February 22, 2020
Latest housing report also shows falling inventory and rising prices
According to the latest housing report from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the Saint Paul Association of REALTORS®, Twin Cities residential real estate started 2020 on solid but still uneven footing. Buyers were eager to ignite the spring market early, spurred by incredibly low mortgage rates and favorable weather, especially compared to last year. Tempering the market are falling inventory and rising prices.
“Buyers were again spoiled by rates that no one expected would be this low,” said Linda Rogers, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “That’s fueled more sales activity but we’re still missing the inventory piece.”
Sellers listed fewer homes for sale while buyers signed more purchase agreements and closed more deals. As a result, the number of homes for sale was almost 15 percent lower than last January. The supply squeeze wasn’t felt evenly across price points, though. While inventory of homes priced below $250,000 fell, the number of listings priced between $250,000 and $500,000 as well as $500,000 to $1,000,000 increased last month.
“The year is off to a solid start and metro area communities each have a unique story to tell when it comes to housing availability and price,” said Patrick Ruble, President of St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS®.
Some of the most competitive markets experiencing strong price growth are those with relatively higher levels of affordable or entry-level homes, such as Fridley, Vadnais Heights, Richfield, Brooklyn Center and Bloomington. That’s where multiple offers and homes selling for over list price are more common. Both millennial first-time buyers and downsizing empty nesters are competing over this limited supply of affordable homes close to the core cities. The move-up and upper-bracket home price segments are more balanced and better supplied.
January 2020 by the numbers (compared to a year ago)
- Sellers listed 4,330 properties on the market, a 1.8 percent decrease from last January
- Buyers closed on 2,870 homes, a 5.4 percent increase
- Inventory levels declined 14.9 percent to 7,595 units
- Months Supply of Inventory was down 16.7 percent to 5 months (5-6 months is balanced)
- The Median Sales Price rose 4.2 percent to $270,000
- Cumulative Days on Market increased 1.5 percent to 66 days, on average (median of 43)
- Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
- Single family sales rose 5.5 percent; condo sales fell 3.5 percent; townhome sales rose 11.7 percent
- Traditional sales increased 7.1 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 26.0 percent; short sales fell 52.6 percent
- Previously owned sales were up 5.5 percent; new construction sales climbed 11.1 percent
The Twin Cities housing market continued to show steady growth in 2019 according to the annual market wrap-up from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. At a joint news conference in St. Paul, the associations announced a growing economy, favorable rates and a persistent scarcity of homes for sale have uplifted home prices for eight consecutive years. Lower mortgage rates helped offset declining affordability brought on by rising home prices.
“In our market, like others across the country, lack of housing inventory has been a recurring theme for buyers. It continued in 2019 as buyers, looking for entry level options and more affordable choices, felt the most pressure. Buyers, however, have remained persistent resulting in gains, both in sales volume and price appreciation,” said Patrick Ruble, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. “Fortunately, the region’s economy continues to grow, unemployment remains low and we are seeing growth in wages. We have a healthy market and look forward to some of the sticking points, such as the limited inventory, easing in the coming year.”
Sellers reversed three years of declines with a modest 0.2 percent increase in new listings in 2019. Buyers overturned a sales decline in 2018 with a 0.8 percent increase in purchases. The ongoing housing shortage has led to a competitive environment where multiple offers are commonplace, frustrating some consumers. Therefore, sellers are receiving strong offers in near record time. Market times did, however, increase 2.1 percent from 2018 while the ratio of sold to list price declined 0.1 percent. These two metrics could be early indicators of a shifting balance.
“Overall 2019 was a good year for real estate. After a slow start, activity picked up once rates fell back below 4.0 percent mid-year,” said Linda Rogers, President of the Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “The second half of the year saw consistent sales gains, as record prices and declining affordability were offset by favorable rates and wage growth. Buyers were persistent despite tight inventory—particularly under $300,000. That’s no surprise, as the Twin Cities are a wonderful place to live, work and play.”
