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Housing market has regained footing, says realtor group

Most of Minnesota's housing market has regained its footing and is expected to have a strong, sustainable recovery in 2011, according to the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

Home price stabilization is critical to the housing recovery and indicators look positive, the association said.

Both pending and closed transactions moved in a positive direction at the end of 2010.

Closed sales were up 12 percent in December compared to December 2009 and up 24.9 percent from December 2008.

Pending sales are also up 19.8 percent from December 2009 and up 34.6 percent from December 2008.

Chris Galler, CEO of the Minnesota Association of Realtors, said this "two-year swing in consumer confidence is another sign that Minnesota has turned the corner and is moving forward."

In the coming months transaction figures will likely be lower year-to-year because of the federal homebuyer credit program in 2010, Galler said.

Artificial incentives increase consumer activity over the short-term and must be kept in perspective when looking at year-to-year data.

Inventory is another key indicator of how the housing market is performing. The number of homes for sale was down 12 percent at the end of 2010 in Minnesota.

Fewer properties available will help restore the balance of homebuyers to home sellers and help stabilize prices, according to the association.

The median home prices statewide remain steady from 2009 at $150,000. The year-end average sales price is up 8.1 percent over year-end 2009.

"Real estate is and always has been a solid long-term investment," said Galler. "Economic conditions, interest rates and jobs are critical components that have significant impacts on the housing market. As we begin 2011 the key indicators are pointing toward a steady recovery."