While growth in the national and Ninth District economies has been mixed
during the past 18 months, housing sales have been relatively strong.
In the district, total existing single-family home sales were up almost
10 percent for the 12-month period ending June 30 compared with a year
ago. Across the nation, sales for existing homes were up 5 percent, while
new home sales were up 1 percent during the same time period. (New home
sales data is not available by state.) During 2000 and 2001, existing
home sales were down slightly in the district and relatively level in
Strong demand appears to have driven sales as housing prices have
soared. In Minneapolis-St. Paul the average price for existing single-family
homes reached $174,700 for the 12-month period ending June 30, an
increase of 12 percent compared with the same period last year.
Demand has also buoyed sales across the nation as the national average
increased 7 percent to $152,000.
A similar story can be told for a smaller district metropolitan
statistical area: In Fargo-Moorhead the average home price totaled
$103,200 for the 12-month period ending June 30, an increase of
almost 6 percent from a year earlier.
However, while home sales and homeownership have climbed, there has also
been an increase in mortgage loan delinquency rates. For the 12-month
period ending June 30, the percent of residential mortgage loans past
due 90 days or more reached 0.38 percent, up from 0.32 percent a year
ago. Nevertheless, Ninth District delinquency rates are still well below
1990, when they reached 0.60 percent. Nationwide, delinquency rates were
0.74 percent for the 12-month period ending in June, up from 0.63 percent
a year ago.