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Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

The housing market in the Twin Cities had a record-breaking year in 2020 despite there being a pandemic that left thousands of people out of work and a weeks-long stay at home order in what's usually the busiest time for the housing market. 

In fact, the pandemic aided in the active housing market, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors said in a news release Tuesday. The pandemic forced people to work and learn from home, leading to people wanting more space. 

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“Despite several challenges, the Twin Cities housing market exceeded all expectations,” President of Minneapolis Area Realtors Todd Walker said in a statement. “Inventory remained a hurdle, but homeowners have never had so much equity in their homes and buyers haven’t seen rates this low in 50 years, offsetting rising prices.”

This, coupled with historically low rates, helped the housing market, with sales up 7.7% (64,479 properties) in the 16-county Twin Cities metro in 2020 – the second-highest since "at least" 2003, the release said.

According to the release, in 2020, sellers listed 76,348 properties on the market, which was just 0.1% more than in 2019. Low inventory helped drive up median sales price, which reached a record-high $305,000, up 8.9% from the year prior. 

The associations said on average sellers got what they listed their property for 99.8% of the time last year (the highest since 2003) and homes sold fast, only spending about 18 days on the market. 

“Predictably, the result of record sales combined with ultra-low inventory meant rising prices and sellers accepting stronger offers in less time,” President of the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors Patrick Ruble said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the "core cities" of Minneapolis and St. Paul are still attractive to homebuyers with signed contracts up 10% in Minneapolis and 16.4% In St. Paul. 

Overall, single-family sales were up 10.8%, townhome sales were up 3.4%, new construction sales were up 14.1% and luxury properties (those priced at $1 million or more" have been "soaring higher," up 25.4% from 2019. 

One segment of the market hasn't been doing as well, though. The release notes condos continue to lag with slightly lower prices, market times higher and offers weaker, with condo sales down 10.6%. 

Meanwhile, foreclosure sales were down 20.9% and short sales fell 25.9%. 

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