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Twin Cities home sales remained strong in 2020, despite COVID-19 pandemic

A new report shows closed sales were at their highest levels since 2003, with the average sales price setting a record at $305,000.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MINNEAPOLIS — 2020 was a record-breaking year for home sales in the Twin Cities, despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An annual report released Tuesday by Minneapolis Area REALTORS and the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS shows buyer and seller activity was ahead of 2019 levels across the 16-county Twin Cities metro area.

The report shows closed sales were up 7.7%, for the strongest sales in the area since 2003. Listings also reached the highest level since 2016. Seller activity was also up by 0.1% over 2019.

In a news release, the associations said there was a "brief pullback" in home buying and selling when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, particularly during the stay-at-home order in April and May, but "market activity recovered quickly and ended the year posting several new records across various metrics."

Average sales prices were up by 8.9%, to a record high of $305,000.

“Despite several challenges, the Twin Cities housing market exceeded all expectations," Todd Walker, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS, said in a statement. “Inventory remained a hurdle, but homeowners have never had so much equity in their homes and buyers haven’t seen rates this low in 50 years, offsetting rising prices.”

“Predictably, the result of record sales combined with ultra-low inventory meant rising prices and sellers accepting stronger offers in less time,” said Tracy Baglio, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS.

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A separate report released Tuesday by Zillow showed the Twin Cities housing market gained $29 billion in value in 2020, with homes in the region now worth a total of $399 billion. Zillow said that figure places the Twin Cities as the 18th most valuable housing market in the United States.

“2020 was a record-breaking year for the housing market with intense competition among buyers driving up home prices,” Zillow economist Treh Manhertz said in a statement. “While many faced financial hardships because of the pandemic, others fortunate enough to maintain stable income took a step back to contemplate what they wanted their home to be and hopped on Zillow to help find a place that filled their wish list. Builder confidence, perhaps in reaction to the boosted demand, hit record highs and more homes are being built as a result. Add that together and you see why the housing market gained more than in any year since the Great Recession.”

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