The Economic Collapse has put together a stupendous list of 20 startling facts about the US housing market:

1. According to Zillow, 28.4% of all single-family homes with a mortgage in the United States are now underwater.

2. Zillow has announced that the average price of a home in the U.S. is about 8% lower than it was a year ago;

3. U.S. home prices have now fallen a whopping 33% from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble.4. During the first quarter of 2011, home values declined at the fastest rate since late 2008.

5. According to Zillow, more than 55% of all single-family homes with a mortgage in Atlanta have negative equity and more than 68% of all single-family homes with a mortgage in Phoenix have negative equity.

6. U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the housing crisis first began.

7. In February, U.S. housing starts experienced their largest decline in 27 years.

8. New home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

9. Historically, the percentage of residential mortgages in foreclosure in the United States has tended to hover between 1 and 1.5 percent. Today, it is up around 4.5 percent.

10. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings in the United States are projected to increase by another 20 percent in 2011.

11. It is estimated that 25% of all mortgages in Miami-Dade County are “in serious distress and headed for either foreclosure or short sale“.

12. Two years ago, the average U.S. homeowner that was being foreclosed upon had not made a mortgage payment in 11 months. Today, the average U.S. homeowner that is being foreclosed upon has not made a mortgage payment in 17 months.

13. Sales of foreclosed homes now represent an all-time record 23.7% of the market.

14. 4.5 million home loans are now either in some stage of foreclosure or are at least 90 days delinquent.

15. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are currently at least one month behind on their mortgage payments.

16. In September 2008, 33% of Americans knew someone who had been foreclosed upon or who was facing the threat of foreclosure. Today that number has risen to 48 percent.

17. During the first quarter of 2011, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded.

18According to a recent census report, 13% of all homes in the United States are currently sitting empty.

19. In 1996, 89% of Americans believed that it was better to own a home than to rent one. Today that number has fallen to 63 percent.

20. According to Zillow, the United States has been in a “housing recession” for 57 straight months without an end in sight.

Source: The Economic Collapse: :”Don’t Buy A House In 2011 Before You Read These 20 Wacky Statistics About The U.S. Real Estate Crisis

Category: Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

22 Responses to “20 Startling Facts About the US Housing Market”

  1. dsawy says:

    So I guess it is pretty safe to say that all the brilliant ideas about doing something to help the housing market that came out of DC amounted to expensive bupkiss, yes?

    Stat #19 is the one, IMO, with the longest lasting impact if it persists. In 1996, the number of people who believed it was better to own than rent was obviously higher than the number of people who actually owned – ie, it indicated a long term demand for housing. The 63% number is now below the current rate of home ownership nationwide, and exceeds home ownership rates only on the left coast. That puts a damper on future prospects of home sales.

  2. rktbrkr says:

    I’ve read that the current home price declines exceed the great depression.

    The current official unemployment rate 9% understates true unemployment/underemployment and while it doesn’t match the great depression it exceeds any time in between.

    Only the current stock market indexes say that we’ve recovered from the great recession, thanks to Ben’s QE pumping.

    The RE market has clearly double-dipped and it looks like the larger economy is following suit.Is it a double dip great recession or have the past 18 months been the modern day version of the sucker rally of 1930?

  3. Patrick Neid says:

    Bubble karma…like death and taxes.

  4. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    And no bottom in sight. Taken together, this should pump the markets at least another 20%. Then again, maybe I’m just being pessimistic and cynical.

    The wealth transfer continues, unabated.

  5. bulfinch says:

    Hey, just move to Austin, where none of the above twenty data points are relevant.

    Billboard just outside of town for the past several years:

    “Central Texas Real Estate Really IS Different”

  6. BusSchDean says:

    bulfinch…shhh, be careful what you wish for. Austin is a lovely place that needs neither significant growth nor real estate speculators.

    Currently visiting Michigan. The difference between it and Phoenix is that Phoenix will likely rise from the ashes whereas Michigan has been struggling to pull itself together since the ’81 recession. There are some positive signs, steel and other auto-related companies are doing better. Dave Bing is being a hard-ass mayor, something they desperately needed. From Detroit to smaller towns the public sector is a mess, little money, if houses aren’t empty their values have declined so much the property taxes base has withered. I wonder how many economist in the last 150 years have written about how be to manage a shrinking economy?

    For a few centuries in the early Middle Ages many European cities experienced significant “de-population.” Who da thought we would see it again.

  7. BennyProfane says:

    “19. In 1996, 89% of Americans believed that it was better to own a home than to rent one. Today that number has fallen to 63 percent.”

    Wow, that goes into the “man, most people are stupid” file. 63% still think it’s better to own after all that?
    Well, heh, of course it’s usually better to “own” a home, but, at last count, I’m pretty sure only about 30% of homes are “owned”. The rest are “owed”.

  8. forwhomthebelltolls says:

    Well, I have to admit that all this talk about the housing apocalypse has me wanting to buy some single-family rental properties. Admittedly, the housing market here in MA is nowhere near as bad as some of the areas mentioned, but there are a few attractive foreclosures around. The wild card is property tax. I don’t like not being in control of the “extra” expenses, but every investment necessitates some risk, I suppose. We’re somewhat shielded by Prop 2.5 laws, but it’s still a wildcard.

    Probably time to stop worrying about picking bottoms and go shopping.

  9. Ted Kavadas says:

    It is valuable to have all of these statistics aggregated in one post.

