Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Buyers are just not buying right now and homes are taking a long time to be absorbed. The Minneapolis market is flooded with homes and has approached the supersaturation mark. There are currently over 35,000 residential properties for sale in the 13-county metropolitan region, up 12.0% from this time in 2006 and 56.7% from this time in 2005, according to MAAR.
Seller activity remains flat, and buyer activity is even slower, with the number of newly signed purchase agreements declining by 10.2% from this time last year. With buyers so few when compared to the amount of homes available, sellers have to price their home competitively and make sure it is "showroom" ready.
I honestly have to say that I don't see this trend changing any time soon. I saw the same thing happen in Florida in 2005, at least a year and a half before the disease hit Minnesota. Like an illness, it will take time to recover, but don't expect it to happen overnight. Hopefully once Spring hits again, the market will be reinvigorated, but sellers should not hope for prices to reach 2005 levels for many years to come. Maybe some orange juice would help instead?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
More and more, sellers are turning their backyards into more than just some pretty landscaping and a pool. Owners are looking to make the land "theirs", either through golfing, rose gardens, swimming ponds, Japanese rock gardens, etc. If you have the acreage, I have seen shooting ranges, horse pastures, extravagant fire pits, and dirt bike trails.
But the main goal is to actually use the land for something the owner can enjoy. Too often, backyards become just a green grass landscape. Take hold of your backyard and turn it in to something extraordinary...like a putting green!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
If you would like to give your input on how you would like to promote the North Minneapolis area, now is your chance.
The Northside Marketing Task Force is inviting you to attend the final two public sessions to give ideas on the public perception of the area. Results will include a new logo, new brochures, slogan, and ads.
- July 26, 7-9 pm, Webber Recreation Center, 4400 Dupont Ave N
- July 30, 7-9 pm, Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave N
Snacks will be provided!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
According to statistics compiled by the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), there were a total of 773 units permitted in June 2007, down from 1,176 units permitted in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date activity continues to lag last year, with a total of 4,523 units permitted thus far, down from 6,585 units permitted through the same point last year.
"The next six months will be a telling sign of where our market is headed," says 2007 BATC President Michael Noonan. "According to a recent forecast by the National Association of Home Builders, the Twin Cities market may begin to flatten out over the remainder of this year, then slightly rebound throughout 2008."
Noonan cautions against expecting a sudden torrent of activity. Instead, the market will return slowly to healthy and sustainable rates of production.
Minneapolis leads the metro in year-to-date activity with 410 units permitted. St. Paul ranks second with 368 units permitted, followed by Woodbury with 250, Lakeville with 179, and Chaska with 161.
read more of the full press release
Source: Builders Association of the Twin Cities
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The main terminal, named after Charles A. Lindbergh, sees most of the international and national flights, and is the main hub for Northwest Airlines which handles about 80% of all air passenger traffic in and out of the Twin Cities.The second terminal, the Hubert H. Humphrey, handles charter flights and smaller airlines. Six smaller regional airports are available as reliever destinations including:
- Anoka County-Blaine
- Flying Cloud
- Lake Elmo
- St Paul Downtown
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The new certification program recognizes the vitality of the second home market. Serving the resort and vacation real estate market has come of age at a time when the second home market has never been stronger and savvy buyers increasingly demand the expertise of a real estate professional with proven knowledge of resort and second-home market conditions. A 2005 NAR study showed substantial growth in the second-home market. The study indicated that investment property and vacation homes make up a significant portion of the overall housing market, accounting for more than one-third of residential transactions. Acquiring a second home has grown in popularity over the last 10 years and in particular since 2003. Sales of second homes increased 16 percent in 2004 from the year before. NAR also estimates that 36 percent of buyers who purchased a second home bought a property that was more than 100 miles away from their primary residence.
Being licensed in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, I have the unique opportunity of providing clients the best of both worlds. Not only can Minnesotans have the warm weather get away when they are freezing, but my clients in Florida have a chance to own that cabin in the woods where they can curl up to a cozy fire. What ever you desire, now you can contact a specialist who has taken extensive education classes in order to represent you better. Maybe you can even take pity on this real estate agent and loan me your condo for a week?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
So when I told him I had to visit a bunch of local bloggers yesterday in St Paul, he just said "Have Fun!". Blogging has let me meet a lot of interesting people on line, including other real estate agents in states across the country. For a Realtor, having trusting people you can refer clients to, should the need arise, is essential to a sound business plan.
The Blog Tour hit St Paul yesterday and brought out the top local bloggers. It was nice to finally meet everyone in person, as some I have been speaking with on-line for a couple months. If you get the time, check out some other Minneapolis and St Paul bloggers who are making an impact on the blogosphere:
Monday, July 16, 2007
In Southwest Minneapolis, just between Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, sits a remarkable home unlike its neighbors. Built in 1906 for Frank E. Lovell, this Swiss Chalet style home was designed by Lowell Lamoreaux and is in fantastic condition. The balcony sweeps around the home and offers views of Lake Harriet.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Money Magazine recently released the 2007 Best Places to Live, and a couple of our Minneapolis suburbs apparently made the grade. The report specifically looked at towns with populations of between 7,500-50,000, as well as areas that "offered the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community".
Chaska was the top city from Minnesota, coming in at #8. Pros included:
- Quality of jobs
- Beautiful setting
- close proximity to technology and biotech firms
The other two local towns that placed were:
Apple Valley # 28th
Vadnais Heights #36th.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
- The Passing Lane - no longer do you pass on the left. Minnesota drivers love to go five under the speed limit, in the fast lane. They refuse to get over, so you can pass them, so you are left to either spend eternity behind them, or move to the slow lane and jockey for pole position.
