Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Janet Moore.

Posts about Buying

Droning on about drones

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 17, 2014 - 4:03 PM
In this photo taken on Friday, March 7, 2014 and provided by Foxfire Realty, Jonathan Collins, right, and Paul Grist, test-fly Foxfire Realty’s new camera-equipped drone at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, W.Va. The drone, named Chopper Foxfire, carries a high-resolution Go-Pro camera capable of taking high-definition video and still photos. (AP Photo/Foxfire Realty)

In this photo taken on Friday, March 7, 2014 and provided by Foxfire Realty, Jonathan Collins, right, and Paul Grist, test-fly Foxfire Realty’s new camera-equipped drone at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, W.Va. The drone, named Chopper Foxfire, carries a high-resolution Go-Pro camera capable of taking high-definition video and still photos. (AP Photo/Foxfire Realty)

If you read my Sunday story about the rising - and controversial - use of drones to help sell real estate, you might be interested in a couple tidbits on the topic:

  1. There was a gathering in Thief River Falls on Tuesday aimed at further the conversation about how to make Northwest Minnesota a drone hotspot, or a drone technology center. Here's the story from my colleague, Adam Belz.
  2. A recent item in the Wall Street Journal, and on a tech-focused website called TechCrunch, says that Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone startup that makes high-flying robots that was previously scoped by Facebook as a potential acquisition target.
  3. To counter the many misconceptions and misinformation about regulations related to unmanned aircraft system (aka drones,) the FAA recently released a new fact sheet that includes what it says are common myths and the corresponding facts.

Sales of $1 million-plus homes nationwide nearly double

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 11, 2014 - 12:29 PM

A recent CoreLogic MarketPulse report provides a graphic look at a trend that you'd intuitively expect: Sales of expensive houses rise and fall with the stock market. The chart below shows the relationship between sales of $1 million-plus houses, which now represent about 2 percent of all sales, and the performance of the S & P 500. Not surprisingly, they follow they course. Here's a link to the full March report.

March housing: Closings declined, prices and listings increased

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 10, 2014 - 10:46 AM

Twin Cities real estate agents say that a shortage of listings and harsh weather put a lid on home sales during March, but with fewer foreclosures in the mix and limited options for buyers in some areas, prices were up compared with last year. And those higher prices helped draw more sellers into the market. All of that is according to a monthly report from the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors. Here's a quick look at the Twin Cities housing market during March:

  • Closings: 3,133, down 16.7%
  • Pending sales: 4,141, down 8.4%
  • Median sales price: $190,000, up 7.6%
  • New listings: 6,492, up 5.5%
  • Inventory of homes for sale: 13,086, down 4.1%

This weekend's most expensive open house: A $3.495 million private peninsula on Lake Mtka

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 4, 2014 - 4:52 PM

Warmer weather is expected to bring out the house shoppers this weekend, and agents are at the ready with thousands of open houses in all corners of the metro and in all price ranges.

Here's the top-priced listing that'll be open this weekend: 2400 Cedar Point Drive in Woodland is a private peninsula that's listed at $3.495 million (that's after $1.455 million in price reductions). The property, which includes 1,693 feet of shoreline, is listed by Ellen DeHaven of Coldwell Banker Burnet. The owner, according to county records, is US Bank. Here's a link to the listing. The open house is from 2:30 to 4:30 Sunday.

More than half the homes on the market in seven major American metros are unaffordable

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 4, 2014 - 11:46 AM

More than half the homes on the market in seven major American metros are unaffordable, raising the threat of a price bubble in those markets, according to a new Zillow analysis of home price data from across the country. Most of those at-risk markets are not surprisingly on the West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.

No risk of a price bubble anytime soon here in the Twin Cities metro, where 31.8 percent of the houses on the market are unaffordable and 13.6 percent of their income is spent on their mortgage.

Nationwide, one-third of the houses on the market are unaffordable to the people who live in those cities based on the median area income.

The takeaway from the report is that as mortgage rates and home prices rise, affordability will wane, forcing families in those most-expensive markets to forgo buying or move far from the urban core where prices have become the most expensive. And Zillow says that if mortgage rates hit 5 percent, homeownes in the Twin Cities will spend 15.1 percent of their income on their mortgage.

Housing construction in the Twin Cities is on pace to beat last year

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 27, 2014 - 11:28 AM

Home builders in the Twin Cities metro are operating at the same pace as they did last year, but there' beena slight decline in requests to build apartments. That's according to a monthly report released today from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), which shows that during the past four weeks 360 permits were issued to build 482 units.

Compared with last year, that was about the same number of single-family houses, but an eight percent drop in total units because of a decline in permits to build apartments and other kinds of multi-family housing.

Shawn Nelson, Builders Association of the Twin Cities 2014 president and president of New Spaces, said that buyers are being motivated by several factors.

“Prospective buyers are seeing prices rise, inventories decline, and mortgage interest rates moving upward, all creating a sense of urgency for families to make the decision to buy now,” Nelson said. “Reports from builders in our Spring Parade of Homes have been very positive,” said

Year-to-date, there were 1,028 permits issued for a total of 2,011 units. That's a t 1.5 percent increase in permits and a 20-percent increase in planned units.

Moundsview took over the top spot in permit activity for the month in activity, permitting 99 units in one multi-family building. Blaine and Plymouth both came in second with 30 units permitted, followed by Lakeville with 29 and Medina with 20.

Here's a link to the full report.

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