Rates remained attractive during the year. Despite starting the year around 4.5 percent, mortgage rates fell to 3.7 by year-end. Single family and new construction sales led the pack; so it’s no surprise that four-bedroom homes and homes over 2,500 square feet saw the largest gains. There’s still a “tale of two markets” dynamic at play: the under $350,000 or first-time buyer segment is severely undersupplied but also in high demand. The move-up market for homes over $500,000 is much better supplied, giving buyers more options and negotiating room.
“The Twin Cities housing market is a reflection of what’s been happening statewide,” said Bob Clark, President of the Minnesota Association of REALTORS®. “Realtors across Minnesota finished the year with slight increases in closings, new listings and continued growth in home prices.”
2019 by the Numbers
Sellers listed 76,345 properties on the market, a 0.2 percent increase from 2018
Buyers closed on 59,843 homes, a 0.8 percent increase from 2018
Inventory levels for December fell 19.6 percent compared to 2018 to 7,431 units
Months Supply of Inventory was down 21.2 percent o 1.5 months
The Median Sales Price rose 5.7 percent to $280,000, a record high
Cumulative Days on Market increased 2.1 percent to 49 days, on average (median of 23)
Changes in sales activity varied by market segment
Single-family sales increased 1.5 percent; condo sales fell 1.7 percent; townhome sales were down 1.4 percent
Traditional sales rose 1.8 percent; foreclosure sales decreased 31.9 percent; short sales fell 35.2 percent
Previously-owned sales increased 0.3 percent; new construction sales rose 6.9 percent
For other year-end residential real estate information and for stand-alone December 2019 data, visit www.mplsrealtor.com.
December 18, 2019
The Twin Cities real estate market showed a mostly positive but slightly mixed bag of results for November. New listings were up 0.1 percent year-to-date but down slightly in November. Helping to offset that decline was a 25.0 percent gain in newly built homes from last November. That’s because a builder doesn’t have to buy a home after selling one. Despite a sellers’ market and depending on price point, sellers still face the challenge of securing the next property while listing their current home.
Closed sales were also down slightly in November, but year-to-date closings are almost even with 2018. Sales have risen for the previous four consecutive months. Additionally, pending sales—a signed contract indicating a forthcoming closing—have now risen for five consecutive months, including November. This points to solid demand heading into the new year. Despite tight inventory, surprisingly low borrowing rates are helping to support this demand.
The number of homes for sale declined overall, but most price ranges have shown some growth this year. Over the last 12 months, housing inventory levels have increased for homes priced between $200K-$300K, $300K-$500K and over $500K but fell for homes under $200K. That first-time buyer segment still hasn’t seen supply growth.
The median home price in the Twin Cities has risen for 93 months or nearly 8 years, reaching new record highs every year since 2016. This isn’t the case for every market segment or area. The supply-demand imbalance pushes prices higher along with a changing mix of homes selling. There’s been growth in luxury activity and in square footage.
Market times remain brisk and near record lows, but there were a few monthly increases in 2019. Homes priced under $250K sold in a median of 25 days, while that figure was 91 days for homes over $1M.
November 2019 by the Numbers (compared to a year ago)
• Sellers listed 3,970 properties on the market, a 1.3 percent decrease from last November
• Buyers closed on 4,672 homes, a 0.8 percent decrease
• Inventory levels decreased 9.2 percent from last November to 10,011 units
• Months Supply of Inventory was down 9.1 percent to 2.0 months
• The Median Sales Price rose 5.6 percent to $279,900
• Cumulative Days on Market declined 1.9 percent to 51 days, on average (median of 29)
• Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
o Single family sales rose 2.1 percent; condo sales decreased 10.7 percent; townhome sales fell 4.9 percent
o Traditional sales increased 0.7 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 34.7 percent; short sales were flat
o Previously owned sales were flat; new construction sales climbed 5.3 percent
“We’re on solid footing heading into year-end,” said Todd Urbanski, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “More inventory would be nice, but rates are fantastic, the economy is still growing and consumers are confident.”
