The latest home price index from Lender Processing Services (LPS) shows a slight 0.8% decline in home prices in October. Early data also suggest home price declines stabilized even more in November with a slight dip of 0.5% nationally.

The optimism should be taken with a note of caution. After surveying 13,500 different ZIP codes across the country, LPS found home prices rose in just 6% of the designated areas. The national average home sale price in October hit $200,000, which is a 2.7% drop from the start of 2011.

Phoenix was the best-performing metro area in terms of price growth during October. Other MSA’s with notable price increases include Miami, Detroit and Fort Lauderdale.

Areas with the steepest price declines were the Georgia cities of Columbus, Macon, Gainesville and Augusta, all with drops of at least 2.5%.

LPS reports that the value of America’s housing inventory fell 30.1% over the past five years, with the entire market now worth $7.5 trillion, compared to $10.6 trillion in June 2006.

Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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