Real estate experts say home equity will continue falling well into next year.
Home values across the United States posted their seventh consecutive quarterly decline over the third quarter, and are expected to continue declining next year, according to a report by Zillow.com.
In a survey of home values in163 metropolitan areas, the Seattle-based online real estate firm found nearly a third of Americans who sold their home in the past year lost money. Home values have fallen nearly 10 percent in the past year.
Thirty percent of the nation's homeowners who bought within the last five years currently owe lenders more than their home is worth, while more than 14 percent have negative equity, the survey found.
Some of the areas most affected by long-term depreciation in the housing market include parts of California, Boston, Cleveland, and Detroit. These are also some of the areas with the highest rate of foreclosures, the report said. Foreclosures made up almost 20 percent of all housing transactions in the past 12 months.
Home values are expected to continue to decline at least until the middle of next year, Dr. Stan Humphries, a vice president at Zillow, explained.
"Most markets are still seeing five-year annualized returns, but we will see more markets slip into flat or negative long-term change as the economy continues to suffer, factors like job losses begin to further affect foreclosure rates and home values continue to decline," Zillow Vice President Stan Humphries said in a statement.