Home values falling this year

House on rate chart

The median selling price for all types of single-family homes reached a record $221,900 in 2006, up from $219,000 in 2005 and $195,200 in 2004.

But that 1.4% increase was the smallest since the National Association of Realtors began tracking prices in 1968, and far short of the 6.5% appreciation homes had averaged over that time.

It also ended an extraordinary run-up in home values, which had seen the median price jump 51% from 2001 through 2005.

Through the first three months of 2007, prices are down 1.8%. Home values declined in nearly half the nation's metro housing markets -- 157 of 317 -- according to a study by Global Insight and National City Corp.

The Realtors now expect prices will fall 1.3% for the year. That would be the first annual decline since the group began tracking prices 39 years ago.

Bank of America economists project a steeper 2.9% decline and another 2.5% drop in 2008 before prices level out in 2009 and 2010.

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