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A “for sale” sign is pictured Tuesday outside a property on Willmar’s southwest side. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Realtors report positive year for west central Minnesota home sales

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WILLMAR — Local home prices are continuing a slow recovery from the recession, and Realtors say 2012 has been a positive year for the housing market.

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“It looks a whole lot better than it did two years ago,” said Rick Nordin of First State Real Estate Agency in Lake Lillian.

According to statewide figures released by the Minnesota Association of Realtors, closings were up 8 percent in October compared to the year before. The median sales price took a 9.4 percent jump. Homes also were spending less time on the market before being sold.

In Region 6 East, improvements have been more modest but the general trend is upward. The region covers Kandiyohi, Renville, Meeker and McLeod counties. The four counties had a median home sale price of $100,000 in October, up from $96,150 a year ago. Sellers also saw an increase in the amount they recovered of their original list price, from 87.1 percent in October 2011 to 89.2 percent one year later.

Although not yet back to 2007 levels, home prices appear to have adjusted, said Shelley Crow of Century 21 Kandi Realty.

“We’ve had a good year,” she said.

Several higher-priced homes were successfully sold this year and the overall pace of the market has been picking up, she said. “We’ve had some (homes) that have sold within a week or so.”

Statewide, homes were on the market for an average of 95 days before being sold, compared to 112 days a year earlier. The inventory of homes for sale has fallen, much of it due to a decline in the number of foreclosures.

At a Realtors education conference last week, Nordin heard upbeat assessments from other agents who reported having “a pretty decent year.”

“To me that’s positive,” he said.

“I think everybody is going to be happy with the market we’re going to have this coming year,” Crow agreed.

Nordin noted that many buyers have been doing their homework and are better prepared when it comes to applying for a home loan. “It’s taking longer for people to get qualified but when they are, they’re aggressive in buying,” he said.

He and Crow said the low interest rates continue to be favorable for home buyers. “It really can’t go much lower.

They will go up, so get in now on the low interest rates and adjusted prices,” Crow said.

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Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

(320) 235-1150
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