[Source: Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg] — Phoenix, the desert city that three years ago led the U.S. in home price growth, had the nation’s worst housing market during October as sales of foreclosed properties depressed prices. The cost of a single-family home plunged 33% from a year earlier, according to an S&P/Case Shiller index. The decline was worse than Las Vegas, where prices fell 32%, and San Francisco, where they dropped 31%. U.S. house prices fell 18% in October, a record in eight years of data.
Arizona had 11,000 notices in October of so-called trustee sales, or foreclosure auctions, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a real estate data firm in Irvine, California. Foreclosure sales reduce the value of similar properties in the same area as sellers who aren’t in distress are forced to drop their prices to compete. “This was a case of the higher they climb, the faster and harder they fell,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P. Phoenix home prices at their 2006 peak had almost tripled within nine years, he said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]