Twin Cities home prices, sales retain momentum in January

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The Twin Cities real estate market continues to bounce back as sales and prices increased again last month, according to new figures released Tuesday by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

The median home sales price in the 13-county metro area was $160,000 in January, an increase of 14.3 percent compared with a year ago, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Star Tribune says the number of closed sales increased 11 percent to 2,797 homes in January. However, inventory dropped 32 percent from a year ago to 11,977 listings.

“With our limited inventory, that’s led consumers to purchase more traditional properties, which sell for roughly 60 percent more than distressed properties," Andy Fazendin, president of the association, said in a news release.

"The momentum we gained in late 2012 carried into January 2013, and it's as if we skipped the traditional winter slowdown," added Emily Green, MAAR president-elect. "We expect to see buyer activity continue into the spring market."

Last year, closed sales were up nearly 17 percent to 48,641, according to MAAR's annual report.

The boost in real estate activity is having a ripple effect well beyond the housing industry, the Star Tribune reported last week.

"This will have a spillover effect into manufacturing and other industries and that will help the overall economic expansion even more," said Toby Madden, regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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