National, Local Home Prices Tumble in Dec.

Only one of 20 major metropolitan areas studied-Washington, D.C.-saw an increase in home prices in December; prices fell 1.3 percent in the Twin Cities.

For the second consecutive month, nearly all of the nation's 20 major metropolitan areas saw home prices fall in December, including the Twin Cities, according to the Standard & Poor's-Case/Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday.

Home prices in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area declined 1.3 percent from November to December, not as drastic as the 2.2 percent decrease from October to November. Metro-area home prices in December were down 5.3 percent from December 2009.

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' December index was 119.09-which means that area home prices have appreciated 19.09 percent since January 2000.

Nationally, home prices for the 20 metro areas measured fell 1 percent from November, the same decrease that was posted the prior month. National prices are down 4.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009, which represents the lowest annual growth rate since the third quarter of 2009, when prices were falling at an 8.6 percent annual rate.

“We ended 2010 with a weak report,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said in a statement. “Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker.”

Standard & Poor's is a global provider of financial market intelligence, including independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research, and data.

The home price indices are released monthly and constructed to track the prices of typical single-family homes located in 20 major metropolitan areas throughout the country. The indices are produced by Fiserv, Inc., and do not include actual selling prices.