Gloom over California home prices hard to shake

Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:09pm EDT
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By Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Matt Bording doubts many in his financial bind would agree that home prices in California are near a bottom. And there are many in his predicament.

Bording owes more on his mortgage than his Richmond, California house is worth so he is giving up on the loan.

"We're walking away," Bording told Reuters, noting he will soon hand his lender the keys to the three-bedroom house he bought with his wife in 2005 because its value has plunged with his zip-code's median home price over the last year.

"It's down about 60 percent," he said. "I don't see that rebounding in a realistic time frame."

Brisk sales of foreclosures are leading optimistic analysts to forecast an end to the misery of falling home prices in California, a first step to recovery in a key housing market at the epicenter of the U.S. mortgage crisis.

But Bording says his neighborhood is full of for-sale signs for known foreclosures and the disrepair of other houses suggest their owners share his view: "They may want to jump off a sinking ship."


Some analysts say the slide in home values in California has run its course thanks to buyers with government mortgages and investors snapping up foreclosed properties.   Continued...

<p>Matt Bording carries a packed box from his foreclosed home in Richmond, California June 8, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>