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Real estate snapshot: Prices high, inventory low

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A new survey finds the price of houses for sale in Minneapolis saw the largest jump in the nation, while the number of homes on the market continues to be among the lowest.

In its monthly State of the Real Estate Market analysis, the real estate blog Movoto found that Minneapolis experienced the largest year-over-year increase in its index that measures median price per square foot. Prices in the Minneapolis market jumped from $118 in February 2013 to $153 in February 2014, an increase of $35 or 29.7 percent. Nationally, the median list price per square foot climbed by 8.4 percent.

The report also concludes that extremely low inventory levels in the Minneapolis market is driving prices up. The Movoto index found that the number of homes for sale in Minneapolis rose by a scant 0.8 percent in data that compares February of 2014 to February of 2013. Nationally, inventory year-over-year rose by 6.9 percent.

Movoto’s monthly State of the Real Estate Market report tracks inventory levels and a median price per square foot in 38 geographically diverse cities. The data comes from each city’s Multiple Listing Service.

The market remains tight for renters. The Star Tribune said a year-end report from Marquette Advisors found the average apartment vacancy rate across the metro held steady at 2.5 percent through the end of 2013, even though 3,108 new rental units came on the market in the 2013. The average rent at the end of the year was $981 per month, a 2.5 percent increase from a year ago.

MinnPost found a silver lining in the rental market in a list released by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. The list puts Hennepin County fifth in its national ranking of affordable housing units that are available to low-income families. The story notes that Hennepin County gets credit for nearly doubling the amount of available affordable housing in the past decade, an achievement that puts it at the top of the rankings of counties making the most progress.

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