The headline for much of this year has been that home price gains are easing. Prices are still higher compared to last year, but not nearly as much as they had been. Now, suddenly, it looks as if home values could actually go negative on a national level.

“That will be the first time collectively, as a nation, we’ve seen prices drop since the low point or the trough of the housing crisis,” said Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at data firm Clear Capital.

Villacorta points to a 1 percent quarterly home price gain from the second to the third quarter of this year. Last year that quarterly gain was 3 percent

“The discouraging thing about that is, yes, we’re still in the positive, but that 1 percent has been waning from that three percent, and this comes after what should have been the most active buying season in the housing market for the summer that just ended,” he added.

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