Home values in the last year dropped more in Arizona than any other state.
New figures Tuesday from the Federal Housing Finance Agency show the price for an average Arizona home in the first quarter of this year is 13 percent less than the same time a year ago.
What that means is that home values, on average, are now more than 20 percent below where they were at this time in 2005, while prices were going up but before the housing bubble burst.
And there is no real sign that the slide in values is slowing: The index dropped by 3.4 percent just between the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of this year.
But those who have been hanging onto their houses longer term still have something to be happy about: The report shows that, even with the precipitous drop in prices, the average Arizona home is now worth almost double what it was at the beginning of 1991.
The FHFA figures are significant because the agency computes its index based on figures from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which have the largest database of conventional mortgages going back 34 years.
That allows the agency to track prices on the same home being sold and resold. By contrast, some other indexes are based solely on whatever happens to be sold during that period.
The home value situation is not the same throughout the state.
In the Phoenix metro area, which encompasses Maricopa and Pinal counties, values are about 17.6 percent below where they were a year ago. But the quarter-over-quarter drop was less than 2 percent.
The data for individual counties is actually more comprehensive than for the state. That is because FHFA includes not only the resale of the same homes it has tracked but also refininancings of those houses.
By contrast, Yavapai County values were down nearly 17.9 percent during the last year. But the quarterly slide alone was almost 5.2 percent.
Pima County homeowners are in a slightly different situation, with the year-over-year drop in home values pegged at 12.9 percent. That includes a 2.5 percent drop in the last quarter.
Prices in Coconino County also continue to drop, by nearly 3.5 percent in the last quarter and 13.3 percent in the last year.
And in Yuma County, where only annual change figures are available, home values dropped nearly 13.2 percent.
By comparison, the national index showed a annual decline of nearly 3.1 percent in home values, including a 1.9 percent drop in the last quarter.
Four of the five other states at the bottom of the list — but above Arizona — all are in the West.
Nevada was second from the bottom with a 12.1 percent annual decline, followed by Idaho at nearly 11.5 percent, Michigan and Utah at 8.9 percent and Oregon at 8.6 percent.
Change in home values
Area / Change Last quarter* / 1 yr**
United States+ / (1.90%) / (3.07%)
Arizona+ / (3.43%) / (13.04%)
Flagstaff++ / (3.48%) / (13.26%)
Lake Havasu/Kingman++ / (4.79%) / (17.86%)
Phoenix metro+ / (1.25%) / (8.37%
Phoenix metro++ / (1.95%) / (17.60%)
Prescott++ / (5.19%) / (17.86%)
Tucson++ / (2.55%) / (12.88%)
Yuma++ / NA / (13.19%)
* Difference between 4th qtr 2009 and 1st qtr 2010
** Difference between 1st qtr 2010 and 1st qtr 2009
+ Purchase price comparisons only
++ Purchase price and refinancing comparisons
(negative numbers in parentheses)
Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency