Home buyers in the Twin Cities outdid themselves last week. During the week ending August 23, there was 4.5 percent increase in pending home sales in the metro. Pending sales, an indication of future closings, have been down for much of the year because as investors exit the market and traditional buyers replace them. This was the first increase since July 5, but unlikely the beginning of a trend. Home sales this year are expected to fall short of 2013. Here's a link to the complete weekly report.
U.S. house prices, including distressed sales, are expected to increase 5.7 percent from July 2014 to July 2015, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Index.
The report also shows that house prices in the Twin Cities increased slightly slower than the national average during July, the rising 6.2 percent higher from last year and 1.5 percent higher than the previous month. Nationwide, annual prices were up 7.4 percent, the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.
We'll have the lastest local numbers on August 12 when the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors releases its monthly sales report, which I expect will show another decline in sales, and a moderate increased in home prices. Here some highlights from the CoreLogic report:
With home sales down and apartment development in a lull, home and apartment construction slowed considerably in the Twin Cities metro this month. During August home builders were issued 413 permits to build 532 units - a 50 percent decline in planned units compared with last year, according to data compiled by the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Here were the top-five cities for construction during August:
Here's a first look at the condo tower Jim Stanton of Shamrock Development wants to build at 8th St. and Portland Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Stanton, always willing to take a chance, now owns the quarter-block site in the Eliot Park neighborhood just a couple blocks from the new Vikings Stadium where he plans to build a tower (designed by Oertel Architects Ltd in St. Paul) with about 15 floors and about 110 units.Though thousands of apartments are under construction in the city, only a couple solid proprosals have been presented. Stanton's plan has yet to make its way through the city and community approvals process, but Stanton is confident it will move forward this fall. He was the first developer to build new condos post-Recession in Minneapolis and the market responded favorably. At StoneBridge Lofts, which is along Gold Medal Park in the Mill District neighborhood along the Mississippi River, all but eight of the 164 units sold less than a year after the building was finished. Stay tuned for a full story in the Friday paper.
If there's office space, then Metro Transit's Blue Line extension (also known as the Bottineau Line) must be happening.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Committee unanimously recommended renting an office in Crystal for the Blue Line Extension Project. The Met Council will vote on the proposal at its Sept. 10 meeting.
If approved, Met Council staff will negotiate with Crystal Gallery Developers for a 20,000-square-foot space in the Crystal Gallery Office Building. The lease is expected to last for seven years beginning Oct. 1, for an amount not to exceed $2.6 million.
Mark Fuhrmann, Metro Transit’s program director for New Starts projects, noted in a statement that it was almost three years ago to the day that the Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT Project) reached this phase to enter project development.
He said only two other states – Maryland and Texas – have two projects simultaneously in the pipeline. “We are now members of a very exclusive club,” Fuhrmann said.
The Transportation Committee is expected to authorize an engineering services contract next month. Consultants from the engineering services firm will be working in the project office, along with staff from Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County.
“That’s the model we have employed since 1999 on Hiawatha [LRT], and it’s proved very successful,” Fuhrmann said. It’s imperative to have staff under one roof to solve problems, he said. It also saves money because the consultants don’t have to rent separate office space and purchase their own IT equipment, he added.
With an abundance of construction cranes towering around the metro, this should come as no surprise: Construction contracts in the 13-county Twin Cites metro during July were up a whopping 71% percent compared with last year, accoriding to the latest McGraw Hill Construction report: