Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New President, New Real Estate Climate?

There's much "change" in the air around the world today. And there is also change happening on the streets of the Twin Cities metro area, as the number of new listings appearing in our Weekly Market Activity Report takes its ascendant year-opening uptick. Despite the increase, new listings for the week ending January 10 have not quite matched the numbers seen at this time period last year (down 7.6 percent), and pending sales are riding a healthy clip above where they were last year (up 19.4 percent) as more homeowners pour back into the market after the year-end transition.

As a summation of how most of 2008 went, total active listings for the year finished down 10 percent from the year before. Time will tell if the flurry of optimism associated with today's presidential inauguration will work its way into the economy, the housing market and, specifically, the Twin Cities housing arena. Hope meets anxiety at the crossroads of 2009.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Welcome to January 2009!

The New Year rang in with the normal post-holiday increase in new listings, but listings are still down from the same week last year. Pending sales for the week ending January 3 showed a strong increase during the year-end transition, rising nearly 40 percent compared to last year. Over the last three months of the year, pending sales were 18 percent higher than last year. Local housing inventory has reached its annual low point but looks to rebound in the opening months of 2009.
This week's edition of the MAAR Weekly Market Activity Report features updated figures from several important metrics:
In December, Days on Market Until Sale dropped 6.3 percent compared to last year. The market appears to have reached a plateau in the amount of time needed to sell a house, and this welcome decline certainly could continue into the next year.
Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale closed at 90.0 in December, 1.3 percent lower than last year.
The new Housing Affordability Index (HAI) for January is extremely positive. Last month we stated that the HAI of 180 was the highest we had ever recorded. Now it's even higher, jumping an additional 12 points to 192. The rise reflects the help that interest rates and softer prices have given to the market. (Note: The decline in prices is driven by the significant amount of lender-mediated home sales and its benefit is not equal to all buyers.)

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