The risk of price declines over the next two years has risen in 48 of the nation's 50 largest housing markets, but the rate of appreciation has slowed in 21 of the markets, according to PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., Walnut Creek, Calif.The average score in the PMI U.S. Market Risk Index rose from 261 to 287, the company reported. This means the company's estimate of the probability of experiencing a home price decline in the next two years has risen from 26.1% to 28.7% in the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas. According to the index, there are now 14 markets with a greater than 50% chance of price declines over two years, up from 11 in the fourth quarter. PMI also reported the results of a study of the value of homeownership from 1986 through 2005. "What we found was that across the nation's 50 largest MSAs, owning a home for 10 years or more resulted in a positive return in 100% of the cases," said Mark Milner, chief risk officer of PMI Mortgage Insurance. "This dropped to 95% with a seven-year ownership term and to 92% with a five-year ownership term -- still a pretty impressive rate." PMI can be found online at http://www.pmigroup.com.

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