    RE: 1. According to Zillow, 28.4% of all single-family homes with a mortgage in the United States are now underwater.

    The increasing percentage of those with “negative equity” is a substantial problem on many fronts. For those interested I wrote a post on the subject on Monday; it can be found here:

  10. louiswi says:

    Just curious. Perhaps someone can explain how Zillow gets any credibility to be quoted. The output of theirs that I have seen is often seriously flawed.

    The housing situation always seems a puzzle to me. Everyone needs shelter-it is a basic need. Some pay more than others for it-some a lot more. The idea that one’s shelter was also an investment always seemed stupendouly silly.

  11. wunsacon says:

    >> explain how Zillow gets any credibility

    I’m wondering that m’self…

    >> visiting Michigan. The difference between it and Phoenix

    I wonder about the vitality of northern US cities, in the face of higher oil/fuel costs. Maintaining the snowy roads, heating the homes, etc. increases the cost of living, something they’ll find difficult to pass along in labor costs in a global environment.

  12. MacroEconomist says:

    DUDES, it’s all priced into real estate prices on a transactional basis. Has anybody commenting on real estate actually gone out and tried to buy a house? I have – twice – in Great Neck and now in South Florida. Let me tell you something, it’s a nightmare.

    The banks are so scared sh!tless the appraisals are ridiculous. If everything selling is distressed, that means appraisals are distressed.

    The house I am in contract for in SFL is 25% cheaper to own then the rent I would get. And that doesn’t even include tax subsidies. And yes, that even includes hurricane insurance.

    The cap rate is easily 10% for a gorgeous property in a gated community.

    I would sell stocks and buy real estate all day long right now and I suspect that’s exactly what people will do.

    Money always goes to where it’s treated best.

  13. alnval says:

    Thanks for continuing to keep the housing market problem front and center. What’s the latest on foreclosures and the courts?

  14. quillnotes says:


    You can not give Zillow this much credibility, their data is bad (my own homes sq. ft is wrong) and they make a generalization on home values primarily based on price per square foot. Take a look a the neighborhood that you live in, and look at peoples houses you been in and see if you agree with the Zillow estimate for those homes.

    Zillow is very similar to analysts that say, well company A is trading at X multiple and Company B, in the same industry with a similar growth profile should deserve the same multiple. And we know those arguments typically don’t work in the stock market.

  15. [...] 20 Startling Facts About the US Housing Market (May 19, [...]

  16. nickthap says:

    I live in Austin too, and in terms of averages prices have risen a bit. But the picture is more nuanced. Prices in marginal, previously gentrifying neighborhoods have stalled or dropped, and neighborhoods with good schools that have always been stable are increasing in value. In effect, the gentrification trend has completely stopped, and historic housing/class patterns are back in effect. Friends that bought in marginal neighborhoods during the boom here in Austin are now underwater. Some have been having kids and now are desperate to get out of their houses, but can’t. There are neighborhoods in Austin where people cannot give their home away. But they are same neighborhoods where 7 years ago it was the case as well.

    So, national statistics are all fine and dandy, but even in the worst markets I bet that when you drill down you will see the same trends.

    On a side note, if Texas’ budget cuts are as bad as they say, Austin’s economy will take a big hit. Most if those jobs are middle class, and supports housing prices in those nicer neighborhoods.

  17. gordo365 says:

    >> explain how Zillow gets any credibility

    When the other “source” of RE info is the National Association of Realtors – it is easy to be relatively credible.

  18. JohnnyVee says:

    Whether Zillow is the place to find utmost accurate data, isn’t the real issue. It is the trend and the trend from the data is accurate. The housing market was approaching stability and is now declining again. It may appear to stabilize next year again, then decline for a third leg down when interest rates for mortgages increase.

  19. MacroEconomist says:


    Nobody cares if your house has granite, spanish tile, is new construction, whatever. It’s all based on price per sq. foot right now.

    That’s why you should go out and buy a house with a lot of upgrades. The appraisal will come in the same as the dilapidated POS next door.

    Totally irrational market. Love it.

  20. cognos says:

    Macoeconomist has this nailed. Totally dislocated market. Buying to rent is free money (I rent). I suspect that will gradually correct.

    I also note, fewer than half of all homes have mortgages.

  21. bulfinch says:

    Nickthap “I live in Austin too, and in terms of averages prices have risen a bit. But the picture is more nuanced. Prices in marginal, previously gentrifying neighborhoods have stalled or dropped, and neighborhoods with good schools that have always been stable are increasing in value. ”

    It’s hard to tell, since Texas is a non-disclosure state, but I’ve been watching things very closely here, and much of the action I see is not quantifiable in bits. I see a total disconnect in prices from the fundamentals, be it comparable rents, local incomes and sales histories – when you can find them. I just recently saw a house sell for5X what it sold for in 2000. Granted, they’d turned the garage into a master bedroom, but…

    RE: School districts — I think this will be challenged by the growing class sizes in even the best districts, thanks to the budget crisis.

    FWIW, I lived in one of the epicenters of the bubble for a while during the run-up. I am seeing many of the exact same patterns unfolding here that I watched unfold there, from multiple FS signs within eye shot of one another all over town, to the modest tract homes selling for over 300K with almost 9K in property taxes, to the newly recharged condo developments downtown. I see the same speculation here that I saw there. It’s quite bizarre, in fact. I really hope it ends well.

    Any other cities like this out there?