Prices Increase as Sales Remain Strong

By Greg Sax on Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Home prices continue to show signs of strengthening in the Twin Cities housing market. The median sales price for the 13-county metro region in August was $175,000, down 12.5 percent from a year ago but up once again from July. From March 2009 through August 2009, the median sales price has grown from $154,125 to $175,000. Prices were flat during the same period last year.

Median-sales-price_2009-08 Prices are stablizing due to strong buyer demand—especially in the lower price ranges—buoyed by low mortgage rates and the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers. For the 14th consecutive month, there were more pending sales than there were the prior year. August saw 4,897 signed purchase agreements, up 11.0 percent from August 2008.

The growth in sales is no longer confined to lender-mediated homes as it had been earlier this year. Traditional home sales in August were up 4.2 percent from a year ago, and traditional home sales below $150,000 were up 40.8 percent. Homes in the upper price ranges are still experiencing slow conditions.

Good news for sellers: the percent of original list price received at sale continues to improve—the August mark of 94.1 is 1.5 percent higher than last August—and total days on market until sale continues to drop.

The median sales price of traditional homes in June was $209,000, down 8.2 percent from a year ago. Lender-mediated homes posted a May figure of $125,000, down 10.7 percent from a year ago.

With the tax credit expiring in November, closed sales should stay robust for at least the next two months. Time will tell what the market looks like after that, but there will be less inventory left.

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