National and Twin Cities Real Estate Reports for October & November 2009

In Septemebr, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit led 20 U.S. metro areas for home price improvements, both with 1.8% increases, according to the Case-Shiller home price index compiled by Standard & Poor.

In October, home sales nationwide climbed to their highest level since July 2007 as first-time home buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit. In the Twin Cities, pending home sales were up 34.4% from a year ago, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Now a new report from the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors shows that the median sale price for a home in the Twin Cities throughout November came in at $170,000, down less than 3% from the same month last year. There were 4,304 closed home sales in November, an increase of 67% compared with 2,577 sales during November 2008. The November numbers are yet another sign that the real estate market in the 13-county metro area may have stabilized. The median sale price has remained relatively steady during the past six months.

The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors shows the total number of homes listed for sale dropped to 21,959 in November, down from previous months and about 20% less than a year ago. That's about a six-month supply of inventory for sale. A five month supply is generally considered a balanced market. We're getting closer!

In a separate report, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors indicated that the median sale price for homes being sold out of foreclosure or through short sales was $127,500 in November. That is a 2% increase from the same month last year. The flood of low-price foreclosed homes on the housing market has sunk median sale prices for over a year. The median sale price for all other homes was $190,000, down 15.6% from last year.

What's more, we mentioned earlier that Twin Cities building permits and units were both up in November 2009 compared to last year. All in all, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area real estate market is pretty active right now.

The nation's housing recovery, and our own, is being driven by lower prices in combination with federal programs to lower mortgage rates, bringing more buyers into the market. Additionally, state and local programs have been popping up to help people get into or stay in homes. This year's sales were also aided by an $8,000 federal tax credit for first time home buyers.

Now that the snow is hit and the holidays are in full swing, new listings, showings and sales will like slow down for a bit. Spring and summer are typically the busiest times of the year for the housing market. However, record-low mortgage rates and the continutation and expansion of the federal tax credit for first time home buyers may just keep the market moving.

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