US homeowners have lost about $5.9tr in value since the housing market’s peak in March 2006 as mounting foreclosures and the recession weighed on prices, according to

Almost half a trillion dollars was wiped out this year through November as housing headed for a third straight annual decline. New foreclosures and higher mortgage rates in 2010 may hinder a rebound, the property data service said today in a statement.

'A phenomenal amount of wealth has been erased since the housing bust,' Stan Humphries, chief economist for Seattle- based Zillow, said yesterday in an interview. 'For many households, most of their wealth is tied up in real estate.'