Twin Cities home sales up in July, prices down
- Blog Post by: Jim Buchta
- August 10, 2011 - 10:53 AM
In the weeks leading up to recent turmoil on Wall Street, summer home buying activity in the Twin Cities area showed modest signs of improvement. Pending sales were up 42.7 percent over July 2010's post-tax credit lull - a period during which sales plummeted after expiration of the tax credit in April 2010. It was the third consecutive month of double-digit annual gains, according to data released this morning by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. The association said that 2011 sales volumes is in line with historical seasonal levels.
With sellers skittish about suffering a loss or having to brave the tough market, new listing activity was down 16 percent compared with last year. That was the sixth annual decline in new listings during the past seven months. That means the total number of houses on the market was down almost 19 percent compared with July 2010.
Though demand has grown, sale prices are still down primarily because of a high percentage of distressed sales on the market. Those foreclosures and short sales represented almost 39 percent of all closed deals during the month. Across the 13-county metro area prices fell 8.6 percent compared to a year ago to a median of $160,000. It was the smallest annual decline in a half year. Prices were down from June when the median was $164,990, but up considerably from March when prices hit an almost three-year low of $140,000.
Despite the decline in prices, Brad Fisher, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and a sales manager for Edina Realty, was optimistic about the report. "We're already seeing diminishing seller concessions," he said. "Reflecting a combination of less competition among sellers and stronger housing demand."
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