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Have prices hit bottom?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis April 26, 2012 09:11 AM

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OK, calling a bottom to the now years-long decline in home prices is risky business.

Eventually someone will get it right, but predicting an imminent turnaround in prices is more likely to leave you looking like a fool rather than some market sage.

Yet the predictions keep coming, with the latest to roll the dice.

Zillow contends Boston area home prices hit bottom in the first quarter. Better yet, Zillow sees a .3 percent rise in prices over the next year.

That comes after a painful decline of more than 2 percent over the past year, with the Zillow Home Value Index for the Boston area now just over $300,000. (Zillow looks not just at sale prices, but also assessed values.)

According to Zillow, we are now back at Sept. 2002 levels when it comes to real estate values. Moreover, 34.7 percent of all Boston area homes sold for a loss in March, actually up from the previous high of 33.1 percent hit in March, 2009.

After lots of price pain, maybe there's really not much place left to go but up.

Of course, such general predictions gloss over a lot crucial little details. When it comes to home prices in Greater Boston, it's a mixed bag out there, with some western suburbs either back at boom-time prices or approaching them, with many other towns and neighborhoods farther down the real estate food chain still floundering around.

So what's your prediction? I will follow up with a post on the best bearish and bullish forecasts next week.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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