Seattle's annual home-price decline now exceeds that of many other major cities — including New York, Chicago, Portland, Boston, Dallas, Denver and even hard-pressed Detroit — putting to rest the idea that Seattle might have been immune to the national slump.
The Seattle area’s annual home-price decline exceeded that of many other major metropolitan areas — including New York, Chicago, Portland, Boston, Dallas, Denver and even hard-pressed Detroit — which should put to rest the idea that Seattle was somehow immune to the national slump.
For the year that ended in August, home prices in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area fell 8.4. percent, according to a single-family house price index complied by First American CoreLogic, a California real-estate data firm.
Still, that was better than the national average decline, 11.3 percent, which was steered by price dips of 25 percent or more in Northern and Southern California, Miami and Las Vegas.
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August was the third straight month that the average nationwide price fell year over year.
Mark Fleming, First American CoreLogic’s chief economist, cautioned against reading too much into that stability.
Foreclosure filings are likely to increase because of the significant loss of jobs the government reported this month, Fleming said. More homes in foreclosure would depress the average price.
“No news currently points to an expectation for an improvement in price levels in the near term,” Fleming said.
Seattle’s falling prices are a result of the national economic downturn finally catching up with it, said Mark Carrington, First American CoreLogic’s director of analytical sales and support.
Seattle “didn’t necessarily get hit by the ‘housing bubble,’ which on top of the economic downturn is affecting California and Florida,” Carrington said. “Seattle is getting affected late in the game. It’s more of a final push.”
The Detroit area showed a 5.8 percent annual price decline, sending its prices back to 2001 levels.
Hard hit by job loss, the Detroit area’s numbers aren’t worse because “it’s had time to deal with its economic downturn much longer than other areas of the nation,” Carrington said.
After peaking in July 2007, the Seattle area’s average price is equivalent to June 2006, Carrington said.
The average price in the Los Angeles area showed the greatest annual decline for a metro area: 28.6 percent. Prices there peaked in June 2006 and have returned to their April 2004 level.
Of the 34 metro areas in the survey, six saw an annual home-price increase: Salt Lake City; Raleigh, N.C.; and four cities in Texas.
Home prices in much of the Lone Star state have been insulated by its strong oil-industry-fueled economy, Carrington said.
First American CoreLogic’s house-price index is similar to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices.
Both are based on repeat sales of the same properties. The major difference is in the size of First American’s database. Covering more 50 million transactions, it’s significantly bigger than Case Shiller’s, Carrington said.
Elizabeth Rhodes: 206-464-2306