Twin Cities home prices march higher but sales decline

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The median price of homes selling in the Twin Cities in March rose again last month, increasing by 7.6 percent to $190,000. It was the 25th consecutive month that prices climbed.

Citing new data released Thursday by he St. Paul and Minneapolis area associations of Realtors, the Pioneer Press reports the market continues to be held back by a low inventory of homes for sale continues to hamper the market. The Star Tribune noted that the month's in-and-out-like-a-lion weather likely chilled some activity by buyers. There were also ever fewer foreclosures in the mix; traditional sales, as opposed to distressed bank-mediated sales, tend to be priced higher.

"Some would-be sellers have been lifted out from underwater by rising prices and less competition from foreclosures," said Emily Green, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

New listings that rose by 5.5 percent last month may help to ease the tight supply.

"While low inventory has been a concern, new listings are up," said Michael Hunstad, St. Paul association president. "I would anticipate an increase in new listing activity as the spring market and weather continue to warm up."

Finance and Commerce reported that closed home sales in the 13-county Twin Cities region fell 16.7 percent between March 2013 and last month. Pending sales also were down 8.4 percent from a year ago.

According to data from the Minneapolis association, Carver County saw the biggest increase in median prices in the 13-county metro last month, up 39 percent. Ramsey County's median home price rose 17 percent and Hennepin County's went up by 8 percent.

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