GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- On the 2800 block of Alabama Ave. South in St. Louis Park, Realtor Emily Rome Welter changes the sign in front of a house to include the word "sold."
"It was on the market on Thursday and the home sold this morning. We had 9 offers on the home, all over list price," said Emily Rome Welter, part of The Rome Team at Edina Realty.
The home was listed at $229,000.
"First-time home buyers are encountering a historic shortage of inventory in the Twin Cities as they're trying to buy their first home," Rome Welter said.
A Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors report on sales from January revealed inventory was the lowest in 14 years. New listings in the Twin Cities metro increased 3.1 percent to 4,304 while pending sales were up 4.3 percent to 3,130. Meanwhile, inventory levels fell 25.4 percent to 8,212 units.
"Millennials are coming now in full force as a generation into the home buying segment. But we still have lots of baby boomers and others who are competing for those same homes," Rome Welter said.
While inventory is low across the board, homes listed for more than $500,000 are selling at a slower pace.
"Over $500,000 homes take longer to sell. But under $500,000, under $400,000, it's just such a different story. So it's kind of the tale of two markets really," said Julie Tufford, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Burnet.
Tufford held an open house on Sunday for a home in Eden Prairie. She said it was a busy day, even though the home would not be considered an entry-level home.
Shanda Langaard of Eden Prairie was at the open house. She recently sold her home and said, "We're in the position to buy in the next couple months so we're just anxiously awaiting to find the right house here."
But the competition can be intimidating for sellers, as well.
"A lot of buyers are saying, 'Why is it like this? Why is this happening?' We're not entirely sure. It is a little bit of a problem where people are not wanting to put their house on the market because they're afraid there won't be anything for them," Rome Welter said.
But if you're thinking about selling your house, Rome Welter said, "You can really, really get a good deal on your house depending on your preparation and all those things."
If you're looking to buy, Rome Welter recommends working with a qualified realtor and a qualified lender, being flexible, and being honest with yourself about your budget and how high you're willing to go.