Home prices in Philadelphia continued to decline in the first quarter, but at a slower pace than in any three-month period since 2007, according to an analysis by Econsult Inc.

Econsult vice president Kevin Gillen said data from the city's Recorder of Deeds Office show prices dropped 1.3 percent between January and March on a seasonally adjusted basis, after falling 9 percent in the quarters since the federal home buyers' tax credit expired April 30.

With this most recent decrease, the average Philadelphia house has fallen in value by 16 percent since the national housing bubble burst several years ago, Gillen said. Home values are back to levels seen in 2005, he added.

Sales volume remained dismal in the first quarter, the data showed, with 2,503 homes in the city changing hands, down 12 percent from first-quarter 2010.

The numbers include new and previously owned homes, but not condominiums.

"This was not only the lowest level of home sales of any first quarter, but it was the lowest level of quarterly home sales since the data began being tracked in 1995," Gillen said.

Even with this relative drop, Gillen said, Philadelphia remains better off than most other large U.S. cities in terms of home-price declines.

In the eight-county region as a whole, including Philadelphia, median prices of previously owned homes alone fell 2.5 percent year over year, according to first-quarter data from Prudential Fox & Roach's HomExpert Market Report.

Sales fell 10.8 percent from the first quarter of 2010, the HomExpert report said.

Steve Storti, senior vice president of marketing at Prudential Fox & Roach, echoed Gillen's observation about the effects of the tax credit on sales.

"Conditions are right for the market to rebound," Storti said.