Heavy Buyer Activity Continues in October

By Greg Sax on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Low mortgage rates, affordable supply and the home buyer tax credit kept home sales moving in October.

Pending-sales_2009-10 There were 4,676 signed purchase agreements during the month, up 34.4 percent from a year ago—the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in pending sales. The recent extension and expansion of the home-buyer tax credit should mean continued buyer movement into early 2010.

Traditional pending sales (excluding foreclosures and short sales) were up 55.0 percent from last October, a sure sign that demand is beginning to spill over into that segment.

The October median sales price of $169,000 is a slight dip from the prior month, but the dip is much less extreme than typical entering the fourth quarter. Compared to last October, it's a 6.1 percent decline—the lowest year-over-year decline in 24 months.

The median sales price of traditional homes in October was $193,500, down 13.2 percent from a year ago. Lender-mediated homes posted a October figure of $129,000, down 4.4 percent from a year ago.

Foreclosures are still selling much more frequently than short sales, bringing the months supply of foreclosures to 1.4, while short sales still have 13.2 months of supply. More information on these market segments is available with the October 2009 Update to Foreclosures and Short Sales in the Twin Cities.

Good news for sellers: Homes are selling quicker and sellers are receiving closer to their original asking price than they were a year ago. But the experience varies by price point. For example, activity in the upper-bracket price ranges is still pretty slow.

The lower and middle price brackets will probably see a lot of movement over the next nine months," said MAAR President-Elect, Brad Fisher. "If you're a buyer in those ranges, action is your best weapon."

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