JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune

Low inventory and high demand helped trigger a 13th month of housing price increases.

It might not look like spring, but Twin Cities home sales are heating up.

Last month, buyers outnumbered sellers, triggering double-digit price increases and bidding wars in the metro’s most popular neighborhoods.

“This has certainly been a breath of fresh air,” said Kate Beckman, president of the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors.

The latest report provides more evidence that the housing market is continuing its recovery despite less-than-ideal shopping conditions.

During March there were 3,632 closings with a median price of $176,000 — a 17.4 percent increase over last year and the 13th-consecutive monthly increase in sale prices, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR).

The spring thaw normally draws buyers out of hibernation, yet the recent cool temps didn’t seem to hamper shoppers. Closing sales were flat compared with last year, but pending sales — an indication of future closings — increased more than 6 percent despite a 31 percent decline in inventory that’s stifling an even more pronounced recovery.

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March brings a seller’s housing market to Twin Cities