Rochester home sales off to fast start in 2012

Rochester home sales are off to a fast start in 2012, leaving real estate agents excited about prospects for the busy spring season.

There were 86 home sales in January, up 62 percent from January a year ago, according to new statistics from the Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors. This comes after local home sales broke a five-year slump of decreases with a 7 percent increase in 2011.

The total number of homes listed for sale is down from a year ago, bringing supply more in line with demand.

"This may signify slightly less selection for buyers and what we hope is better faring in the market for sellers," said Angie Schott, a Winona Realtor who is SEMAR's MLS president. "The number of listings sold this January is holding steady compared to January of 2011, and interest rates staying historically low can only help continue this hopeful trend."

Warmer than normal winter temperatures brought about increased activity earlier this year, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.


"We're predicting a bustling spring market due to low prices, record low interest rates and a local economy that's stabilizing," said Bob Peltier, president and CEO of Edina Realty Home Services.

Home builder confidence is improving as well, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. The group's sentiment gauge climbed to 29 this month, the highest level since May 2007.

In Rochester, pending sales in January were up 6.7 percent to 112. The median sales price was $146,450, down 5 percent from 2011, and the average days on the market was 155 up 3.3 percent from 2011.


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