MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Our bone-chilling winter has kept people from getting out and doing many things they otherwise would've done. That apparently includes shopping for a home.
Sales in the 13-county region were down 13 percent in January compared to the year before.
As discouraging as that sounds to sellers, experts say right now is the time to put your house on the market.
Jacque Sech is trying. After 20 years in the home she loves on Cleveland Street Northeast, she's ready for a downtown condo.
The weather was a factor.
"Oh yeah," she said. "I've had it. It's time to be done with the yard work."
With the snow piled high in the back yard right now, you can't see her nice patio and garden, but she's hoping buyers will step in to see the upgrades she's added over the years.
"We've had very few showings," Sech said, "and zero last week when it was so miserable and nobody could get anywhere or do anything."
Experts blame the cold and snow for the noticeable drop in sales last month.
Phil Holm, an agent for Edina Realty, said there aren't many browsers when it's this cold outside.
"Unless you're really serious about going out," he said, "you're not going through, so showings are down."
But another factor is a low inventory. Few homes are for sale now, and that has a domino effect.
"There are people that are eager to put their homes on the market," Holm said, "but they want to find the right house first."
Realtors do expect a big increase in March and April, which is why listing a home now - when there's less competition - could mean more money and quicker sales.
The University of St. Thomas does a monthly report on the Twin Cities housing market.
Tuesday's report said last month's dip doesn't signal a long-term weakness. It predicts solid gains, later in the year.
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