03/27/2012 04:13 pm ET

Detroit Housing Market Continues To Improve From Last Year: Up 1.7 Percent From January 2011

For the seventh straight month, Detroit home prices rose in year-over-year comparisons.

According to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Schiller home-price index, Detroit had the biggest increase in home prices over the year in January, up 1.7 percent from the same time last year. Of 20 major cities, only two others, Denver and Phoenix, showed year-over-year increases.

But like most cities, Detroit's home prices fell month-over-month, down 1.1 percent from December. The rate of decrease is slowing, however: Prices fell more than 3 percent November to December.

Nationwide, the housing market is still weak, but Stan Humphries, chief economist for housing website, told the Associated Press it will continue to improve.

"It's going to be tempting to look at home price declines and see a still-faltering housing recovery, but that's just not the case," he said. "The reality is that home prices and home sales will be moving higher."

Some have said the month-to-month drops are at least partly due to the lower sales typical of the off-season, rather than solely reflective of the state of the housing market.

According to the Detroit Free Press, despite gains over last year, Detroit home prices are still 31 percent lower than they were in 2000.