L.A. Is No. 1! ... In Draining Home Values

Boy, those were the days. Million-plus-dollar homes in Culver City (Culver City!), Mar Vista (at the bottom of the hill) and Venice (away from the beach) were the rage only a few years ago. The flip side to all of that madness, however, is that Los Angeles now leads the nation in home-value losses.

In 2009 the value of homes in the region declined by nearly $61 billion-with-a-"b" dollars, according to Zillow. (That's enough to wipe out the state deficit more than twofold). L.A. beat out Chicago (down $49.6 billion) and New York (down $49 billion) for the title of home-value loser.

The good news is that the loss is not as bad as it was in the nadir of 2008, when the Los Angeles area's homeowners saw nearly $346 billion fly out the collective window.

Things, in fact, might be looking up if, as Zillow notes, mortgage rates don't creep up. Nationwide, Zillow found that 48 of the 154 markets it tracks actually saw home values rise. Boston was the nation's winner with a $23.3 billion rise in market values.

"Home values stabilized significantly during the second half of 2009," said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries, "with the total dollar value of U.S. homes increasing since June."

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