Mixed Signals: Good and Bad Signs for Twin Cities Real Estate Market in September 2011

by Alex Stenback on October 13, 2011

Let’s check in with the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, who just published the September 2011 numbers.  Press release here:

“Without any government stimulus, the Twin Cities housing market continued to take small yet noticeable strides toward recovery in September. Sellers listed 5,562 new homes on the market, down 16.8 percent from last year. Buyers entered into 3,752 purchase agreements, up 37.4 percent over September 2010 levels. That’s the fifth consecutive month of double-digit, year-over-year gains in buyer demand—primarily driven by slowed activity at this time in 2010.

With less product entering the market and relatively strong sales, inventory levels dropped 20.7 percent to 22,476 active listings. That marks the largest inventory decline in more than seven years. A leaner inventory count combined with stronger purchase demand has moved the market toward balance.”

Digging through the whole report, there are two divergent trends.  Good and bad, depending on your point of view.

Sellers have seen prices slip, even as inventory shrinks. Not great news for prices.

With few signs that this trend will reverse any time soon, the subtext here: : If you are a seller in the next 18 months.  Sell.  It. Now.

From a buyers pespective, the market just keeps getting better.  Low rates and lower prices have affordability making a big leap from this time last year.

I’ll let the graphics below further illustrate the Yin/Yang of this market.

1.  The Good: Inventory, closed sales, and affordability all improved from a year ago.

2. The Not So Good: Prices (Any way you slice it: median, average, per square foot, percent of list price) down, days on market up.  Tough news especially for sellers.

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