Home prices in the Twin Cities area fell 3.8 percent in January compared with 2011, a slightly higher decline than the national average, according to CoreLogic, which uses public records to track home values across the country.

The group said annual prices nationwide were down for 3.1 percent, the 18th consecutive month in a row that prices have fallen. Excluding foreclosures and short sales, prices were down only .9 percent, a sign of just how much downward pressure those distressed sales are having on prices.

For the Twin Cities, prices excluding foreclosures and short sales were down 2.3 percent. The biggest declines happened in Illinois, where prices were down 8.7 percent, followed by Nevada, Delaware and Alabama. Who saw prices rise? South Dakota, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana and Michigan.

Also this week, Clear Capital released its home price index for February, which said that annual prices were down 1.9 percent across the country, with Minnesota landing among the best-performing markets in the country with an annual decline of 2.4 percent. That report shows that from quarter to quarter, prices in Minnesota have been relatively stable even though the saturation of bank-owned homes in the state is one of the highest in the nation. During the last quarter, distressed sales represented 42.2 percent of all sales compared with a national average of 25.8 percent. Though prices were down across the country, the declines have steadily gotten smaller, suggesting that prices are strengthening.

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