Image: A sign marks a house for sale by the owner in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington
Jonathan Ernst  /  Reuters file
Washington D.C. will see the biggest gains in home prices this year.
updated 1/26/2011 7:53:28 AM ET 2011-01-26T12:53:28

Like the two years proceeding it, 2010 was a tough year for home owners. Foreclosure rates broke 2009’s record-breaking numbers and we can expect even more in 2011.

For those fortunate property owners still hanging on to their real estate holdings, values in most American markets continued to plunge downward — creating an overall national price drop of -4.7 percent year-over-year, according to Clear Capital.

Earlier this month the real estate research provider released its monthly Clear Capital Home Data Index (HDI) market report, recapping the price fluctuations of 2010 and asserting market valuation forecasts for 2011.

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According to the report, 70 percent of the U.S.’s major markets dropped in value in 2010 and 2011 will witness further price declines.

One of the most interesting things about the HDI report is its home value analysis of the 50 largest U.S. real estate markets (as broken down by population size of Metropolitan Statistical Area). The report compiles the most recent data available — using statistics from December 2010 (many reports use slightly older data since many real-time numbers can be challenging to get — thank you, government bureaucracy). Thirty-five out of 50 are expected to further depreciate this year, pulling the average national values down another -3.6 percent by this time next year.

But there is a shining beacon of hope in this scenario: the other 15 metros. The national market as a whole may still be hemorrhaging value but some cities are already sprouting the beginnings of a property value rebound. For example in California, where Clear Capital reports 2010 price gains in six out of the 15 major metropolises: Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco and Fresno.

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“There really is this segmentation of these markets occurring where the one-size-fits-all national level numbers to represent all numbers really isn’t valid anymore,” notes Alex Villacorta, senior statistician at Clear Capital. “Overall we’re seeing prices start to stabilize going into 2011, but unfortunately some of those markets will stabilize in the downward direction where others will see a sustained recovery.”

Villacorta and his fellow real estate analysts at Clear Capital believe the local markets in the Florida and Western parts of the U.S. — like Arizona’s cities and Breadbasket metros like Oklahoma City, OK and Dayton, OH — will take the largest price hits.

Clear Capital broke their list down taking into account major economic factors like unemployment rates, foreclosure rates and the size of Real Estate Owned (A.K.A. bank-owned) inventory.

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“Markets that have high proportions of distressed sale activity are even more sensitive to those up and down fluctuations and that’s what we’re seeing now, especially in a lot of the bottom of the list markets…a higher portion of distressed sale activity,” explains Villacorta, who also notes that unemployment is and will continue to play a prominent role in the worst of the depreciating markets.

Economically healthy locales like Washington, D.C. and many of the Texas markets where unemployment is well below the national average and job opportunities abound will welcome price increases.

Below is a list of the top 10 cities that Clear Capital expects will rise in property value in 2011, followed by a list of the 10 expected to decline the most.

10 Markets On The Rise In 2011 (year over year):
1. Washington, DC: 6.5 percent price increase
2. Houston, TX: 3.6 percent price increase
3. Honolulu, HI: 3.4 percent price increase
4. Memphis, TN: 3.2 percent price increase
5. Columbus, OH: 2.1 percent price increase
6. Dallas, TX: 1.4 percent price increase
7. New York, NY: 1.3 percent price increase
8. Birmingham, AL: 0.9 percent price increase
9. Pittsburgh, PA: 0.8 percent price increase
10. New Orleans, LA: 0.5 percent price increase

10 Markets That Will Fall The Most In 2011 (year over year):
1. Virginia Beach, VA: 12.8 percent price decrease
2. New Haven, CT: 11.9 percent price decrease
3. Tucson, AZ: 11.9 percent price decrease
4. Dayton, OH: 11.7 percent price decrease
5. Jacksonville, FL: 10.5 percent price decrease
6. Phoenix, AZ: 9.4 percent price decrease
7. San Francisco, CA: 9.3 percent price decrease
8. Detroit, MI: 7.7 percent price decrease
9. Oklahoma City, OK: 7.6 percent price decrease
10. Tampa, FL: 7.4 percent price decrease

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