MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anyone who owns a home has seen the dizzying drop in market value.

But now, there’s some very good news about Twin Cities housing prices.

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New figures show prices in the Twin Cities increased for the sixth straight month.

Home prices were up 8 percent over September last year, and that was the second best increase in the country.

Right now, homes are selling the quickest in the urban areas, such as Minneapolis and St Paul.

And the hottest areas of all are within walking distance of coffee shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

In Minneapolis, realtor Rob Gintner just put a house on North Thomas Avenue on the market for $179,000.

And if his recent sales are any indication, it should move quickly.

“It’s my best year in 11 years in the business,” Gintner said.

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as first-ring suburbs, are leading the surge.

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Buyers want amenities close by, as well as shorter commutes. It’s a trend influenced by higher gas prices and the recession-inspired lure of smaller homes.

The glut of foreclosures is also easing, forcing up prices at all levels. Experts say the fact that luxury homes are moving so quickly is an encouraging sign for the whole market.

When Drew Hack bid on a million-dollar dream home by Lake of the Isles last month, he was shocked to find the seller had two more offers the very same day.

“It surprised and frightened me all at the same,” he said. “I was a little concerned what the outcome might be.”

He and his wife ended up getting the home.

Now, he has reduced the price on his old home on Irving, just blocks from Lake Calhoun, by $26,000 to $649,000. He’s hoping it will sell quickly.

“We are getting a lot of traffic, but no offers as of right now,” Hack said.

The fact that home sales are up for the sixth month in a row is good news, but it’s also a sign of just how far we had fallen.

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In the middle of last year, most Twin Cities homes had lost 1/3 of their value from the height of the market in 2006.

Esme Murphy