The ‘Great Real Estate Downturn’ may be nearing an end.
Area Realtors reported Wednesday that residential real estate prices across the Twin Cities region are on the rebound; the median price of homes sold in March was up 6.4 percent from the same month last year—the first such year-over-year increase since October 2010.
The news was equally good in Maple Grove, where the median price was up 20 percent over March 2011, according to a report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR). The median sales price for Maple Grove homes in March 2011 was $187,500. During the same time in 2012, the median sales price for a Maple Grove home was $225,000.
Regionally, Realtors reported several signs of an improving market. In addition to the median price boost:
- The price-per-square-foot measurement of home value increased for the first time since June 2010.
- Pending home sales were up 20.4 percent in March and are already higher than any month in 2007, 2008 or 2011.
- The months supply of inventory, the amount of time it would take to sell every home on the market, fell nearly 40.percent to 4.6 months. That’s the lowest reading for any month since January 2006.
- Compared to the year prior, sellers are getting a greater share of their asking price from buyers.
Andy Fazendin, MAAR’s president-elect, was reluctant to declare the downturn in housing prices at an official end. But he added that, “It’s looking increasingly likely the worst is behind us. We continue to see encouraging signals from the market that allow for an improving view on residential real estate in 2012.”
The improved median price is, in large part, a reflection of the changing market. “Distressed” properties sold through foreclosures and short sales, which tend to bring much lower prices than homes sold the traditional way, made up only 34.6 percent of all new listings in March, the smallest share since July 2008.
Meanwhile, Realtors say an unusually warm March helped boost buyer activity, and the market received additional boosts from low interest rates, affordable prices and a sense of urgency caused by tightened inventories.
The number of homes for sale continued to drop, regionally down 27.5 percent from last year to 17,081 active listings, the lowest inventory reading for any month since January 2004.