Home sales in the Twin Cities, Minn., area dropped for the sixth straight month in September, as prices held steady with year-ago levels, according to reports from three Twin Cities-area Realtor associations.

Realtors recorded 4,025 closed home sales last month, down 23.7 percent from 5,277 sales in September 2005. During the same period, the median home price in the 13-county region was mostly unchanged at $229,900, compared with $230,000 a year ago, but was down from $235,000 in August.

There was a 5.1 percent decline in new inventory added to the metro during September, as 8,862 new listings came on the market, down from 9,336 a year ago, the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors reported.

The inventory levels remain historically high for the system, however, with 30,977 active listings on the market at the end of September, up 27.4 percent from the same point in 2005.

“Of course the imbalance which occurred with the inventory glut over the past nine months has helped buyers gain some control over the market,” said June Wiener, president of the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors. “There has been some downward pressure on price, but not as significant as other markets across the country. Buyers are practicing restraint in some circumstances, but overall sales indicate that sellers and buyers are still finding common ground across the metro.”

For the entire year, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors expects median price growth to settle somewhere between 1 percent and 2 percent, down significantly from the past several years when price appreciation registered in the 6 percent to 12 percent range.

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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