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2011 housing market: Good news and bad news

The 2011 housing market was a case of good news and bad news in southeast Minnesota.

The good news: 356 homes — 56 more than 2010 — sold in Austin, according to Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors President Steve Sherwood. Also, closed home sales were up 2.9 percent over 2010 across the state, according to data released last week by the Minnesota Realtors Association.

Such figures have regional housing leaders looking ahead to a strong 2012.

“I think the market in general is just coming back,” Sherwood said.

However, there was bad news: Home sales dropped by 6.9 percent in the southeast region, according to a realtors association report.

Sherwood said home sales dropped in Albert Lea from 236 in 2010 to 208 in 2011. The price of homes sold in Albert Lea also dropped by 6 to 8 percent.

Still, Sherwood sees positive local indicators in the number of new listings in Austin, which decreased by 40 to 514. When there are too many homes for sale, Sherwood said, it can flood the market and pull down values and sale prices.

“It’s a good indication that things have finally stabilized and starting to improve,” he said.

The number of homes coming on the market also dropped in Albert Lea, according to Sherwood.

Other factors are looking positive early in 2012, and Sherwood said many of the organizations and realtors he works with have said they’re busier than usual so far in January and February, which typically aren’t busy months.

“I think that we’re going to see a good 2012,” he said.