Signed purchase agreements of Twin Cities homes fell 3.3 percent in November compared to the same month in 2009. Completed sales had a much steeper drop-- they were down about 39 percent over the same period.
Brad Fisher, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, said foreclosures and short sales, also known as lender-mediated properties, continue to constitute a big portion of sales-- about 40 percent of completed sales in November. Fisher expects that to continue with fewer houses coming onto the market.
"As we get closer to the end of the year, I think we'll see the percentage of lender mediated rise, because our unit base is shrinking, and then in the spring it'll go back down again," he said.
The median sales price dropped to $165,700 in November, a 2.5 percent decline from the year before. In three of the past four months, home prices have notched down slightly.
Short sales and foreclosures push the median price down, because they're sold at bargain prices.
Fisher said interest rates have ticked up about half a percent in the past month. But he added that it's not clear that will motivate buyers to make purchases sooner rather than later.
As homes continue to wait for a buyer, active listings are up on a year-over-year basis.
The number of homes for sale per buyer in December is 17.5 percent higher than the same month last year.