EDINA, Minn. - Minnesota's housing market is off to the strongest start in years, according to a new report from the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

The report shows sales statewide were up 9.1 percent in January compared to last year and median sale prices are up to $142,000 compared to $125,000 last year.

"It's a good thing if you're a home seller. It's a crummy thing if you're a home buyer," said Steve Schmitz, a veteran realtor with Coldwell Banker.

The trend means buyers must make faster decisions, which will continue to drive demand and competition.

"The last four offers I wrote, three of them we were competing with other buyers," Schmitz said.

But the dynamite sales predictions come with cautious optimism, according to Chris Galler, CEO of the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

"We're anticipating that prices are probably going to increase probably somewhere betweenthree andfive percent. The real concern for us is that interest rates will go up and interest rates will slow the market," Galler said.

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