November Home Prices Continue to Cool

(S&P/Case-Shiller November home prices report updated with commentary.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Home prices across the U.S. fell 1.6% in November after declining in October, a slightly larger than expected decline.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index of national home prices fell in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, ticking down 1.6% after declining 0.8% in October . The 10-city composite showed a 0.4% decline.

Economists had been expecting the index to fall 1.5%, according to consensus estimates listed on Briefing.com.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index is a moving three-month average, so data for November was swayed by data from October and September.

Home prices fell in 19 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) month-over-month. Just four MSAs -- Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington -- showed year-over-year gains, while eight markets -- Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa -- fell to their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007.

As of November 2010, Las Vegas is down 57.2% from its peak in August 2006. Phoenix is 53.9% down from its peak on June 2006 and Miami is 48.8% down from its peak on December 2006.

"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, who defines a double-dip as setting new post-peak lows.

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