Watch out, Stockton

Coming to any conclusions about next year's housing market has become a thankless exercise because many of the numbers are conflicting and confusing. Nevertheless, Fortune asked Moody's and real estate valuation company Fiserv Lending Solutions to offer up their best guesstimates for 2007 - and Stockton has emerged as the area poised for the biggest drop. Prices are expected to fall 7.1 percent next year and 5.3 percent in 2008. The L.A.-Long Beach area is expected to take the fifth worst fall - 5.4 percent in '07 and 4.6 percent in '08 (six of the 10 worst decliners are in California). "It's possible that the broader housing market will firm in the next few months, that the worst is over," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, told Fortune. "But that to me is a dead-cat bounce" (financial-speak for a temporary recovery from a declining market, followed by further declines). Well, maybe. But keep in mind that so much of real estate is super-local, which means that the action in your neighborhood might be significantly different than the action in mine. Anyway, for what it's worth, here are the 10 housing markets ready for a fall (and their projected declines in 2007:

Stockton -7.10%
Las Vegas -6.60%
Bakersfield -5.50%
Santa Ana - Anaheim -5.50%
Los Angeles - Long Beach -5.40%
Miami - Miami Beach -4.90%
Sarasota - Bradenton, Fla. -4.80%
Oakland -4.60%
Fresno -4.60% -4.30%
Fort Lauderdale -4.30%

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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