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Housing market rebounds and buyers head back to the exurbs

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The Monday real estate report includes the release of numbers for 2013 that show a strong rebound in the Twin Cities housing market. That news comes as developers and homeowners venture back to communities on the outer edges of the metro area which have struggled during the recession.

The Star Tribune broke down year-end figures from the St. Paul and Minneapolis Area Associations of Realtors. Highlights showed an upward trend in sales (up 8.8 percent--the most since 2005) and listings (up 9.4 percent-- the first gain in seven years). The median home price bounded up by 14.4 percent to $192,000.

Residential property also sold more quickly, with the average house spending 83 days on the market, a 29 percent decline from 2012. The Business Journal had an upbeat comment from Emily Green, president of the Minneapolis group, who said, "We are quite pleased with the breadth and depth of this recovery. The increase in seller activity was hugely important. Motivated by still-low interest rates, rising rents and more job opportunities, buyers drove home sales to an eight-year high."

Just last week, MPR News reported that $1.2 billion dollars in building permits were issued in the city of Minneapolis, most for housing units. But growth is continuing beyond the urban core. A front page story in the Star Tribune looked at the housing market in the far reaches of the metro area and concluded that builders and buyers alike are back in the exurbs. That outer ring accounted for just 11 percent of all metro-area construction a few years ago but has grown to 19 percent of new building, according to data from housing research firm Metrostudy.

The story finds the number of housing permits issued in Otsego in 2013 jumped almost 40 percent from 2012. They almost doubled in Farmington, and in Monticello housing permits soared from 19 to 49. It finds that more people are willing to extend their commute for cheaper lots. Lower land prices also make it easier for new homes to be built on larger plots.

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