In 2003, as real estate prices were starting to go through the roof, Greg Merrill and his wife bought a 1,900-square foot, four-bedroom home with vaulted ceilings on a quiet cul-de-sac in Yucaipa, Calif., for nearly $240,000. Then came the real estate crash, and within a few years their home’s value dropped to $225,000.
The Merrills were among the fortunate few who could afford to wait it out. “We didn’t plan on flipping the house. So it was just a matter of keep on, keepin’ on,” says Greg, an elementary school teacher who works in nearby San Bernardino. A decade later, the Merrills’ home is estimated to be worth more than $350,000.
Alas, the vast majority of their neighbors haven’t been quite so lucky.
Ten years after the mortgage meltdown, only 3.4% of the homes in the Riverside/San Bernardino market have recovered to their pre-housing crisis peaks, according to a report by Trulia. The average home in this metro area costs about $323,000 — roughly 20% below pre-2007 levels.
Sadly, San Bernardino isn’t unique. Much of the country still hasn’t recovered fully despite several years of a real estate “recovery.”
While it’s true that national home prices have rebounded on average and are hitting new highs in this economic recovery, only 34% of houses in the U.S. have actually come all the way back, according to Trulia.
“The big surprise is if you’re using broad measures to gauge the housing recovery, they’re not that good for measuring how well the individual markets have done,” says Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin. “By looking at other measures you might think that most homes have recovered, instead of only a third.”
Trulia compared current home values to pre-recession highs in the nation’s 100 biggest metro areas. The markets that have fared the absolute best — like Denver, where almost 99% of homes are above their pre-crisis prices — are enjoying double-digit income and job growth.
The worst 10 markets, listed below, have either struggled economically or had to dig out of a really deep hole — or both.
The BOTTOM 10 MARKETS