Mpls. Leads U.S. in Plummeting Home Prices

In March, 19 of 20 major metro areas experienced falling year-over-year home prices-led by Minneapolis, which was the only city to post a double-digit decline.

Home prices throughout the United States continued their downward spiral in March, according to a Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller survey released on Tuesday.

Nineteen of the 20 cities included in the report saw year-over-year declines in home prices-led by Minneapolis, which experienced the steepest price drop. Local home prices were down 10 percent from March 2010, making Minneapolis the first city to post a double-digit annual decline since last March.

Dropping local home prices also outpaced the rest of the nation in January and February.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price 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 March was 105.57, meaning that area home prices have appreciated less than 6 percent since January 2000.

The average index among the 20 metro areas included in the report fell to 138.16, down 3.6 percent from March 2010. Washington, D.C., was the only city with a year-over-year gain in prices in March, climbing 4.3 percent.

Between February and March, the 20 cities' average fell 0.8 percent. Minneapolis, meanwhile, experienced a 3.7 percent drop in prices between the two months-again, the largest decline among the cities measured.

“This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double dip in home prices across much of the nation,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of Standard & Poor's Index Committee, said in a statement, adding that home prices continue to plummet “with no relief in sight.”

In fact, home prices in 12 cities fell to their lowest levels since the beginning of the recession: Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; Las Vegas; Miami; Minneapolis; New York; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; and Tampa, Florida.

Blitzer said that the modest rebound experienced in 2009 and 2010 can be attributed primarily to the federal first-time homebuyers tax credit. “Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession.”