A shortage of house listings is good news for Twin Cities home builders. With house listings at the lowest in more than a decade, a growing number of frustrated house hunters are visiting their local home builder. The Builders Association of the Twin Cities said today that the number of new single-family houses planned for the Twin Cities was up nearly 27 percent in the Twin Cities metro. And because two new apartment buildings in downtown Minneapolis were permitted during the month, the number of planned units to be built in the metro increased more than 100 percent. Here's a link to the data, and watch for a complete story in the Tuesday paper.
Freddie Mac said today that average fixed mortgage rates declined for the fourth consecutive week with the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at a new all-time record low of 2.61 percent. The 5-year adjustable rate average also fell to a new low of 2.58 percent. Here's the latest from Freddie Mac (Remember, these are national averages for the week ending April 25, 2013):
The housing shortage is growing in most regions of greater Minnesota, putting upward pressure on prices. That's according to the latest report from the Minnesota Association of Realtors (MAR), which said there were 2,245 fewer new listings statewide compared with last year, causing the inventory of for-sale properties to fall to the lowest level since 2005. With few options, many buyers are having trouble finding a property, so closings fell 1.8 percent during the month. Still, the median price of those sales rose 14.8 percent to $155,000.
"There are many buyers out in the marketplace waiting for more properties to consider," said Jim Cormier of Building Sites Inc. and MAR's president.
That statewide data mirrors one released earlier this month for the Twin Cities metro area, which also saw dramatic declines in new listings, a slight decline in closings and a double-digit increase in the median price of those deals.
The report shows that while the market statewide is improving, the recovery is happening unevenly throughout the state. Sales are still struggling in parts of the state where the local economy has yet to improve, making it tough to find jobs. And regions that rely heavily on second homes and recreational properties are also seeing a less robust recovery because the unseasonably chilly weather has made it difficult - or unappealing - for shoppers.
In a sign of changing fortunes for the housing market, the Heritage Park housing development in north Minneapolis is back on track after a four-year hiatus.The 145-acre project is an ambitious 900-unit redevelopment of several public housing projects on the north edge of downtown Minneapolis into for-sale and rental housing. The $225 million project began in 2000 and was financed with massive amounts of local and federal grants.
Thor Construction, the developer of the for-sale component of the project, announced Friday that after a "standstill due to an economic downturn in the housing market," that townhouse sales would once again begin.
There will be a kick-off celebration at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 10 at the corner of 10th Avenue and Aldrich Avenue North. Here's a link to a Minneapolis website with project details and history.
For the third week in a row, mortgage interest rates across the country slipped to near-record lows, according to several weekly measures. Here are the national averages from Freddie Mac for the week ending April 18:
Housing starts across the country exceeded expectations during March, topping 1 million for the first time since mid-2008, according to a monthly from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Those starts, which get counted when a builder starts digging, were driven by apartment construction.
Multi-family units were up 30 percent compared with the previous month while single-family starts were down almost five percent, suggesting that rising construction costs and constraints on lot inventories have been a drag on builders.
Here's a link to the full report from the Commerce Department.