New listings and closed sales in the Twin Cities 13-country metro area posted August records, surpassing previous records set in August 2004, according to statistics released by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota.

The MLS said pending sales posted the second-highest August numbers on record. Year to date, closed sales are slightly above last year’s pace, while new listings and pending sales are just slightly behind last year at this time, according to the MLS.

“These numbers illustrate that the Twin Cities residential real estate market is primed for ongoing robust and healthy activity,” said Gregg Roeglin, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, in a statement.

August’s pending sales of 6,100 dipped below August 2004’s historical highs by a slight 1.1 percent, the MLS said. Year to date, pending sales are very closely matching MAAR’s predictions from the beginning of the year and are still expected to end the year near 64,000 sales, according to MAAR.

New listings set a new August record with 9,793 units – up almost 2 percent from August 2004’s previous record, the MLS reported. Closed sales also posted record activity with 6,979 units sold – more than 8 percent higher than the year previous, according to the MLS.

Median home prices sustained their upward climb to $234,900, a 5.8 percent increase compared to 12 months prior, the MLS said. MAAR said it expects housing prices to stabilize in this price range until early 2006.

“August’s record sales pumped close to $2 billion dollars of productivity into the Twin Cities economy,” said Roeglin.

The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) remained steady at 135 due to a combination of a slight increase in sales price and a slight decrease in interest rates. An HAI of 135 means that the median family income is 135 percent of the necessary income to qualify for the median priced home using a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Income levels, home prices and interest rates will affect the Housing Affordability Index.

“As it does every year, activity will slow as we enter the fall market. But, we are still on pace to match last year’s record numbers at the end of the year,” said Todd Shipman, president-elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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