MN Home Sales Up Despite National Plunge

The first two months of the year showed signs of improvement in the local housing market, but national sales dropped more than 9 percent in February.

Minnesota home sales showed improvement during the first two months of the year, posting a 5.7 percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

Home sales within the state increased 1.1 percent in February, performing markedly better than national home sales, which decreased 9.6 percent during the month.

The median sales price for homes in Minnesota was down nearly 8 percent at the end of February to $129,900. Nationally, the median sales price was $156,100 in February, representing a 5.2 percent decrease from February 2010.

“Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in a statement.

In the Twin Cities' seven-county metro area, home sales are up about 4 percent so far this year, while the median sales price is at $150,000-down about 7.4 percent from the same period last year.

The Midwest region as a whole struggled a bit during the month. The number of homes sold dropped 12.2 percent to 1.01 million. The median price in the Midwest was $122,000, which represents a 5.4 percent decrease from February 2010.

The National Association of Realtors claims to be the nation's largest trade association, with 1.1 million members who are involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The Minnesota Association of Realtors is the state's second-largest trade association with about 19,000 members as of June 1, 2010.