Twin Cities home prices rise in Feb.by Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Twin Cities home prices climbed into positive territory in February compared to the same month a year ago, climbing .4 percent, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.
Only five metro areas within the Case-Shiller 20-city index posted year-over-year gains in February. Meanwhile, the overall index fell 3.5 percent over the year and hit a new post-housing crisis low.
On a monthly basis, the Twin Cities performance was murkier. The seasonally adjusted numbers show an increase in home prices between January and February. But non-seasonally adjusted numbers show a 1 percent drop in prices over that same period.
The Minnesota numbers stand in contrast to U.S. figures. Across the country, sales of new homes fell in March by the largest amount in more than a year, indicating that the U.S. housing market remains under strain overall despite some modest signs of improvement.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that sales dropped 7.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000 units. That followed a 7.3 percent increase in sales in February. This figure was revised up from an initial estimate that February sales had fallen 1.6 percent.
The weakness in March could reflect that a warmer-than-normal winter caused sales that normally occur at the start of the spring sales season in March to occur in February instead.
The median sales price was $234,500 in March, down 1 percent from the February price.
Sales of new homes stand at just about half the roughly 700,000-a-year pace that analysts consider evidence of a healthy market.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes fell 2.6 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million units. For previously owned homes, economists consider a healthy annual sales rate to be roughly 6 million.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)