Real estate market keeps buzzing into slowdown season

Minnesota’s real estate market, both in the Twin Cities and in other regions of the state, saw stronger-than-average activity last year, despite the pandemic.

New purchase agreements for the Twin Cities market were up 13.4 percent for November 2020 compared to the same month the previous year, according to data from the Minneapolis Area Realtors and St. Paul Area Association of Realtors. 

While real estate sales suffered a downturn during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns last spring, Todd Urbanski, former president of the Minneapolis Area Realtors, said the market turned around quickly. 

Real estate sales tend to slow down in October and November, Urbanski said.

“We’re not seeing that right now. As a matter of fact, as of the end of November, we’re going to have more home sales in the year 2020 than we’ve ever had in the Twin Cities marketplace before,” he said.

A lower supply of housing stock means sellers are seeing quick sales of their properties, and higher prices.

And Urbanski said low interest rates are bringing some buyers into the market.

Most regions of the state also have seen strong sales numbers through the fall, said Chris Galler, the CEO of Minnesota Realtors. Compared to November 2019, Minnesota saw nearly a 16 percent increase in closed sales this past November.

He said some people who are able to work from home during the pandemic are looking to relocate to parts of Minnesota with options for outdoor recreation.

“The midcounties of the state, which would include Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Alexandria, Brainerd, Baxter — those areas that have lakes and woods and a lot of outdoor opportunities have done very, very well during the pandemic,” Galler said. “People have decided that that’s a lifestyle that they like and they think they’ll be able to continue it.”

Galler said the only regions that saw a slightly slower housing market this past fall were more rural areas with agricultural and blue-collar-focused economies, mainly in the western part of the state. But even those regions had more closed real estate sales during 2020 compared to 2019.

Urbanski said he also believes that the tumultuous past year, and changes in the way people live and work due to the pandemic, is leading people to reevaluate where they live. 

“Your home is your environment,” he said. “At the end of the day, if you’re not happy in your home, it kind of reaches out into other areas of your life.”

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.