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Housing Downturn Hits Unsuspecting Markets

Areas once thought to be virtually immune to the downturn in the housing market are starting to see signs of decline.

Cities like Seattle, Minneapolis and Atlanta are now entering their own downturn in the housing market, and there are no signs of it slowing.

"In the last year, home prices in Seattle had a bigger decline than in Las Vegas. Minneapolis dropped more than Miami, and Atlanta fared worse than Phoenix.

The bubble markets, where builders, buyers and banks ran wild, began falling first, economists say, so they are close to the end of the cycle and in some cases on their way back up. Nearly everyone else still has another season of pain.

"When I go out and talk to people around town, they say, ‘Wow, I thought we were going to have a 12 percent correction and call it a day,' " said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the housing site Zillow, which is based in Seattle. "But this thing just keeps on going." "

Full Story: Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Once Thought to Be Stable



Housing downturn In Atlanta

Atlanta's downturn is really no surprise.

As witness the rash of bank failures in Georgia, suspect loans to unqualified borrowers were rampant during the boom times. Lenders couldn't find shiftless bums fast enough to move their no-interest loans through the system. For several years, home buying and ownership was cheaper and easier than renting the same or comparable unit.

Atlanta would have crashed earlier, along with California and south Florida, were it not for a more balanced economy less dependent overall on development and home building relative to the other Sunbelt hot spots.

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