Spring housing market surging for home buyers and sellers

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It's only April, but the spring market in the Twin Cities metro real estate market is already delivering results for buyers and sellers. The Star Tribune reports sales are on track to make this the strongest spring market since the housing recession began in 2008.

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, last month the number of signed purchase agreements increased by an impressive 30 percent over March of 2014. Prices jumped nearly 11 percent.

One in seven homeowners in the Twin Cities is still experiencing negative equity--meaning they owe on their house more than it is worth. That rate is lower than the national average, but it blocks those homeowners from selling and adds to the tight supply of homes on the market.

A March Market Update from Edina Realty noted that home sales prices in the metro area have seen three full years of year-over-year price gains. Edina Realty saw the most pended sales in a February in the last nine years.

This week TwinCities Business published a story suggesting it's again a wiser financial move to buy rather than rent a home.

The story cites a new study from Zillow, which did the math and determined that the so-called “break-even horizon” for the average Twin Cities homebuyer is 2.2 years. Zillow’s analysis compares the cost of buying a home versus the cost of renting an apartment to estimate the point at which it makes financial sense to buy a home rather than rent an apartment. In data compiled for February, Zillow found the median home price in the Twin Cities at $211,400, and the median apartment rent at $1,506 per month.

Zillow’s numbers calculate that the break-even time takes longer in pricier neighborhoods and takes less time in their economically challenged counterparts.

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