Has the Housing Market Hit Bottom?

As a point of reference, the median price nationally for an existing single-family home is $169,000, down 13.8 percent from last year.

Phoenix -- Median Home Price: $129,200, down 41.9 percent. Arizona has been ground zero for the housing bust. In Phoenix, developers built countless new homes ever further away from the city center on undeveloped plots of land. As credit collapsed, gas prices climbed and traffic worsened, those neighborhoods fell out of favor. Thanks to low down payments, many homeowners in the Phoenix area now owe more on their loans than their homes are worth.

Chicago -- Median Home Price: $185,600, down 25.6 percent. You might expect steep home declines in some Chicago suburbs such as Joliet, which had a high level of subprime loans. But now, even homes in tony neighborhoods like Lincoln Park are expected to fall roughly 15 percent.

Houston -- Median Home Price: $138,500, down 6.7 percent. Energy-rich Texas has done better than most of the country through the recession. As the home-construction market that fueled so many local economies collapsed, Texas cities were able to fall back on rising oil and gas prices. While prices in Houston are down just 6.7 percent, things are even better in Dallas, which just has a 4.7-percent decline. Prices in Austin are down just 1.2 percent.

Los Angeles -- Median Home Price: $303,500, down 34.1 percent. Southern California was home to Countrywide -- the once-mighty mortgage lender -- and also became one of the first markets to collapse. Even Long Beach, Santa Ana and other parts of the sprawling city now are suffering. But L.A. is also one of the first cities to show signs of rebirth, with first-time homebuyers once priced out of the market now apparently dipping their toes back in.

San Francisco -- Median Home Price: $402,000, down 42.7 percent. The Bay Area managed to stave off the housing crisis a bit longer than the rest of California, but by the middle of 2008, home prices there, too, started to fall and then just plummeted. And they haven't stopped yet.

Las Vegas -- Median Home Price: $155,300, down 37.3 percent. Like Phoenix, Sin City saw explosive growth, with new suburbs popping up all over the desert. In the end, that growth was not sustainable. Las Vegas got a double shot of reality thanks to high gas prices, which kept tourists away -- you basically have to fly or drive there -- followed by the recession that kept away gamblers at home.

Seattle -- Median Home Price: $315,200, down 15.3 percent. While the rest of the country was suffering, home prices in Seattle still were rising. As late as mid-2008, the price of homes there were climbing. That now has stopped. The pain has not been as bad as in Arizona, but it's not pretty either.

Miami -- Median Home Price: $206,000, down 35.4 percent. If California was the poster child for the housing meltdown, Florida was its East Coast sibling. Investors, speculators and foreign buyers had flooded the market. Many people bought second homes there as an investment, maybe thinking about retiring there one day. Subprime and no-document loans flourished. Florida still is paying the price.

Atlanta -- Median Home Price: $115,600, down 24.9 percent. A combination of suburban sprawl and mortgage fraud led to some very big and very early drops for Atlanta. But these days, the city is showing strong signs of hitting a bottom. The average price of metro Atlanta homes dropped just 0.42 percent from March to April. It's not an increase, but when you've lost a quarter of your home's value, it is surely happy news.
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