- Speeding Up - My husband calls this "the test of manhood". If you try to pass a driver on the right side because they do #1 above, those drivers will choose to speed up so you cannot pass them. It's like you are questioning their manhood and so now they must show you their worth by not letting you pass.
- Driving on Your Bumper - also, another test of manhood. If you are lucky to get around said driver of #1 & #2, you have insulted them and now must endure them riding on your bumper for miles to come. Sometimes you might even get an evil look as you pass. Don't worry, these types hate to speed, so after a couple of miles they will eventually back off.
- Bad Traffic - Ok, moving away from the above, we now go to the phrase I laugh at every time I hear it. Minneapolis and St Paul residents will tell you traffic is very bad here. I beg to differ. After living in San Diego for three years, and also having to drive to LA every now and then, I know for a fact that traffic here in the Twin Cities is NOT bad. Try sitting on the 805 during rush hour, or better yet, the 15 through Riverside, then you can talk to me about heavy traffic.
- No Speeding - I have never been to a state where so many people drive at or below the posted speed limit.
- Can't Handle Curves - again, I have never seen a state where drivers cannot keep speed around a gentle interstate curve. Ninety degree turns are something else. I like cruise control, but nothing frustrates me more than having to put on my brakes because someone is scared of going the same speed around a 10 degree curve.
So there you have it, some local driving tips and things to look for should you find yourselves in Minneapolis, St Paul, or anywhere else in Minnesota.
If you have some driving insight that you would like to add to this "unofficial guide", add a comment!
Monday, July 9, 2007
Most of us have heard this phrase sometime in our lives and we usually live by it. But in some cases, the deal just sounds good. Take for instance the flyer I received in the mail from a local real estate company. Their goal is to prospect for renters that could be future home owners.
They have two photos of homes on the flyer, and in the upper corner of each home it says something like this: "Own for Zero down for $1052 per month P.I.*". Sounds pretty good, don't you think? (rents in the complex are between $1300-1600 per month)
Well, I noticed the little asterisk at the end of the statement, so I looked at the bottom of the page for the additional information. "Monthly payment is for 6.125% interest only". Wow, 6.125 is less than today's rate so they must be offering you a deal, right? Naturally our eyes travel to the rate, but what you might miss is the next piece "interest only". There's the catch.
I have a problem with this type of advertising because I consider it dishonest. Most people who are renting would love to own and would jump on this ad. But once they speak with the agent and lender associated with the ad, they will soon discover that on top of this price, one must add taxes and insurance. Getting someones hopes up, only to dash them a few minutes later, is not my idea of professionalism.
Here are my problems with the ad:
- Advertising an interest only loan in the market today is just foolish. Interest only loans are just as bad as adjustable rate loans. Buyers can afford the loan today, but will they be able to in the future?
- Interest Only means you are not paying any principal on the loan, and thus, never paying down the loan. To start to pay principle, you will have to refinance the loan, and with the way rates are going, your new rate could be a whole % more than the 6.125 shown in this ad.
- Many renters do not have the best credit, so they would never be able to qualify for an interest only loan. The lender knows this and wants to find them another type of financing. One major problem is that it is a "bait & switch" type of advertising. So the monthly mortgage rate you called about, most likely won't be available due to lack of credit qualifications.
So the moral of the story is to listen to your gut. If is sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. Make sure you read the fine print for the real truth behind an ad. And of course if you have questions, don't hesitate to call a professional for more information.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Today was 7/7/07. The news reported that there would be around 30,000 weddings across the nation today, just because of the date being all sevens. Well, we just came back from attending a wedding in the middle of Iowa today, and yes, they did get married today because of the date. So I was able to be a part of the celebrations across the nation. Wow, was it hot!
We have been away from the Twin Cities for a week now, and I have been trying to get posts in when I can. Tomorrow we journey back home and I will be able to get some quality posts out...if I have recovered by then.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I tried golfing when I lived in Florida, but it was always too hot, and I could never get a tee time early in the morning as the retired residents had those spots filled up for what seemed like years. Now that I am living in Minneapolis, there are endless opportunities for finding a good golf course, whether public or private.
If you don't know exactly where a course might be available to your locations, view this map to see some of the best golf courses across the Twin Cities.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Home Owners Associations have been popping up everywhere there is a new development for the last 15 years. Many times they are good for the neighborhood as they keep things neat and tidy. Other times it seems all they do is collect an annual fee, and let the neighborhood go to pot. In my real estate career, I have heard many a horror story, but let's face it, they are here to stay.
So what are things to look for, know, or ask, when you are buying a new condo or home in Minneapolis?
Here are a few ideas:
- How much is the fee and when is it charged? Monthly or annually?
- Can the HOA put a lien on your home if you don't pay?
- Get a copy of the Home Owners Association documents before putting in an offer and make sure you are ok with the rules
- In Minnesota, if you are looking to purchase a condo, the law says you have 10 days to review the documents. If you dislike anything, you can cancel the contract with no penalty.
- If buying new construction in a subdivision, what percent of completion is the subdivision at? Many times the developer will not turn the neighborhood over to the home owners until he has sold 75% of the lots.
If you are not sure, ask your real estate agent for help. Most of the time the agent will already have these questions answered for you.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
When ever I travel to other parts of the country, and they find out I am a Midwesterner, they always comment in this way:
"OH, well, you were too nice to be from here, so I knew you must be from somewhere else".
Then they follow up with something like this after I tell them where I am from:
"Midwestern people are so down to earth".
I think one of the best places on Earth is the Midwest. We do have hockey after all! So if you want to learn more about Minnesota and the Midwest, just keep reading my blog.