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Home values continue to decline in fourth quarter

Home values continued to decline in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Home values continued to decline in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The fourth quarter of 2011 continued to show results of the housing market declining, but Zillow recently released its home value index, which forecast smaller declines in 2012.

The Zillow Home Value Index showed a decrease 1.1 percent during the quarter, following less significant declines in the previous two quarters, Zillow's fourth quarter Real Estate Market Reports stated.

"While it may be disconcerting for homeowners to see values nationally fell at a fairly rapid clip at the end of last year, that trend won't last through 2012," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. "The fourth quarter's weak performance proves that pronouncements of a bottom in home values have been premature, but the good news is that 2012 will prove to be a better year than 2011. Fortunately, against a backdrop of modest further declines in home values, we expect that home sales will pick up briskly this year as affordable prices bring more buyers to the table – especially investors and second-home buyers."

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Survey showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average 3.87 percent for the week ending in February 9. With mortgages remaining low, Americans may be able to afford a relocation cost more easily than they have in the past.