Home values gained an estimated 6 percent nationwide this year, the first increase since 2006, as the housing market began to recover from its worst slump since the 1930s, Zillow Inc. said Thursday.
Values have climbed more than $1.3 trillion to $23.7 trillion since the end of last year and probably will continue to rise in 2013, the Seattle-based home-listing service said in a statement. Residential values had declined each year since 2007, with the biggest drop in 2008, when homes lost more than $3.2 trillion in value, Zillow said.
Low interest rates, improving employment and prices that remain almost 30 percent below their July 2006 peak have drawn buyers back into the market. A limited inventory of homes for sale has helped push up prices.
"The housing market really turned a corner in 2012, as historic affordability and sustained investor interest helped keep demand at a boil," Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist, said in the statement.
"As home values rise, and more homeowners are freed from negative equity, we can expect a continued slow transition to a more normal housing environment." Sales of previously owned homes jumped 5.9 percent in November from the previous month to reach an annual pace of 5.04 million, the most in three years, the National Association of Realtors reported today from Washington. The median resale price was $180,600, up 10 percent from November 2011.