The Twin Cities’ 40.7 percent drop in existing home sales for October gives it the unwelcome distinction of posting the largest year-over-year volume drop among major metropolitan areas, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors had issued the 13-county metro area report two weeks ago, but the national association just released the nationwide tallies.
Good news in the Twin Cities numbers come in the form of a modest 0.6 percent increase in the median sales price to $170,000, compared with last year. It’s the eighth month of price gains this year.
Nationwide, existing-home sales retreated in October after two strong monthly gains, the Realtors reported. Year to date, there were 4.149 million sales of existing homes, down 2.9 percent from 4.272 million at this time in 2009.
The Realtors are cautious in their assessment of how soon the market would pick up.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says: “The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales. Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels. Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year.”
NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., says that “there remains an elevated level of appraisals that fail to provide accurate valuation, which is causing a steady level of sales to be canceled or postponed.”
“We’ll likely see some impact from the foreclosure moratorium in the months ahead, but overly tight credit is making it difficult for some creditworthy borrowers to qualify for a mortgage, and we are continuing to deal with a notable share of appraisals coming in below a price negotiated between a buyer and seller.” he said.