WILLMARIn March, the shortage of affordable housing in the state continued to squeeze a heated market driven by rising buyer demand, according to a news release from the Minnesota Realtors organization.

Although closed sales increased 3.1 percent over last March, and pending sales were up 12.1 percent, activity was dampened by a 10.9 percent decline in new listings.

Homes for sale were down 54.8 percent over last year, leaving only a one-month supply of inventory statewide.

These factors made for an extremely competitive market where the median sales price rose 10.1 percent to $295,000, and homes went from listing to closing in only 42 days, down 26.3 percent from 2020.

On average, properties received 100.7 percent of the original price received, up 2.8 percent from a year ago.

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In total, March marked a strong end to the first quarter, with closed sales up 8.5 percent year to date.

“There’s no doubt that we will be in a seller’s market well into the future,” Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. said in the release. “Factors that were in play even before the pandemic continue to shape the housing environment, including historically low interest rates and a stubbornly persistent shortage of homes. Supply is further depressed by homeowners who are reluctant to sell their properties for fear of being unable to purchase an affordable home in the area where they are relocating. Despite these challenges, pending sales indicate that we can anticipate another very active selling season right through the summer.”

Across Minnesota, there were only 7,738 homes for sale in March, compared to 17,124 in March 2020.

In the region covering Kandiyohi, Meeker, Renville and McLeod counties, median sales price went up 7.7 percent from $168,000 in March 2020 to $181,000 in March 2021.

Days on market dropped 40.8 percent in the region from 71 days in March 2020 to 42 days in March of this year.

Supply of inventory dropped 55.6 percent in the region from 2.7 months in March 2020 to 1.2 months this March.

In the region covering Big Stone, Swift, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Lac qui Parle counties, median sales went up 46.2 percent from $72,500 in March 2020 to $106,000 in March 2021.

Days on market dropped 40.9 percent in the region from 127 days in March 2020 to 75 days last month.

Supply of inventory dropped 55.8 percent in the region from 5.2 months in March 2020 to 2.3 months in March 2021.