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Washington area home prices won't be back to peak until 2021

Monday - 7/21/2014, 11:26am  ET

While home values in many areas in Washington are now close to where they were before the housing market downturn seven years ago, it won’t be until late-2021 until prices across the region fully recover, according to real estate firm Zillow Inc.

With a median price of $356,000 in the second quarter, and based on Zillow’s own forecast for price gains in coming years, it will take 7.4 years for home values to return to peak levels.

Zillow expects home values in the Washington area to rise just 2.4 percent over the next 12 months, almost half its forecast for appreciation nationwide.

Home values in the Washington area as a whole are now where they were in November 2004, Zillow says, and still down 17.4 percent from the 2007 peak.

While Zillow’s forecast says Washington metro prices won’t fully recover for more than seven years, it does note prices in the District and Arlington are already back to peak, while prices in Fairfax County and Falls Church City are just 5.6 percent and 6 percent below peak.

On the other end of the scale, median prices in Waldorf are still 32.5 percent below peak and prices in Woodbridge are 32.6 percent below peak, the two worst Washington area jurisdictions.

Nationally, Zillow notes several markets where home values metro-wide have returned to peak levels, including Pittsburgh, Denver and Austin, Texas.

Minneapolis, which has one of the healthiest economies and lowest unemployment rates in the country, also has the longest road ahead to return to peak housing prices. Zillow says that won’t happen in Minneapolis until late-2028.

Despite strong price gains in Las Vegas, Zillow says the median price there is still 40.3 percent below peak.

You can see Zillow's entire Washington area breakout of current price-to-peak data here.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.