Article by: Jim Buchta

Buyers snapped up more homes in July than in any month since mid-2006, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Home prices also marched closer toward prerecession levels.

Article by: Jim Buchta , Star Tribune

Updated: August 12, 2013 – 11:50 PM

Economists have long said that 2013 would be the turning point for the housing recovery. If July is any indication, their predictions are dead-on.

Buyers snapped up more homes in July than in any month since mid-2006, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. There were 5,638 sales in the metro area, an 18 percent jump over July of last year.

Home prices also marched closer toward prerecession levels. A combination of pricier homes for sale, slowing foreclosure activity and bidding wars drove the median sales price to nearly $209,000 last month.

A similar recovery is playing out across the country. The National Association of Realtors said home prices rose 87 percent of the 163 U.S. cities tracked by the group.

“Traditional seller activity is on the mend,” said Emily Green, president-elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

The shift is being fueled by an economic turnaround and a sense of urgency that didn’t exist a year ago. The Twin ­Cities has regained all the jobs it lost during the recession, leading to heightened confidence in the housing market. Buying activity has been so brisk that there aren’t enough homes to meet demand.

“Buyers cannot be timid,” said Gary Judson, a sales agent with Edina Realty. “They must be prepared to act quickly and convincingly. If they want to bid low on new listings and try to get the seller to negotiate, they will likely be replaced by more-­serious buyers.”

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Long-awaited recovery: Twin Cities home sales head skyward

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