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Consensus says MN housing market on the rebound

Minnesota's housing market is beginning to strengthen and homebuyers are getting more square footage for the dollar than consumers just a few years ago.

That was the consensus belief by professors from the University of St. Thomas, Opus School of Business and Shenehon Center for Real Estate Education during a presentation with related housing organizations.

In a unique collaboration of housing groups, the Minnesota Association of Realtors, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Minnesota Homeownership Center and the University of St. Thomas conducted the "State of Minnesota Housing" event to discuss changes in the residential real estate market.

Tom Hamilton discussed the Minnesota Housing Report, regional housing trends and made a forecast for 2008.

"Over the next 12 months, we should see home prices begin to stabilize in most parts of the state," said Hamilton.

Prices are expected to fall a few percentage points while inventory remains at historically high levels, but should flatten out as the excess properties are moved. Foreclosures and speculative purchases have bloated inventory levels and reduced home prices across the state.

One significant feature of the current marketplace is home prices on the bottom 20 percent of properties.

"There are more homes available for less than $100,000 than we have seen in a decade," said Gregg Hartos, 2008 President of the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

In the Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids areas, Steve Larson, 2008 president of the Lakes Country Association of realtors said they have a terrific selection of properties for home buyers in many price ranges.

Home prices have dipped slightly from their high point in 2005, however, today's home buyers are getting an opportunity to purchase homes with the features and amenities many consumers could not find during the market of a few years ago.

Don't expect to see another real estate explosion in Minnesota any time soon. The demographics and population growth figures show a return to normal with average appreciation rates of 2-4 percent annually according to Christopher Galler, senior vice president, Minnesota Association of Realtors.