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Home Prices Still Dropping In Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Home prices in the Twin Cities continue to fall. On average home prices in August were down 11 percent from the previous year, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

The same report shows homes are on the market for an average of 136 days, nine days longer than August of 2010.

One home on Brandywine Drive in Burnsville has been on the market since May. It was purchased seven years ago for $449,000. The owners then added $100,000 in updates.

The house is now listed at $389,900. Experts say it's a sign of the times.

"People just aren't as apt to make a big commitment if they're concerned about their job and the economy," said Herb Tousley, the director of Real Estate Programs at the University of St. Thomas. "It tends to make people hold back."

For sellers to overcome the market, Realtor Kary Marpe has some advice.

"Start with the outside of the home," said Marpe. "Fix your known flaws. If you have something you've been putting off fixing, like a broken window, fit it."

A fresh coat of neutral paint will also help.

"I don't know of a buyer that likes to strip wallpaper," said Marpe. "I think there's the expectation that the work will be done, that there's no projects in the house for them to do because a lot of the buyers are buying at the top of their comfort level."

Marpe says sellers should forget about what they paid for the home.

"As a seller, you want to price where the buyers are buying, not where the other sellers are listing," said Marpe.

There is some good news for sellers.

"I think we're at or close to the bottom," said Tousley. "I would hope by this time next summer we would've seen some growth through the spring, less foreclosures and things will look better."

If you're considering selling now or thinking about waiting until the spring, Marpe says now could be a better time because there are fewer homes on the market and there wouldn't be as much competition. The number of homes on the market in the Twin Cities is down 20 percent from last year.

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