Falling home prices brought buyers into the market, but kept sellers out, according to October sales figures released this morning by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Though the number of closed sales was up 32.1 percent last month, the median sale price of those deals was down 9.4 percent. The number of new listings fell 16.3 percent to the lowest level since 2004.
“It’s something of a fallacy to call this a buyer’s market,” said Brad Fisher, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.“Good quality homes that are priced right are in short supply. Buyer demand exists, but we need more sellers in the game.”
The data suggests that would-be sellers are try to wait out the market either because they don’t want to sell for less than they think their house is worth, or they can’t sell because they owe more than they could sell it for in today’s market. Most of the downward pressure on prices continues to come from fire-sale prices on foreclosures and short sales, which represented about a third of all sales.
Although demand for housing has been strong, there’s going to be downward pressure on prices for some time to come.Data released Thursday by RealtyTrac says that after several months of declines in foreclosure activity, lenders are now stepping up foreclosure proceedings. Nationwide foreclosure filings last month increased 7 percent from September but were down 31 percent from October 2010. Minnesota, which had the 18th-highest number of foreclosure filings nationwide, saw a 15 percent increase from September and about the same number of filings as last year. That was one foreclosure filing for every 763 housing units compared with one in every 563 housing units nationwide.