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.

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The NorthstarMLS and NeighborCity.com settle copyright dispute

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 16, 2014 - 3:49 PM

St. Paul-based NorthstarMLS and American Home Realty Network (AHRN), which operates NeighborCity.com, have come to a confidential settlement over a long-standing copyright dispute.

The NorthstarMLS, which manages property listing data for agents in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, brought suit against San Francisco-based AHRN in April 2012 alleging the group violated its copyright rules by publishing photographs and other data relating to real estate listings on AHRN’s NeighborCity.com, a referral site that included agent profiles and transaction-based "agent scores."

A preliminary injunction that was issued in 2012 by the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota said that AHRN should discontinue “any unauthorized copying, display, use, and/or public distribution” of NorthstarMLS’s photographic works and the agent remarks and public remarks in NorthstarMLS’s database.

The judge has yet rule on Northstar’s motions to exclude expert reports of AHRN and NorthstarMLS 's motion for summary judgment on counterclaims made by AHRN. Here's some background on the topic.

New leadership for HomeServices Relocation

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 15, 2014 - 2:58 PM

Steven John will replace Mary Lee Blaylock as president and CEO HomeServices Relocation. Blaylock will become senior vice president and general manager of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. HomeServices Relo is a division of Minneapolis-based HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway and parent company of Twin Cites-based Edina Realty.

John was mostly recently senior vice president of client services for RELO Direct where he was responsible for all relationship management, service and accounting operations, vendor management and technology. Before that he was executive vice president of client services for Prudential Relocation and has worked for several Fortune 500 companies in various management roles including finance, budgeting, operations and strategic planning. In his new role John will be responsible for expanding the size, scope and footprint of HomeServices Relocation, providing operational and financial oversight and serving as chief liaison for new and existing clients.

Blaylock is a veteran of the local market. She started in sales with Edina Realty in 1992 and in 1999 became vice president of Edina Realty Relocation. In 2004 she was named president of HomeServices Relocation, which now includes operations centers in Winston-Salem, NC, Philadelphia, PA, as well as at the Minneapolis headquarters. At California Properties, Blaylock will focus on improving internal processes and infrastructure, and will provide guidance and direction to the company’s 57 sales offices and more than 2,400 agents.  

Here's what Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO, had to say about the changes: “Steven brings a wealth of relocation experience and industry relationships to HomeServices Relocation. We are very pleased that he is joining HomeServices and have tremendous confidence in his ability to bring HomeServices Relocation to new levels of success. Mary Lee’s focus on the customer, her ability to work cross-functionally within the organization and her drive to succeed is without parallel. With her exceptional background of leadership and management success Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is well-poised for continued growth and success.”

Just Listed: Lynne Rossetto Kasper's splendid abode

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 12, 2014 - 2:07 PM
This Star Tribune staff photo was taken in January 2008 for a visit to Kasper's kitchen, her favorite room in house. The refrigerator has been replaced with a modern stainless steel model, but not the 18,000 BTU Wolf stove, which she calls "Babe," that was purchased with her first royalty check from her book "The Splendid Table",

This Star Tribune staff photo was taken in January 2008 for a visit to Kasper's kitchen, her favorite room in house. The refrigerator has been replaced with a modern stainless steel model, but not the 18,000 BTU Wolf stove, which she calls "Babe," that was purchased with her first royalty check from her book "The Splendid Table",

Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of the “The Splendid Table,” and her husband, Frank, are ready to downsize, so they're ready to sell.

The eight-bedroom brick house was built in 1911 and is on a double lot in Crocus Hill neighborhood in St. Paul. And yes, it has a big kitchen, including "Babe," a six-burner, 17,500-btu Wolf range she bought with her first royalty check.

Here's how Kasper described the house during a 2008 visit with my colleague, Connie Nelson: "It's a bastardized neo-classical with a 1950s rambler - complete with a picture window - stuck on the front. It's wacky. And big. There are parts of this house I haven't seen in three years."

