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Home values moving in a downward direction

Home prices fell during the third quarter of the year, according to Zillow.

Home prices fell during the third quarter of the year, according to Zillow.

The housing market continued to decline in the third quarter, with home values falling for the 17th consecutive period, according to Zillow.com.

The Zillow Home Value Index declined 4.3 percent year-over-year in the third quarter and 1.2 percent from the second quarter to $179,900. Those lower prices may be perceived as a positive situation for people thinking of moving into a new house.

However, falling home prices have left many current homeowners with negative equity, according to Zillow.com, which has made relocation difficult. Las Vegas had the highest percentage of negative equity, with 80.2 percent of homes. In total, 11 markets tracked by Zillow had negative equity above 50 percent.

"It represents a huge number of people who are not only more vulnerable to foreclosure, but who are essentially trapped in their current homes and are prevented from selling and buying a new home," said Zillow chief economist Dr Stan Humphries, noting the current housing recession is "rivaling the Great Depression's real estate downturn."

Other reports have shown similar trends. The National Association of Realtors reports the national median existing single-family home price was $172,600 in September, down 1.9 percent from a year ago.