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Originally published January 28, 2014 at 7:34 AM | Page modified January 29, 2014 at 6:44 AM

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Seattle home prices slip during November

Home prices in the Seattle metro area dipped 0.1 percent in November from October, the second monthly decline in a row, in line with a nationwide cooling in home-price appreciation, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Home prices in the Seattle metro area dipped for the second month in a row in November, in line with a nationwide cooling in home-price appreciation, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

The average price of existing single-family homes sold in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties was down 0.1 percent over October, a month in which the average price fell 0.3 percent over September.

November’s home prices were up 12.4 percent over the year, the ninth consecutive month of such double-digit appreciation.

Nationally, the 20-city composite index was down 0.1 percent over the month, the first decrease since November 2012. Monthly price gains have been weakening since last April, but November’s year-over-year gain of 13.7 percent was the highest since February 2006, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data.

Housing experts caution that the pace isn’t sustainable.

“Case-Shiller data is again showing eye-popping home-value appreciation overall, but individual markets are showing signs of slowing down, which is helping to set up a mixed bag this year for buyers and sellers,” Stan Humphries, chief economist at Seattle-based Zillow, the online real-estate marketplace, said in a statement.

Eleven metro areas saw prices fall or stay flat in November over the month. Nine metros’ home prices rose.

Over the year, every metro area in the index experienced price appreciation, led by Las Vegas, which saw a 27.3 percent gain.

San Francisco was second, with 23.2 percent annual appreciation.

Cleveland and New York had the weakest annual gains, at 6 percent.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement that it was the index’s best November performance since 2005.

“Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter,” he said.

Still, the 20-city composite index in November was 20 percent below its peak in July 2006. Seattle metro prices are 17 percent off their July 2007 peak.

Sales of homes bought in foreclosure have driven much of the double-digit price gains in the S&P/Case-Shiller index, according to Humphries.

Indeed, Case-Shiller’s data show the lowest tier of the market saw the biggest jumps in prices. In the Seattle metro area, prices in that tier were up 21 percent over the year in November, the fifth consecutive month of appreciation over 20 percent. Meanwhile, the highest tier’s price gain was 10 percent.

“Buyers can expect more inventory and less investor competition, while sellers used to seeing huge price gains month after month may feel some whiplash as that slows down,” Humphries said. “The housing market is still a long way from normal, but it’s getting there.”

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or On Twitter @sbhatt

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