Hat tip to Mr. T for sending this in from marketwatch.com:

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Home prices in a majority of the markets covered in Zillow’s Home Value Forecast are set to bottom this year — if they haven’t already, according to a Zillow report released on Wednesday.

“From an economic perspective, the latter part of the first quarter is full of positive news as the spring selling season gets underway,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, in a news release. “While it is unlikely that national home values continue to rise at this rate through the rest of the spring and summer, it is undeniable that we are seeing sparks of life in the housing market.”

Nineteen out of 30 markets in Zillow’s monthly report are expected to hit a bottom, in terms of home prices, at some point in 2012, according to the real-estate website.

The Phoenix, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa areas are expected to see significant home-value increases over the next year, with prices in Phoenix expected to rise 6.5%, prices in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale expected to rise by 5.6% and prices in Tampa expected to rise 2.5%, the release said.

Markets where prices are expected to keep dropping include Atlanta, where prices are expected to fall 4.1% over the year and Chicago, where values are forecast to decline 3.8%.

Overall, U.S. home values rose 0.5% in March, compared with February, according to the report. That’s the largest monthly increase since May 2006, according to Zillow.

The report was released a day after the latest Case-Shiller report, which found that average home prices were at their lowest level in February since late 2002. Read more: U.S. home prices fall to nearly decade low.

Below are the 19 metropolitan areas where Zillow expects prices will hit a bottom in 2012:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Boston
  • Riverside, Calif.
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • St. Louis
  • Baltimore
  • Denver
  • Pittsburgh
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Las Vegas
  • San Jose
  • Virginia Beach, Va.

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