more on their mortgage then the home is worth — increased from 78.1 percent in the second quarter, the Seattle-based firm reported. Phoenix ranked second with 68 percent underwater during the third quarter.

“The high percentage of homeowners in negative equity continues to be troubling in that it represents a huge number of people who are not only more vulnerable to foreclosure but who are essentially trapped in their current homes and are prevented from selling and buying a new home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “This has profound implications for future demand and will be a millstone around the neck of the housing market.”

The data are truly astounding:

In September, 39 percent of homes sold in Las Vegas were for a loss, up from 20 percent in September 2009. Nationally, 27 percent of the homes sold in September were for a loss, the firm reported.

Zillow, which says it measures the value of all homes and not just those sold, reported home values have fallen 58 percent since their peak in May 2006 — back to August 2000 levels.

In Las Vegas, 47 percent of all home sales in September were foreclosure sales, down from 49 percent in September 2009. Nationally, foreclosures comprised 20 percent of all sales.

The entire article is well worth the read as it gives data on the surrounding areas and the devastation wrought by easy money and loose lending practices. Considering that 58 percent of all Alt-A loans in the country are in California (see above graph) does anyone seriously think that North County San Diego, Orange County, San Fransisco Bay Area, and the toney sections of LA County are far behind?

Hang on, Californians. The next 14 or 15 months are going to be quite a ride.


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