“National news headlines have little to do with our local market,” said Linda Rogers, President-Elect of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “Our state and local economies are hardy and diversified, good news for home buyers.”
From The Skinny Blog.
September 18, 2019
With two-thirds of the year in the books, we’re getting a clearer picture of where the housing market stands. The latest numbers for Twin Cities residential real estate show stability along with signs of deceleration. The median sales price continued to rise, landing at $286,800 for the month. Pending sales—a measure of signed contracts and future demand—rose 3.2 percent but are down slightly for the year so far. New listings slipped 2.0 percent, thwarting some buyers’ hopes of taking advantage of historically low rates. Closed sales were down 0.9 percent for the month and are down 1.4 percent for the year. One sign of market shift is days on market, which rose 2.5 percent year-over-year. Market times remain swift, but that’s the fourth year-over-year increase this year. Another sign of a changing market is the ratio of sold to list price. Sellers have been accepting a slightly lower share of their list price compared to the year prior for seven of the last eight months. This, along with other indicators, suggests the market is rebalancing. The landscape seems to be improving for buyers, even though sellers still have strong pricing power, favorable negotiating leverage and quick market times.
The number of active listings for sale has been rising this year. Even so, the market remains tight—particularly for first-time buyers and downsizers competing in the sub-$300,000 segment where multiple offers and homes selling for over list price are commonplace. With just 2.5 months of supply, the Twin Cities is still significantly undersupplied. The move-up and upper-bracket segments are less competitive and better supplied. Given some of the recent economic uncertainty, it’s worth noting that the Twin Cities market is well-positioned to withstand an economic downturn.
August 2019 by the Numbers (compared to a year ago)
Sellers listed 7,678 properties on the market, a 2.0 percent decrease from last August
Buyers closed on 6,646 homes, a 0.9 percent decrease
Inventory levels decreased 5.5 percent from last August to 12,238 units
Months Supply of Inventory was down 3.8 percent to 2.5 months
The Median Sales Price rose 7.0 percent to $286,800, a record high for August
Cumulative Days on Market rose 2.5 percent to 41 days, on average (median of 21)
Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
Single family sales rose 1.4 percent; condo sales decreased 6.2 percent; townhome sales fell 7.8 percent
Traditional sales increased 0.1 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 40.9 percent; short sales fell 45.5 percent
Previously owned sales were down 0.1 percent; new construction sales declined 5.0 percent
“Some think the fall market isn’t for them, but tight conditions and favorable rates suggest momentum moving into 2020,” said Todd Urbanski, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “We’re at a moment when sellers are enjoying their position while buyers are taking advantage of lower than expected interest rates and more options.”
“Most markets remain stable across the metro,” said Linda Rogers, President-Elect of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “While there is a good amount of local variation, we just don’t see that many signs for concern.”
From The Skinny Blog.
August 19, 2019
The current economic expansion recently became the longest on record, but it’s showing its age. Concerns around slowing growth have spiked amidst new economic data and gyrations in equity markets, but it’s also created opportunities for home buyers. The upside is that mortgage rates have fallen yet again as investors flock to the safety of longer-term U.S. government bonds, thereby driving down the 10-year treasury yield and the 30-year mortgage rates that follow it. That means markets expect monetary easing and lower interest rates to spur growth in the short-term. The risk of recession has grown, but the economy is still buzzing along at a decent pace. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and buyers sometimes pull back at any whiff of turbulence out of fear of hardship.
Twin Cities home buyers and sellers, however, did not pull back in July. Sales rose 4.5 percent and sellers even listed almost 2.0 percent more product than last July. Despite lower interest rates and modest inventory gains as tailwinds, the persistent shortage of homes on the market and affordability headwinds remain. Price increases and wage gains are more aligned now than in the past, but investors are still competing with millennial first-time buyers in the already competitive under $300,000 segment. Conversely, there’s some evidence of a slow-down in the luxury segment. Metrics to watch aside from sales and prices include market times, the ratio of sold to list price and months of supply. These three indicators could be hinting at potential market shifts ahead. That said, home price declines are unlikely until absorption rates rise above 6 months. We’re currently at 2.4 months.
