Prices are going up, sellers are getting multiple offers, but a lack of inventory has buyers scrambling right before the spring housing frenzy begins.
A prominent national survey found home prices climbed 12 percent in the Twin Cities in 2012, and local real estate agents that momentum carried over into the new year.
Karie Roers never thought she'd have to move so quickly, but once the Roers put their Richfield home on the market at the end of January, things happened fast. There were inquiries before it even was listed online, and in less than a week, they had sold it.
"We were ready for maybe a month on the market," Roers said. "We didn't have a house bought. We weren't ready for five days, but we're excited about it."
Excitement soon turned into a bit of anxiety once the Roers ran into a problem so many buyers in the metro are facing these days: There isn't much inventory for sale, and what's available isn't on the market for long.
"It's very hard to find houses right now," said Brandon Hedges, an Eagan-based real estate agent.
From his experience on the front line, Hedges said he believes the market is back in force. His firm began to see a turnaround in 2012, and they're already running ahead of that pace through February.
"Single-family homes are still the hottest," Hedges explained. "Starting to see townhomes come back -- been quite a while. Condos are lagging in most cases, but it depends on price and location."
For Roers, it took some time, but they finally found the perfect house and will move to Plymouth in a few weeks.
"I was really shocked," Roers said. "I thought we'd have an easy time finding a house and a hard time selling. It was the opposite."
The local Parade of Homes will kick off this coming weekend, and it typically jump-starts the real estate boom each spring; however, experts caution that a lack of inventory will remain a concern.