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Spring Thaw Expected to Help Minnesota Homeowners

After a long, dreary winter, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) pointed towards signs of renewed optimism in the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Seller activity rose 5.5 percent to roughly 6,500 newly listed homes in March. Although inventory remains near a 10-year low, the group believes consumers should have more options this year compared to recent years.

"There's a lot of excitement and positive energy out there, especially among sellers," said Emily Green, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. "Some would-be sellers have been lifted out from underwater by rising prices and less competition from foreclosures, while other move-up buyers are also eager to buy."

March pending sales declined by a reported 8.4 percent, mainly caused by a shift away from foreclosures and short sales. Traditional pending sales were up 2.6 percent while pending foreclosures and short sales fell by 32.2 and 45.1 percent, respectively.

Low inventory continues to be a problem.

"Consumers shopping for homes now have 13,086 properties to choose from–or 4.1 percent fewer than last year at this time, marking the smallest year-over-year decline since November 2013," MAAR found.

Median sales price is also on the rise for the month, gaining 7.6 percent to $190,000, marking 25 straight months of year-over-year price gains. Completed foreclosures and short sales, however, declined from last March when they made up 25.2 percent of new listings to this year's figure of 13.3 percent. Closed sales for distressed properties fell from 37.6 percent to 26.6 percent.

"Traditional properties are dominating the market again," said Mike Hoffman, MAAR President-Elect. "As distressed product clears the pipeline, consumers are more likely to embark upon negotiations and transactions with people rather than banks."

Homes are spending an average of 95 days on the market, and are receiving on average 95 percent of their original list price.

About Author: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

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