July Twin Cities Real Estate Report

Pending home sales in the Twin Cities area rose for the 13th consecutive month in July. Signed purchase agreements on homes in the Twin Cities metropolitan area increased 16% from a year earlier, to 5,174, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Closed sales rose nearly 26% from a year ago, to 5,235.

Housing prices are continuing to fall, however. The area's median sale price fell to $171,000 in July, down 18% from 2008 and down 27% from 2007. That's even down from June's median price of $173,500. Until July, prices had been increasing since hitting a bottom of $150,000 in February.

Deeply discounted foreclosed homes drag down sale priceshe price decline on the high number of foreclosed homes on the market. About 44% of July pending home sales were of lender-mediated foreclosures and short sales.

Excluding sales mediated by a lender, the median price for traditional home sales was $213,150, 6% less than a year ago. Naturally, traditional home-sale prices have been dragged down by the lower prices of nearby foreclosed homes and buyer expectation.

Once the foreclosed homes are culled from the market, median home sale price will increase and the market will stabilize, but predicting when that will be is difficult given the higher-than-usual employment rate in Minnesota.

It isn't just the Minneapolis - Saint Paul - Twin Cities real estate area that is being effected. The National Association of Realtors says the median sales price in the second quarter was $174,100, up 4% from the first quarter, but still almost 16% below a year ago. That's pretty similar to our July statistics. Prices were still down from a year ago in 129 out of 155 metropolitan areas the group tracks.

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