Forbes released a report of the top 25 housing markets in the country, and what’s odd about it is NOT that Syracuse, my home area, is number two on the list. What’s odd is that it doesn’t mean housing is appreciating in these areas. It just means that housing is depreciating at a lower level than everywhere else.

For instance, the number one area in the country is McAllen, Texas, and it’s forecast to remain flat, 0%. If that’s the best, that’s scary. Syracuse, New York is number two, also projected at 0%. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, number three, is projected at a loss of 0.3%. Buffalo, New York, is projected at a loss of 1%. And rounding out the top five is El Paso, Texas, also at a 1% loss.

It’s really telling that the best of the best are at zero growth or a 1% loss. The results are attributed to more fiscal responsibility and realistic values given to homes than anything else, but obviously all of this indicates that, if anyone had any money, it’s a buyer’s market right now.

But just who’s going to be buying a house any time soon, other than a few millionaires? I wrote before that new mortgage rates aren’t helping all that many people refinance, and the same seems to be applying to potential new homeowners. Lenders are scared, as they probably should be, to take many chances on people who’s credit seems more suspect in today’s market, even though probably two years ago those same people would have been considered great credit risks. And, oddly enough, ha anyone been hearing the term “HUD” homes lately? I haven’t, and I wonder if people are still able to get housing help through them, when the federal government is giving money to everyone else.

This is another area where fallout is going to have to take some time to hit bottom before it can recover. Let’s see, that’s housing, jobs, retail, banks, lenders, credit cards,… call me when it’s over.