Twin Cities Home Sales Resurge

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The Twin Cities appear to be no longer fumbling - at least if you put aside the bungled chance to send the Vikings to the Super Bowl. On the bright side, by year end 2009, the 13-county metro area had 52,167 total pending home sales, its highest number since 2005, according to recently released monthly data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

"2009 will go down in the history books as the year that the local housing market took large healing steps toward balance," crows the association.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul market also had its strongest year-over-year increase in sales since 1998. Pending sales spiked to 18.4 percent from 2008 and closed sales were up 16.7 percent to 45,185.

What's behind the surge? "Low mortgage rates, historic affordability, pent-up demand and the Federal First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, all worked in concert to encourage the buying resurgence," the association said in a press release accompanying the data.

The median sales price is down 3 percent to $162,000 year-over-year. A small blip that could mean the market is stabilizing.

The MAAR's recent weekly market report shows that activity is continuing on a similar pace for the new year. For the week ending January 16 the total inventory of homes available for sale was at 20,459, down from 18.9 percent.

"With an extreme shortage of inventory in some of the lower price ranges, new listings may be welcome in that segment for the first time in several years," the group reports. "In the upper price range, sales activity is still declining and new sellers face a tougher market."

Highlights for 2009 include:

Pending Sales: +18.4% from 2008

Closed Sales: +16.7% from 2008

Sale Price as Percent of List Price: 93.4% in 2009 vs. 90.0% in 2008

Supply-Demand Ratio (Homes Per Buyer): 6.7 in 2009 vs. 8.43 in 2008

Months Supply of Inventory: 5 months in 2009 vs. 7.6 months in 2008
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