Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Kristen Leigh Painter.

July housing market offers mixed messages

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying Updated: August 17, 2011 - 4:45 PM

A new housing report on the Twin Cities housing market shows that despite a steep decline in prices, the overall health of the market increased slightly during July.

The University of St. Thomas’s Real Estate Index, which is based on nine market indicators, increased from 784 in June to 799 in July; the index was 847 in July 2010. While closed sales were up 34 percent compared with last year, the report showed that the median sale prices of all closed sales dropped three percent from June to July, from $165,000 to $160,000.Compared with 2010 prices were down 8.5 percent. Excluding foreclosures and short sales, prices were down only 1.5 percent from June to July and down 10.4 percent from July 2010 to 2011.

The index, which assigned a baseline value of 1,000 in January 2005, increased in large part because of improving fundamentals including a decline in the number of homes for sale and an increase in pending sales, according to Herb Tousley, the director of real estate programs at St. Thomas. The University developed the index in an attempt to provide more current information about the market than some of the national indices, including the Case-Shiller report, which won’t be available for the July numbers until September. July sales data used in this report was released earlier this month by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. The August numbers won't be released from the association until the second week of September.

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