Dropping Local Home Prices Outpace U.S. Again

For the second month in a row, Twin Cities home prices declined faster than those from throughout the rest of the country.

National home prices in February continued to decline-and the Twin Cities once again saw the biggest drop of all metro areas from the previous month's prices, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller survey released on Tuesday.

The drop in local home prices outpaced the rest of the country in January, too.

February home prices for the 20 metro areas measured for the index slid 1.1 percent from January and 3.3 percent from February 2010. In the Twin Cities, prices fell 3.1 percent from January-and 8.3 percent from a year ago.

The index, which lags two months, uses a base value of 100 from January 2000 to measure home-appreciation value since that time. The Twin Cities index in February was 109.93-meaning that area home prices have appreciated about 10 percent since January 2000. A composite of the 20 cities measured by the study had an index of 139.27 for February.

“There is very little, if any, good news about housing,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Index Committee, said in a statement. “Prices continue to weaken. Trends in sales and construction are disappointing.”

Many of the 20 metro areas studied for the index hit new lows in January. And Blitzer said that 10 of the 11 metro areas that recorded index lows in January fell even further in February. The 20-city composite is “within a hair's breadth of a double dip,” he added.

The home price indices are released monthly and are designed to track the prices of typical single-family homes located in 20 major metropolitan areas throughout the country.