In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the frost that some of us found on our lawns also kept the housing market in a sort of frozen state. For the week ending September 25, sellers placed 1,382 new homes on the market, which was 19.9 percent fewer than last year at this time. Over the past three months, listing activity has been an average of 9.2 percent under last year's levels.
Buyer activity produced 41.7 percent fewer purchase agreements than last year at this time. There were 616 contracts signed, and as the graph on page 3 illustrates, Pending Sales are still mimicking last year's activity, except with roughly 400 fewer sales. For the three-month average, the decline rests at 39.0 percent below 2009 levels.
Be aware that we're in an apples-to-oranges comparison period since the tax credit was in force last year at this time. Year-over-year comparisons may appear artificially low due to a market incentive that no longer exists.
Inventory levels are a crucial metric to watch, as they tell the story of whether listings overwhelm the market during times of slow purchase demand. As of October 4, there were 26,915 active listings on the market, 9.8 percent more than the same week in 2009.