Sellers relax inventory growth

By Greg Sax on Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Statsmarchlg Today MAAR released its monthly housing statistics press release. It said this and more:

The typical spring increase of new home listings for sale has not been as explosive as the record pace of the last few years.

The number of new listings in March was 8,523, a healthy 17.0 percent decline from last March. Year-to-date, the number of listings has fallen by 8.7 percent relative to the same time period in 2007. The net effect of this tepid spring showing is dramatically slowed growth in the total number of houses for sale. At the end of March, there were 30,652 homes for sale in the 13-county Twin Cities region, up only 4.7 percent from the year previous—the lowest such year-over-year increase since MAAR began tracking the figures.

Despite the attractive buying opportunities and signs that the peak of housing supply growth is behind us, home buyers remain surprisingly inactive. The number of signed purchase agreements (pending sales) in March was 3,632, down 14.6 percent from last March.

Those sellers who did keep their homes on the market—be they traditional sellers, builders or banks—continue to price their homes aggressively to stimulate activity. The March median sales price of $200,000 is 2.5 percent above last month but remains 9.5 percent below March 2007. The March percent of original asking price that sellers received at sale declined from 95.6 to 91.0 during the same time period.

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