Here's what attracted her to this house? "We bought it in part for the dining room. When it's gussied up and there are candles everywhere, it's all about romance. And it was the cheapest house in the neighborhood."

Her favorite room: "My kitchen is home to me. It's a working kitchen and most working kitchens aren't very glamorous. When you're in a kitchen every day, you start to understand what's necessary and how some things that look good aren't going to work."

Linda K. Warner of Coldwell Banker Burnet has the listing. Here's a link to a slide show tour of the house.

Despite a decline in home sales in the Twin Cities during August, prices were up for the 30th month in a row

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 11, 2014 - 10:29 AM

The housing market in the Twin Cities continues to adjust to growing declines in foreclosure listings, according to a monthly report released this morning by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. With fewer investors chasing foreclosures, there were 5,291 closings in the Twin Cities last month, a 7.3 percent decline compared with last yearAnd with fewer heavily discounted homes being sold and more traditional buyers on the hunt, the median price of those sales increased 5.3 percent to $219,001. That was the 30th consecutive year-over-year increase and the highest August median sales price since 2007. Here's a look at what happened during the month:

  • Inventory increased 8.7 percent  18,205 home from last year, the sixth month of year-over-year inventory gains.
  • New listings were flat, increasing 0.1 percent to 6,958
  • Pending sales decreased 7.0 percent to 4,802.
  • At the current sales pace there are enough houses on the market to last 4.4 months, slightly below equilibrium.
  • Sales of traditional homes (not bank owned) increased 4.6 percent while foreclosure and short sale closings fell 50.4 percent and 58.0 percent.

We'll have a full story in the Friday paper.

- Jim Buchta

Cash sales at the lowest level since the housing crisis began

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 10, 2014 - 3:07 PM

Cash sales made up 33 percent of all U.S. home sales during June 2014, the lowest share since September 2008 and down from 36.3 percent last year at this time, according to a monthly survey by CoreLogic.

Cash sales peaked in January 2011 when all-cash deals represented 46.2 percent of all sales. Such deals have been falling, however, since January 2013. Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales accounted for just an average of 25 percent of all sales.

In Minnesota, buyers paid cash in 24 percent of all deals. Here's a look at where cash sale were most common:

  1. Florida: 50.9 percent
  2. Alabama: 48.1 percent
  3. New York: 44.6 percent
  4. Kentucky: 40.1 percent
  5. Nevada: 40 percent

A slow-down in home sales hasn't made it any easier to find a spot to build a house in the Twin Cities

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 5, 2014 - 3:37 PM

A cooling housing recovery hasn't made it any easier to find a spot to build a house in the Twin Cities. In fact, lot inventory is at the lowest level since since early 2007, according to a 2nd-quarter survey from the Twin Cities office of Metrostudy, a national real estate research company. There are now 20,690 vacant developed lots throughout the seven-county metro, 7.9 percent fewer than last year.

In his report, Chris Huecksteadt, regional director of Metrostudy’s Minneapolis/St. Paul region, explains it this way: “The recent increase in new home demand has created a run on desirable vacant developed lots throughout the metro region. Lot supplies across the metro area are down to just 25.6 months, below pre-housing boom figures. As activity continues to increase we will need to see substantial lot deliveries across the metro in order to meet current demand."

Other hightlights from the report:

  • Almost 50 percent of all new homes started over the last 12 months were priced from $250,000 to $400,000 the largest percentage of starts in that segment since Metrostudy began tracking the market.
  • While more than 80 percent of all new starts are for single-family homes, rising price and a shortage of lots in the best locations will drive buyers into townhomes and other attached housing.
  • At the end of March, there were 2,769 new houses available for purchase, just 136 more than last quarter. Of that total, 2,035 (73 percent) were under construction, 486 (17 percent) were finished, but vacant and 248 (10 percent) are model homes.
  • At the current sales pace, the supply of new houses on the market would last 5.9 months, slightly below equilibrium levels of six to seven months. .


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