July 2019 by the Numbers (compared to a year ago)
- Sellers listed 7,827 properties on the market, a 1.8 percent increase from last July
- Buyers closed on 6,628 homes, a 4.5 percent increase
- Inventory levels decreased 4.4 percent from last July to 11,961 units
- Months Supply of Inventory was down 4.0 percent to4 months
- The Median Sales Price rose 5.9 percent to $283,700, a record high for July
- Cumulative Days on Market remained stable at 38 days, on average (median of 18)
- Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
- Single family sales rallied 6.0 percent; condo sales increased 2.2 percent; townhome sales rose 0.8 percent
- Traditional sales increased 5.6 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 17.6 percent; short sales fell 37.5 percent
- Previously owned sales were up 5.6 percent; new construction sales rose 4.5 percent
“There are lots of headlines out there vying for our attention,” said Todd Urbanski, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “The bottom line is that the best time to buy a home is when you’re ready. Over 70.0 percent of Minnesotans have made that choice, the vast majority of whom have seen their values increase.”
“No one thought mortgage rates would touch 3.6 percent again,” said Linda Rogers, President-Elect of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “Buyers who felt squeezed by a monthly mortgage payment should take another look and consider this a fleeting gift.”
From The Skinny Blog.
In the face of mixed signals, assessing market health can be a challenge. The economy remains healthy, mortgage rates are outrageously low and yet sales aren’t rising. That’s in part because we simply haven’t built enough homes to keep pace with the demand. Despite attractive mortgage rates, the supply of available homes is so tight that sales are struggling to keep pace. Rising home prices typically incentivize more sellers to list. But with nowhere to go because of the shortage, listing activity is down. New construction has been hampered by rising land, labor and material prices as well as regulation, forcing builders to create new supply in the high-end luxury market often at the expense of more affordable entry-level product. But the demand from millennials (and some baby boomers) is concentrated in the affordable price points, creating multiple-offers and frustrated buyers.
But it’s that tight inventory that’s still driving prices higher. Sales prices reached a new all-time high of $290,000 in June—likely our high for the year. New listings stumbled 3.1 percent while pending sales were down 2.9 percent. Days on market remained flat compared to June 2018 while the ratio of sold to list price fell for a fifth consecutive month. In some ways, the market is improving for buyers, even though sellers are still enjoying strong pricing power, favorable negotiating leverage and quick market times. For the last nine months, buyers have seen more active listings for sale than the year prior. We still have a tale of two markets: strong demand, weak supply and price growth in the affordable brackets compared to a slight oversupply, slow market times and weaker pricing in the upper brackets.
- Sellers listed 8,473 properties on the market, a 3.1 percent decrease from last June
- Buyers closed on 6,604 homes, an 8.2 percent decline
- Inventory levels decreased 1.3 percent from last June to 12,063 units
- Months Supply of Inventory was flat at5 months
- The Median Sales Price rose 7.2 percent to $290,000, a record high for any month
- Cumulative Days on Market remained stable at 40 days, on average (median of 16)
- Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
- Single family sales fell 7.5 percent; condo sales fell 13.3 percent; townhome sales decreased 6.1 percent
- Traditional sales declined 6.8 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 46.4 percent; short sales fell 48.1 percent
- Previously owned sales were down 8.1 percent; new construction sales rose 2.0 percent
“The market is quiet right now, not every month shows significant change. Inventory is low, buyer demand is still evident and interest rates are phenomenal,” said Todd Urbanski, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “The untold story is the increase in net worth for homeowners. Rising prices mean rising equity. It can be a challenge to find a home, but homeownership is the best avenue to wealth-building.”
“The idea of the ‘housing market’ as a singular entity can be misleading,” said Linda Rogers, President-Elect of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “Cities, neighborhoods and different segments can often show tremendous variation.”
From The Skinny Blog.