The Bright Inner Ring Eclipses the Rest

While many–though not all–cities around the metro have seen all-time high median sales prices, the first and second-ring suburbs near Minneapolis and major job centers stand out. Check out the median home price for these Minneapolis suburbs.

But when we account for the fact that bigger homes are selling (both from new construction and finishing the attics and basements of existing homes), we find that the price paid per foot of house has not reached new highs since the bubble. That means the price of a comparable or identical property may not really be at all-time highs. Record prices partially reflect the fact that bigger homes are selling.

Here is the same comparison for other Twin Cities suburbs a bit farther out.

Pricing strong, but shortage continues to hold back market activity

While June 2017 marked an all-time home sales record for the Twin Cities, closed sales retreated slightly in July compared to 2016. A slow-down in sellers listing their homes was a contributing factor, as was low inventory. New listings decreased 3.9 percent from last year to 7,227, and the number of homes for sale decreased 18.3 percent to 12,407. That was the largest inventory decline in five months. Pending sales declined 1.2 percent to 5,661, and closed sales were down 2.6 percent to 6,020. Factoring out foreclosures and short sales, traditional pending sales increased 0.7 percent to 5,484.

Weak supply and robust demand tend to encourage rising prices. The median sales price rose 5.9 percent from last year to $254,000—a new monthly record for July. Home prices have now risen for the last 65 consecutive months. At 44 days on average, homes went under contract 18.5 percent faster than last July. Despite there being fewer of them, sellers who have listed their homes recently are receiving strong offers in less time. The average percent of original list price received at sale was 99.2 percent, 0.8 percent higher than July 2016. The metro area has just 2.5 months of housing supply. Generally, five to six months of supply is considered a balanced market where neither buyers nor sellers have a clear advantage.

“The market is always adjusting to changing conditions,” said Cotty Lowry, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) President, “Although we saw a nice gain in new construction listings in July, that segment is typically a few years behind and is a drop in the bucket compared to the existing resale market where sellers have felt stuck with nowhere to go.”

Not only is the move-up market less competitive than the entry-level price points, but move-up sellers are getting strong offers on their homes in record time. Because of the fast pace of the market and lack of inventory, it’s extremely rare for sellers to carry two mortgages for more than a month.

A thriving and diverse local economy has been conducive to housing recovery, as job growth is key to new household formations. The most recent national unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, though it’s 3.5 percent locally. The Minneapolis–St. Paul region has a resilient economy with a global reach, a talented workforce, top notch schools, exposure to the growing technology and healthcare fields, and a quality of life that’s enabled one of the highest homeownership rates in the country.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has declined from 4.3 percent to 3.9 percent recently, still well below its long-term average of around 8.0 percent. Excluding any surprising data or events, the Federal Reserve is likely to increase their target federal funds rate at least once more this year. Additional inventory is needed in order to offset declining affordability brought on by higher prices and interest rates.

“The fact that buyers are hardly phased by the lack of inventory speaks to the appeal of homeownership and of our region,” said Kath Hammerseng, MAAR President-Elect. “The current environment calls for additional patience, persistence and compromise, but Minnesotans are known for those traits.”

All information is according to the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) based on data from NorthstarMLS. MAAR is the leading regional advocate and provider of information services and research on the real estate industry for brokers, real estate professionals and the public. MAAR serves the Twin Cities 13-county metro area and western Wisconsin.

Seasonal Adjustments

Given the fact that the school year is about a month away (yikes) and we’ve already had our first preview of fall weather, it feels like a good time to talk about seasonality. First of all, whatever you do, don’t use the term “seasonably adjusted.” Second of all, don’t make matters worse by talking about the “seasonably adjusted medium sales price.” That’s not a thing.

All kidding aside, both agents and the public have a vested interested in knowing how and when listings, inventory levels, purchase agreements and closed sales ebb and flow throughout the year. Ever been asked the question or wondered “when do the most new listings come on the market?” Or “when do buyers write the most offers?” Or how about “what month tends to have the greatest number of homes for sale?”

These are legitimate and important questions that can inform a variety of market-related strategies. Technically, April sees the highest volume of new listings, but buyers have the greatest number of choices in July. Signed purchase agreements peak in June along with closed sales. The shape of the seasonal curves can also be revealing. Seller activity tends to ramp up quickly in March and April and then quiet down rapidly starting in October. New listings are front-loaded in the first half of the year. Buyer activity, particularly pending sales, tends to follow more of a “normal” or even distribution throughout the year.

RealGivers Making a Real Difference at Annual Fundraiser

Last week’s RealGiver event raised over $10,000 for the MAAR Foundation, thanks to you, our charitable MAAR members! Highlights of the event included: Impactful stories from Foundation grant recipients, a surprise waterslide fundraising challenge by President Cotty Lowry and music by Past President Emily Green and her jazz ensemble.

Recipients of Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) and The Link shared emotional stories of how the MAAR Foundation grants have positively impacted their lives.

The event celebrated the accomplishments of the MAAR Foundation, created awareness of our impact in the community, and aimed to increase our capacity to help more individuals and families to secure housing.

View the photos commemorating this year’s RealGiver event.

A special thank you to our Foundation Committee: Dave Philp (chair), Shannon Brooks (event Co-chair), Barb Davis, Cari Linn, Michael Tierney, Shawna Frazier, Jeff Bandersky, Mindy Shears, and President-Elect Kath Hammerseng for Co-chairing and hosting the event at her home.

Thank you again for supporting the MAAR Foundation. The Foundation Committee is focusing on next year’s 30-year anniversary gala event. Stay tuned.


The MAAR Foundation envisions a society without homelessness. We believe everyone deserves a place to call home. #MAARrealgiver