New listings were up 16.6% for Chisago County in May 2016 over May 2015, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, however, closed sales were down 6.4%. This is most likely attributed to our warm winter weather, which brought the buyers out early for 2016. Closed sales in April were up 17.4% over April 2015. Closed sales are based on purchase agreements that were written approximately 45-60 days before closing.

 The inventory of homes for sale in Chisago County was at its highest point for 2016 in May. A lot of buyers weren’t ready to put their homes on the market until May as it took time to get updates complete, the landscaping looking good, and they prefer to move over the summer. Many sellers also saw an opportunity to take advantage of the media’s hype of the “seller’s market” with homes selling in multiple offers over list price due to low inventory. The problem with listening to the media hype is that they are reporting on historical data (closed sales) and not the current market activity.

 We started 2016 with low inventory, which was down 18.2% in January, 11.3% in February, and 11% in March compared to the inventory in 2015. It stabilized in April in and increased in May. The low inventory months are typically best for the sellers.

 With more inventory comes lower prices, which moves us into a buyer’s market instead of a seller’s market. The median sales price dropped from $230,000 in April 2016 to $210,000 in May 2016. This means there were more options for buyers, more negotiating, and lower prices for sellers.  

 This is not all bad news as the inventory for May 2016 was still below the inventory for May 2015 by 19.6% and our median sale price year to date was up 10.7% over 2015 from $189,700 to $210,000. The average list vs. sale price was at 96.3% through May 2016.

 Now that we are in our prime vacation season for the area, we should see an increase in waterfront home sales and acreage as more buyers visit the Chisago Lakes Area and fall in love with our wonderful community!

 An experienced real estate agent can provide you the current market data to help you determine if now is a good time to sell or buy your next home.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.