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Home sales in the Twin Cities hit 10-year high

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The Twin Cities housing market last month reached a level not seen in 10 years with almost 7,000 closed sales.

The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors revealed Monday that 6,928 homes changed hands in the metro area in June, the highest June figures since the housing boom in 2005, when 7,025 deals were closed.

A further 6,266 sales are pending as well, which the association says is a 19.2 percent rise on a year ago. Plenty of properties are also still being put up for sale, with 8,678 new listings – the highest seen in any month since April 2010.

"Buyers have been extraordinarily active this spring and summer," association president Mike Hoffman said in a release. "With both pending and closed sales activity officially reaching 10-year highs, consumers — particularly first-time buyers —understand that the timing is right. Therefore, sellers are also getting strong offers quickly."

Although there was an increase in listings last month, the total number of homes listed for sale is still 9.4 percent lower than it was last year, making the Twin Cities very much a sellers' market with 99.6 percent getting at least their last list price.

The Star Tribune reports that buyers are being "emboldened" by wage growth and mortgage rates at near historic lows of around 4 percent. And they are being further motivated to lock themselves into a mortgage by the prospect of interest rates possibly being increased later this year by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the paper notes.

House prices close to record – but buyers get better value

The median sales price last month was $229,900 – which is closing in on the record high of $238,000 in June 2006.

But people are getting more for their money than in 2006, spending $128 per square foot, which is 18.5 percent less than the record high.

"The price per square foot is still quite a bit down below what the previous peak was," real estate agent Pat Paulson told MPR News. "So over the last 10 years, typically there are larger homes that are selling."

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