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After long, cold winter, Twin Cities housing market begins to thaw


It was a bitterly cold winter in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. But as warmer weather approaches, the amount of homes for sale in the area is on the rise. In the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, March’s seller activity rose 5.5% to 6,492 newly listed homes.

Inventory levels are still near a 10-year low, but consumer should have more options to choose from this year than in years past, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

"There's a lot of excitement and positive energy out there, especially among sellers," said Emily Green, President of the MAAR. "Some would-be sellers have been lifted out from underwater by rising prices and less competition from foreclosures, while other move-up buyers are also eager to buy."

March’s pending sales were 8.4% lower, resulting from a shift to less foreclosure and short sale activity. Most indicators continue to suggest ongoing recovery and stabilization.

Buyers in the Twin Cities are now leaning toward traditional purchases first because they are making up a greater share of the marketplace. These properties tend to be in better condition. Many come with warranties and traditional sellers tend to be more cooperative than banks. New traditional listings rose 22.1% compared to March 2013, while foreclosure and short sale new listings fell 39.9% and 53.8%, respectively.

The median sales price for the metro rose 7.6% to $190,000, marking 25 straight months of year-over-year price gains.

On average, homes spent just 95 days on the market, 12% less than last March. Sellers are receiving an average of 95% of their original list price. The Twin Cities now has 3.1 months' supply of inventory, which MAAR says suggests a favorable selling environment.

Traditional properties are dominating the market again," said Mike Hoffman, MAAR president-elect. "As distressed product clears the pipeline, consumers are more likely to embark upon negotiations and transactions with people rather than banks."

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