The Seattle metropolitan area posted one of the steeper home-price declines in the country in December, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index.
The Seattle metropolitan area posted one of the steeper home-price declines in the country in December, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index.
Prices were down 1.3 percent from November and 5.6 percent from December 2010, hitting another post-boom low.
Of 20 metropolitan areas tracked by Case-Shiller, only three — Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit — saw steeper month-over-month drops, while just three — Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas — had more precipitous year-over-year falls.
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The Seattle metro area includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. December data, the most recent available, were released Tuesday.
The composite 20-city index was down 1.1 percent from November and 4 percent from December 2010. It, too, reached its lowest point since home prices peaked nationally in 2006. Prices fell in 18 of the 20 cities month-over-month, and only Detroit saw a year-over-year gain.
“The pickup in the economy has simply not been strong enough to keep home prices stabilized. If anything it looks like we might have re-entered a period of decline as we begin 2012,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee of S&P Indices.
The Case-Shiller index measures prices compared with those in January 2000, with home prices then given a value of 100. The Seattle area’s index score for December was 130.99, meaning prices here still are nearly 31 percent higher than at the start of the century.
But they are down nearly 32 percent from the July 2007 peak of 192.30.
Home prices in the Seattle area, and nationally, climbed during the first part of 2011, then started dropping again. Seattle’s month-over-month decline was its fifth straight.
The biggest reason why prices are still falling is foreclosures, which are still high across the country. Foreclosures and short sales — when a lender accepts less for a home than what is owed on a mortgage — are selling at an average discount of 20 percent.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.