About a third of all home sales nationwide - half in the Twin Cities - during April were foreclosures, causing what analysts call a "double dip" in housing prices. Prices during April fell  0.7 percent below prior lows experienced in March 2009, according to Clear Capital (www.clearcapital.com), which puts out a monthly Home Data Index Market Report.

The highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective):

• Across the country home prices 5 percent during April, in the Twin Cities prices fell 6.8 percent.
• Nationwide home prices fell 11.5 percent over the previous nine-month period, a rate of decline not experienced since 2008.
• All major metro areas tracked showed quarter-over-quarter price declines.
• Nationwide the REO (real-estate owned, or those owned by banks) saturation rate hit 35 percent of all sales, but in the Twin Cities half of all sales were foreclosures, putting the region on par with the two worst cities: Detroit (56 percent) and Fresno (55 percent).
• Quarter to quarter the Midwest performed worse than the nation as a whole, though it's the only region yet to double-dip largely because of big gains in home sales made during the home buyer's tax credit market. Quarter-to-quarter prices in the Midwest fell almost 9 percent, while annual prices during April fell 6.3 percent. Those declines happened primarily because of a 4.3 percent increase in percent in REO saturation, which now stands at nearly 40 percent - just 6.8 percent below the peak REO saturation reached during the first quarter of 2009.

Also today, CoreLogic said that foreclosure rates in the Twin Cities during February were slightly higher than they were last year at this time, rising about .4 percent to 2.27 percent of all outstanding mortgages. Nationwide, the foreclosure rate was 3.61 percent, a 1.34 percentage point difference. That increase helps explain why foreclosures continue to exert so much downward pressure on prices, but some relief might be on the way: The delinquency rate in the Twin Cities fell from 6.15 percent during February 2010 to 5.57 the same month this year. A decline in the number of delinquencies bodes well for the market because while not every mortgage that is delinquent ends up in foreclosure, it suggests that the overall number of foreclosures is likely to fall.




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