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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Twin Cities Market Snapshot -- March, 2010

Today's Buyers: Looking for (Affordable) Cream Puffs

My quick "snapshot" on the Twin Cities housing market as of St. Patrick's Day, 2010?

It continues to be a schizophrenic market, in which the lower end -- defined as under $200k for single family detached -- is selling (too?) briskly, and values are hard to find.

I attribute that to: 1) tax incentives (due to expire April 30) that loom larger for entry-level homes; 2) a preponderance of first-time Buyers unencumbered by existing homes they have to sell; and 3) a pronounced drop in bank foreclosures (down more than 50% locally the last six months).

Meanwhile, upper bracket homes (say, $800k and above) continue to languish, and are being aggressively discounted to move.

Two Contests: Pricing & Beauty

Another phenomenon of this market: Buyers are looking for "cream puff's"; that is, homes in mint -- or at least move-in -- condition that show great . . . and are priced great.

Or as Edina agent Jonathan Spar puts it, would-be Sellers in today's market have to win two contests: a pricing contest, and a beauty contest.

Perhaps that's why I'm seeing more listings that have been sitting, unsold, "re-debut" on the market touting the fact that they are "newly staged" (often with a price reduction, for added "oomph").

That's a tacit acknowledgement that they weren't so beautiful before -- but now they are!

P.S.: sometimes I wonder whether Buyers who fall in love with a home realize that they're buying the home, not the staging!

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