Home sales in the Twin Cities, Minn., region declined for the eighth straight month in November, as still-high inventory kept a lid on prices and gave buyers more time to gauge the market, according to reports from three Twin Cities-area Realtor associations.

“Despite the falling interest rates and large number of homes on the market, buyers are surprisingly still on the sidelines for now,” said Deb Greene, president-elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR). “Home sellers are facing a challenging environment for the near-term future.”

Realtors reported 3,244 sales of existing single-family homes, condos and townhouses last month, down 21.2 percent from 4,115 sales in November 2005. During that period, the median home price in the 13-county region sank 1.7 percent to $228,047.

Fewer property owners put their homes up for sale in November, as the number of new listings fell slightly from a year ago to 5,981 but were down sharply from the 7,894 new listings added in October. This marked the third consecutive month of year-over-year declines, following 14 months of record highs, according to MAAR.

Despite the drop in new listings, there were still 27,535 active listings at the end of November, which is 21.2 percent higher than the same period a year ago, MAAR reported. It should take the current inventory seven months to sell through completely — the market is considered balanced with a 5-month supply — which suggests buyers will be able to negotiate more favorable terms with sellers.

Statistics are provided by the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, and the North Metro Realtors Association.

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