Lower unemployment figures and higher GDP growth continue to help stabilize home prices amid a still-steady recovery, ""Fitch Ratings"":http://www.fitchratings.com/web/en/dynamic/fitch-home.jsp said Monday.[IMAGE]
The ratings agency found in a report that home prices may plunge 9.1 percent nationally but that the figures remain below estimates[COLUMN_BREAK]
of 13.1 percent from the fourth quarter.
Fitch said that declines may contract by around 6 percent in lieu of inflation and benefit from improvements in macro-economic indicators, such as unemployment and GDP growth.
Still, Fitch said, ""there remains a long and difficult road to get back to pre-recession levels. Though home prices are falling nationally, price movement in some regional markets is still quite volatile due largely to the volume and pace of distressed sales being processed.""
The report said that still-anemic mortgage volume remains a problem even in an era of all-time highs for housing affordability, with tight underwriting, qualification standards, and credit access restricted to borrowers with healthy equity and sizable down payments.
Fitch said that markets in Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan continue to follow ""steeper corrections"" while home prices in the Northeast follow slower declines as a result of foreclosure delays and fewer liquidations for homes in distress.