Home prices in some of the nation's hardest-hit metro areas have fallen far below pre-bubble levels, stirring concerns that properties in those markets are undervalued.
In a recent analysis, real-estate firm Zillow Inc. studied the correlation between home prices and annual incomes over the 15-year period that ended in 2000, before home prices began to surge
Look at the impact of mortgage affordability products.
The analysis underscores a broader point: While the nation's housing markets largely fell and rose together during the housing boom and bust, they aren't likely to hit bottom and begin recovery at the same time or pace. The Zillow analysis shows that many markets still appear to be overvalued.
For the U.S. as a whole, home prices were around 2.9 times incomes from 1985 to 2000. But during the housing boom, values increased at a much faster rate than incomes. The price-to-income ratio peaked at around 5.1 in 2005. Home prices have since fallen so that on average, nationally, prices are around 3.3 times incomes, or about 14% above the historical trend.