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It's never been more expensive to buy a home in the Twin Cities

Big demand + short supply = higher prices.
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House prices in the Twin Cities hit an all-time high in 2016.

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area Realtors' Association announced Tuesday that the median sales price shattered previous records, after climbing 5.5 percent last year to $232,000.

The number of sales in the metro area last year also hit an 11-year high, with 59,988 homes changing hands – a 6.2 percent bump on 2015.

And with the number of homes being put up for sale declining 1.1 percent, it truly is a sellers' market as the gap between demand and supply grows ever tighter. In December, there were just 8,197 properties for sale in the metro area compared to 11,125 a year earlier.

If you're buying a home this year prepare for some serious competition, with the Realtors' Association saying the shortage in available housing means multiple offers are being laid down to sellers.

And if you bought during the house price trough in the depths of the financial crisis – when the average price hit $150,000 in 2011 – you're likely to be sitting on some pretty hefty equity given that values have risen by more than 54 percent since then.

In a sign that we're further and further away from the economic downturn, the number of foreclosure sales dropped by 25 percent last year.

Although single-family homes are still the bread and butter of Twin Cities real estate, accounting for 75 percent of all sales, the sales of condos and townhomes rose at a faster rate last year, increasing 9.5 and 9.9 percent respectively.

The Twin Cities are still affordable

Although there is variation depending on where you buy (i.e. provided you're not buying along Lake of the Isles), housing in the Twin Cities metro is still largely affordable thanks to the above average income in the metro.

General consensus in the lending world, per Interest.com, is that you shouldn't buy a home where the cost of the mortgage is more than 28 percent your monthly salary.

And with the average household income in the metro area at around $71,000 in 2015, according to Census figures, the median house price of $232,000 would produce a mortgage costing about 25 percent of monthly earnings (based on some quick GoMN estimates).

However, affordability varies depending on demographics, with Minnesota having an oft-reported issue with income inequality along racial lines, with black families earning on average less than half of white families in the state.

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