Northland heading into "sellers' market" as house sales pick up momentum

By KBJR News 1

March 28, 2014 Updated Mar 28, 2014 at 9:53 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNNCOW.com) - The snow has anything but melted, and peak home–buying season in the Northland is typically weeks away.

But area realtors say buyers are already looking and what they're finding is a lower inventory than last year.

According to the latest Minnesota Association of Realtors numbers for the Arrowhead Region, 2013 saw 556 newly listed homes in the Spring.

This year, that's down to 477 homes.

"So it's down about 14.2% as far as what's available for buyers to view," says Duluth Area Association of Realtors President Sarah Wisdorf.

That's good news for sellers, because limited inventory means sellers can get closer to their asking price.

Wisdorf says houses are also sitting on the market for a smaller time span.

"In 2012 it was about 133 days average, in 2013 it was 102," says Wisdorf, going over the latest list of statistics Thursday afternoon, "and then this year, so far... we've got 93 days."

That 90–day market window, says Wisdorf, is indicative of a healthy housing market.

But there's also a flip side to the health of the house flipping business.

Some realtors are concerned that prospective buyers could outweigh the shrinking inventory, which could mean bidding wars among home buyers.

But availability of houses could change if Mayor Don Ness' plan works out.

A vacant lot may seem like just a vacant lot in Duluth's Morgan Park neighborhood, but if city leaders have their way with the development of the St. Louis River coordior, this lot could be a solution Mayor Don Ness's call to enriching West Duluth while putting more houses on the market for realtors.

"We can't wait to give realtors in our area some incentive to show homes to new prospective homebuyers," said Mayor Ness during a community rally behind the West Duluth plan Thursday, "to say that the St. Louis River neighborhoods are a great place to raise a family."

...a call to action that area realtors are welcoming.

In 2012, the Arrowhead Region's median sale price was $117,500 dollars.

This year that price has risen to just over $125,000

Billy Wagness
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