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Shortage of houses on the market slows metro housing market

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The housing market in Minnesota traditionally slows as winter approaches and buyers and sellers take a break for the holidays. This year, the Star Tribune reports that a shortage of listings is cooling the hot housing market in the Twin Cities beyond the typical seasonal slowdown.

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, transactions increased just 1.9 percent last month from a year earlier. Pending sales posted one of the few annual declines since the housing recovery began. The biggest impediment is the shortage of houses for sale for would-be buyers. Closings outpaced new home listings last month, causing the pool of houses on the market to fall by 3.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Pioneer Press reports that the median sales price in the metro area jumped by 11.4 percent in October over the same month one year ago. That pushes the price to $195,000, up 11.4 percent from $175,000.

The biggest jump in the month was in Scott County, where the median prices bounded up 24 percent to $241,400. In St. Croix County, Wis., prices rose by 21.9 percent to $195,000.

Two counties reported a dip in the median sales price, including Carver County, with a decline of 9.4 percent to $226,500. In Wisconsin's Pierce County, the median dropped 4.7 percent to $135,000.

Homes on the market are selling faster than they did last year. The average number of days on the market fell 27.2 percent to 75 days, the lowest level since 2006. Sellers also got a higher share of their asking prices last month, with the average home fetching 95.8 percent of list price.

There was also a decline in foreclosures and short sales in the month.

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