There was no shortage of home buyers in the Twin Cities last month, but sellers were scarce.
During March, buyers signed 5,861 purchase agreements, a 12.6 percent increase compared with last year, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.
And while there were 7,922 new listings — a negligible 0.5 percent increase — there were only 11,893 properties for sale at the end of the month, a 20.6 percent decline from March 2015.
“The small gain in seller activity was nice, but it falls well short of the supply levels needed to sustain the demand we’re seeing,” said Judy Shields, Minneapolis Area Association of Realtor (MAAR) president, in a statement. “That should be motivating for sellers, but it’s still important to understand that your home needs to be priced right.”
With housing listings in short supply and many would-be buyers frustrated at the lack of options, closings during the month were down 2.8 percent.
The median price of those sales was $222,000, a 5.7 percent increase from last year at this time.
By every measure, it continues to be a seller’s market.
Houses are selling in, on average, 85 days — a 17.5 percent decline. At the current sale pace all the properties on the market would last just 2.5 months, a 28.6 percent decline and the third lowest on record. And sellers are getting nearly their full list price, the percent of original list price received was 96.7 percent.
“Serious buyers should be prepared to make their strongest offer right up front this spring,” said Cotty Lowry, MAAR’s president-elect. “Traffic at open houses is as strong as I can recall, which makes additional options on the supply side of the equation that much more critical.”
The housing recovery has largely run parallel to the economic recovery.
The Twin Cities is among the top eight metros with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
And thanks to a certain level of economic uncertainty on Wall Street, home buyers are getting a spring bonus.
On Thursday, Freddie Mac said that mortgage interest rates dipped to new 2016 lows and the lowest rates since May 2013.
For the week ending April 14 the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.58 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when they averaged 3.59 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.67 percent.