Twin Cities home sales slipped in October, inventory increased

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Frustrated by a lack of options and rising prices, many would-be home buyers in the Twin Cities took a breather last month. But with house listings in short supply in some areas, those who bought made swift decisions and strong offers.

During October there were 4,749 pending home sales in the 13-county metro area, nearly 2% less than last year at this time, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Realtors.

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By all accounts the market remains healthy, but there has been a slow rebalancing of power over the past several months, following a feverish spring for first-time buyers.

Relief could be in sight: New listings increased nearly 10% last month.

“Seller activity rose significantly in October, providing additional options for home buyers,” said Kath Hammerseng, president of Minneapolis Area Realtors. “As a result, inventory levels have begun to flatten out.”

More listings mean inventory declines appear to be leveling off, giving buyers more leverage, especially in suburbs where there’s an abundance of move-up houses that don’t sell as quickly.

When it comes to entry-level houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul and surrounding suburbs, demand still exceeds supply in some areas, which is why starter houses are selling twice as fast as move-up houses.

Stiff competition among those buyers is helping boost prices. The median price of all closings during the month was a record $265,000, nearly 9% higher than last year.

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