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Minnesota home sales slip on slowing investment

Brace Helgeson

by Jim Buchta

The decline from a year ago is happening for different reasons from the metro area’s slide.
Fewer people are buying houses in outstate Minnesota this year, though the decline is not as steep as in the Twin Cities and is happening for different reasons.

Last month, there were 7,003 home sales across the state, 3.9 percent fewer than last year, according to new data from the Minnesota Association of Realtors (MAR). The median price of those closings was $179,900, a 5.9 percent increase from 2013.

Year-to-date closings were down 5.9 percent, below the 8 percent decline in the 13-county metro area reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

The metro-area decline is shaped by a reduction in the number of foreclosed and heavily discounted houses that attracted investors rather than people intending to live in them.

Sales of foreclosures accounted for nearly half of transactions in the Twin Cities during the peak of the housing crisis that began in 2008. Last month, they represented just 9.4 percent of all closings.

"We have many fewer investors in greater Minnesota, so the highs are higher and lows are lower in the metro,” said Chris Galler, the MAR’s chief executive.

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