Historic and current mortgage rates

chart of interest rates
Freddie Mac rates

Mortgage interest rates have been at an all-time low. it is possible that they will go all the way up to 5%, maybe even this year. Back in 2006 during the housing price peak and before the housing market crash and the great recession mortgage rates were over 6.3%. When we look at mortgage rates I think putting them in context helps.

Higher rates are bound to have an impact on the housing market. Here in the metro area, there are so few houses on the market that it will be hard to see the impact.


Home sales volume up

Home sales in St. Paul, MN

The dollar value of homes sold went up in 2017 for the 6th year in a row but the number of homes sold went down, slightly for the first time in three years. I got to thinking about this because there are so few homes for sale but real estate agents are not quitting right and left like they were during the bottom of the housing market crash in 2010 and 2011.

It was tough during the great recession, it seemed like it would never end and yet it did. The vacant lots are a reminder to me.

There is a change in the air this year but right now my crystal ball isn’t working very well. Maybe as we move into spring it will become clearer.

The data used to make the chart was extracted from the MLS and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


January home sales by nieghborhood

Yes, homes are sold in January.  Here are some numbers I pulled from the NorthstarMLS. The data is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

home sales by nieghborhood
January 2018 home sales

January was a cold month and we did set a new record for the fewest homes for sale. Fewer homes for sale means fewer home sales it is that simple. Median prices went up from December which is pretty typical.

Home prices are rising the fastest in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood and on the Greater Eastside. Both areas took big hits during the housing market crash and the great recession.

Total home sales in St. Paul for January was 198 and the average days on the market crept up to 54, which is actually super low especially for January. Activity usually picks up after the super bowl and I am seeing some evidence of home sellers coming out of hibernation.

If you are interested in selling your St. Paul home, please call, text or email for a free no obligation consultation.

For more local real estate numbers please see Local Market Conditions & home prices. Real estate is local.

Metro Area Housing Supply

Supply of homes for sale – Metro area and St. Paul

In the Twin Cities metro area there is about a 1.3 month supply of houses on the market which is down 27.8% from last January.

In St. Paul we don’t even have a months supply, but about 3/4 of a month supply, down by 40% from a year ago.

Generally, there are more homes for sale during the spring and summer months than there are in January. We should start to see these numbers go up a little in February.

I think it is fair to say the local real estate market is strong but I cannot call it healthy due to the fact that the demand is higher than the supply and prices are going up too high too fast.

I’ll have the home sales and prices numbers for January 2018 posted this week. I think it will show that home sales are down a little due to lack of homes for sale and prices are up.

Counting Minnesota Realtors

The chart shows how many Minnesotan’s are Realtors and the data is from the national association of Realtors. (NAR) Realtors are members of the national association of Realtors and Realtor is not a job title it is a membership. Not all Realtors have real estate licenses and not all members sell real estate but a large percentage of us do.

A person with a real estate license can sell real estate without being a member of the NAR, yet the numbers on this chart accurately reflect a trend. The number of Realtors is rising but very slowly. There 19,515 Minnesota Realtor members as of December of 2017 and that is up slightly from 2016 which is why I did not bother making a new chart.

As older member retire Realtors as a group is getting younger. At one point the median age was around 57 now it is 53 and has been for the past few years.

The number of Realtors peaked nationwide in 2006 and in Minnesota.

There are plenty of REALTORS®. My theory as to why there are fewer today than there were in 2006 is because of the economy. Typically when employment is high and there are plenty of jobs fewer people decide to start businesses or become REALTORS® (Independent contractors)

Usually this time of year I get a lot of phone calls from people who are interested in becoming real estate agents. I think I have gotten one call so far this year.

It is hard to calculate how many homes are sold each year in Minnesota. If I were to guess I would guess that we have about half as many home sales as there are REALTORS®.

Changes in real estate by market segment


These numbers are for 2017 and they came from a press release from the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors®:

  • Changes in sales activity varied dramatically by market segment
    • Single-family sales decreased 1.1 percent; condo sales rose 2.0 percent; townhome sales rose 5.7 percent
    • Traditional sales rose 3.7 percent; foreclosure sales fell 42.8 percent; short sales fell 49.9 percent
    • Previously-owned sales declined 0.7 percent; new construction sales rose 13.9 percent

It isn’t at all hard to see why new construction sales rose. There has been very little new construction in the last few years but a little more in 2016 and 2017 than we saw in the previous 8 years. I haven’t done the math yet but the increase in condo and townhome sales could be because of new construction of condo projects.

Existing home sales are being hampered because there are not as many sellers as there were in prior years. The only reason for the decrease in single-family home sales is because fewer homeowners decided to sell in 2017.

In the last year or so I have met several people who want to buy foreclosures and fix them up. Unfortunately, the foreclosure market has been contracting for the past several years from the peak during the great recession.

I’ll predict that in 2018 single family home sales will be lower than they were in 2017.

For local real estate market numbers please see Local market conditions and home prices.