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Originally published January 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM | Page modified February 1, 2012 at 12:06 PM

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Home prices in Seattle area hit post-boom low in November

Seattle-area home prices in November were down 1.2 percent from October and 6.3 percent from November 2010, according to Case-Shiller. They are off 31 percent from their peak in July 2007.

Seattle Times business staff

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Seattle-area home prices hit a new post-boom low in November, according to one closely watched index, and are now 31 percent below their peak.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, fell to 132.65 in November, the most recent month for which information is available.

The index peaked at 192.30 in July 2007 and hit its previous low, 132.85, in February 2011 before a small rally last spring and early summer. But it has been falling again since August.

The last time prices were lower? June 2004.

Seattle-area prices still are about 32 percent higher than in January 2000, the baseline for the Case-Shiller index.

Atlanta, Las Vegas and Tampa also reached new post-bubble lows in November, according to Case-Shiller. Nineteen of 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the index saw home prices decline from October, and prices dropped year-over-year in 18 of the 20.

Detroit and Washington, D.C., were the only exceptions.

"The trend is down, and there are few, if any, signs in the numbers that a turning point is close at hand," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

Seattle-area home prices were down 1.2 percent from October, slightly less than the 1.3 percent drop in the 20-city index.

But the Seattle area's year-over-year decline, 6.3 percent, was the third-worst among the 20 cities. Only Atlanta and Las Vegas saw steeper drops. Overall, the 20-city index was down 3.7 percent from November 2010.

"November was a bit of surprise to the downside," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, the Seattle online real-estate information company.

He said the strong monthly decline in the index could be attributed partly to sales of foreclosed homes, which represented a larger share of sales in November than October.

"But even adjusting for the impact of more foreclosures in the month, this latest price signal indicates a continued weak housing market that still hasn't yet reached bottom," Humphries said.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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