Home sales in the Twin Cities, Minn., area fell in July for the fourth straight month as rising inventory significantly slowed home-price growth, according to reports from three Twin Cities-area Realtor associations.

Realtors recorded 4,872 home sales last month, down 18.7 percent from 5,995 sales in July 2005. During the same period the median home price in the 13-county region inched up 0.9 percent to $235,459, although this was down from June’s $236,850 median.

In Anoka County, closed home sales dropped 30.4 percent from a year ago to 439 last month, and Sherburne County sales fell 30.1 percent during the period to 144, the North Metro Realtors Association reported.

The North Metro area is feeling the pinch of the tightening economy, as current and potential homeowners weigh the costs of transportation and other necessities.

“Those same economic factors that are contributing to slowing sales rates may also be prompting more sellers to try their chances with the market,” said Jeff Green, president of the North Metro Realtors Association. “Sellers may be trying to move closer to work, in order to save time and money on gas.”

New listings in the metro area posted a July record at 9,657 units, up 5.9 percent from a year ago when 9,121 new listings were added, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

At the end of July there were 31,367 single-family units on the market, 40 percent higher than at the same point in 2005. Inventory has been relatively stable in recent weeks and could be illustrating an early seasonal leveling this year, MAAR reported.

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

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