The number of signed purchase agreements in the 13-county Twin Cities region surged by 30.0 percent to 5,301 contracts. Sellers were also confident, as new listings increased 21.4 percent to 7,887 during the month. That is the largest increase in pending sales since August 2011 and the highest March count since 2005. New listings showed the second largest increase since July 2013 and the highest March count since 2010. Inventory levels rose 0.7 percent to 14,127 homes, the second increase this year.
The median sales price rallied 10.5 percent higher to $210,000, the strongest gain in over a year. The median home price has now seen over 36 months of year-over-year increases. Price per square foot—which adjusts for the square footage of homes selling—rose a more modest 4.5 percent to $121. Absorption rates remained flat at 3.3 months, and suggest an overall sellers’ market. Days on market rose 7.4 percent to 102 days.
The role of foreclosures and short sales continued to diminish on both the list and buy sides. Traditional new listings comprised 92.2 percent of all seller activity, the highest level since October 2006. Traditional sales made up 84.9 percent of all closed sales, which is on-par with late-2007 levels.
The finance environment remains favorable. Mortgage rates continue to hover near multi-year lows at around 3.7 percent, compared with a long-term average of about 7.0 percent.
Improvements in the economy and household finances could partly offset the impact of rising prices and interest rates. The Twin Cities housing affordability index of 198 has been fairly stable since the end of 2014.
A diverse and robust regional economy has served the Twin Cities housing market well throughout various cycles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Twin Cities has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any major metropolitan area in the nation at 4.0 percent.
From The Skinny Blog.