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Home prices decline in November

January 25, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The latest read on home prices, released Tuesday morning, shows fresh declines in the vast majority of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. According to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 metropolitan areas, prices of previously owned single-family homes fell 1.6% in November from the same time last year. The closely watched index fell 1% from October to November.

"With these numbers, more analysts will be calling for a double dip in home prices," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's.

The coastal cities of California and the nation's capital were the only apparent bright spots in October's report. In November, only four metro areas -- Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. -- showed year-over-year gains. Every city declined from October to November besides San Diego, which eked out a 0.1% gain.

Other recent home-price measures show the Golden State's real estate market eroding. The Case-Shiller index, created by economists Karl E. Case and Robert J. Shiller, is widely considered the most reliable read on home prices.

The index compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales and accounts for factors such as remodeling that might affect a house's sale price over time.

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the index painted a similar picture, falling slightly less, down 0.5%. Standard & Poor's has warned that such an adjustment lately has distorted the index because of the huge glut of foreclosures.

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