Edina, Minn. – April 27, 2010 – Thanks to a strong first quarter, the 2010 real estate market will most likely beat 2009, according to Edina Realty and other market experts.
During the first quarter, Edina Realty’s pending sales in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin were up 22 percent over the first quarter of 2009, and volume was up 26 percent. Edina Realty increased its market share to 21 percent and leads the 13-county metro area in both traditional and lender-mediated sales. So far this year, Edina Realty saw a 23 percent increase in confirmed showings and Edina Realty agents held 1,500 more open houses than their closest competitor.
By the end of 2010, the National Association of REALTORS® expects existing home sales in the U.S. to rise 7 percent over last year.
In the 13-county metro area, pending sales were up 7.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to data published by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. While active listings were down 10 percent from a year ago, new listings were up 10 percent over the first quarter of 2009.
March’s median sales price in the metro area was $165,000, up 7.1 percent from March 2009. For the third consecutive month, home prices showed a year-over-year increase – the first three-month string of increases since June 2004. The average time on the market was 130 days in March 2010 compared with 150 days last year.
“The tax credits boosted the housing market when it was most needed, particularly in the lower priced segment,” said Bob Peltier, Edina Realty president and CEO. “Even after the tax credits expire on April 30, there will still be a wealth of great values, low interest rates and many down payment assistance programs available, especially for first-time homebuyers and people who buy in select neighborhoods or rural areas.
“But the tax credits also gave the market artificial life support,” Peltier said. “I think the economy has improved enough now that the market can support itself, provided we continue to see growth in employment.” While there’s plenty of momentum in the housing market, there will likely be a seasonal market slowdown in June and July according to Peltier. “Serious buyers will remain in the market and will likely not face the competition, multiple-offer situations and inventory shortage that characterized the first months of 2010,” he said.
While homes under $250,000 comprised 76.6 percent of Edina Realty’s total pending sales, there were also signs of improvement at the high end of the market. Confirmed showings for Exceptional Properties (homes priced over $500,000) were up 39 percent; 34 properties priced at $1 million or more sold this year compared to just 23 high-end properties that sold during the same period last year.
Peltier said the market is closely tied to jobs and personal income growth and predicted that the $250,000 plus price range would continue to see more activity. He also expects to see a lot of activity in distressed sales this year and next. New government programs such as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program may streamline the short-sale process while providing financial incentives for sellers that are underwater in their mortgage to take the short-sales route rather than going into foreclosure. Consumers can find more information about HAFA, short sales and foreclosures on www.edinarealty.com.
For more information, or to find a real estate agent or property listings in your area, visit www.edinarealty.com.
Edina Realty, a subsidiary of HomeServices of America, is one of the nation’s largest real estate companies with more than 60 real estate offices throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin and nearly 2,450 REALTORS®. Edina Realty’s family of companies includes Edina Realty, Edina Realty Title, and Edina Realty Mortgage. Edina Realty handled more than 28,000 transactions and $5.8 billion in sales volume in 2009. For more information, visitwww.edinarealty.com.