Dripping IciclesSometimes little improvements are everything. For example, ten degrees doesn’t usually mean much. Until it’s -14 degrees anyway. When the temperature climbs to -4, it feels like a heat wave.

The Minneapolis duplex and small investment property market is a little like the weather. Right now it’s cold. It’s going to continue to be cold for a while. But we all know winter, like the housing crisis, will eventually come to an end.

For the last few weeks, it’s seemed like a 10 degree heatwave in the Minneapolis real estate market. For the week ending January 29, the average price a duplex left the market at was $133,525.

This looks like sun screen territory when compared with the sold price for the same week last year of $82,154.

Of the week’s market departures, 38.9 percent belonged to traditional sellers. This is up 7 percent from last year.

There was a virtual traditional seller heat wave in the properties fresh to the market. They were responsible for 26.9 percent of the week’s new inventory. Last year, every new listing for the week was offered by the banks.

The single family market also celebrated something of a temporary thaw. That is, when viewed in context of the near arctic blast of the last few years.

Purchase activity for the area was down 2 percent year-over-year, which, oddly, indicates a warming trend in that it’s the smallest drop in this category in two months.

Of course, without the incentive of a tax credit, it will be difficult to keep up with last year’s early spring market. However, sales do resemble those of 2009. That wasn’t exactly the best year on record, but at least we haven’t experienced more of a dip.

New single family home listings were also down 16.9 percent from last year. Less inventory should eventually help warm the market.

Overall, things are a bit better, but not great.

And while winter in Minnesota is drawing to an end, we have a long way to go before the housing market will feel like spring.