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

Case-Shiller: Twin Cities home prices up 9.4% during January

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 25, 2014 - 11:23 AM

Home prices are increasing at a more moderate pace than last year in the Twin Cities and beyond, according to the latest Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index. A national 20-city composite for the month was up 13.2 percent compared with last year; the Twin Cities saw a 9.4-percent gain.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Twelve cities and the 20-city composite saw their annual rates worsen.

The 20-city composite posted its third consecutive monthly decline of 0.1 percent.

Las Vegas had the biggest annual gain (24.9 percent), but is still the farthest from its high set in August 2006.

Cleveland had the lowest annual gain (4 percent)

Here's what David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, had to say about the decline:

“The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather....expectations and recent data point to continued home price gains for 2014. Although most analysts do not expect the same rapid increases we saw last year, the consensus is for moderating gains. Existing home sales declined slightly in February and are at their lowest level since July 2012.”

 

Old Man Winter dealt Twin Cities home sales last month a mighty blow

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 12, 2014 - 10:27 AM

Brutal weather and a dramatic decline in foreclosure and short sale listings put the brakes on homes sales in the 13-county metro area last month, according to a new report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Here are the highlights:

  • Median sales price: up 14.4 percent to $183,044 - the 24 straight month of year-over-year median price gains.
  • Closings fell 14.0 percent to 2,465 properties.
  • Closings (not lender mediated) increased 6.7 percent.
  • Closings (foreclosure sales and short sales) fell 33.4 and 61.9 percent, respectively.
  • Foreclosures and short sales made up 30.3 percent of all sales compared with 43.9 percent last year.
  • New listings declined 5.0 percent to 4,616 overall,.
  • New listings (not lender mediated) were up 9.1 percent
  • New listings (foreclosures and short sales) fell 34.5 and 54.6 percent, respectively.
  • The overall inventory stood at 11,975 properties, a 9.6 percent decline and a 10-year low.
  • On average it took 99 days to sell a home last month, down 10.8 percent from last year.
  • At the current sale pace, there enough listings on the market to last just 2.8.

The quote that sums it all up: “It was an interesting month,” said Emily Green, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.  “While the market shifts back toward where it was before the bubble, we expect to see foreclosures and short sales become less prevalent, which can dilute overall numbers. Then you have the weather.”

Does your house have curve appeal? An oak bra with brass accents? Fresh pain and carpet?

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 6, 2014 - 2:42 PM

To commemorate National Grammar Day (it was March 4), Redfin teamed up with the grammar experts at Grammarly, an automated online proofreader, to see if grammar mattered to home buyers. Here's what they found:

  • Photos were more important than the home’s description, but 87 percent said the description was either extremely important or very important.
  •  43.4 percent of the 1,291 people surveyed said they would be much less inclined to tour a home if the listing contained misspellings or improper grammar.

Here's what Seattle Redfin agent Chad Dierickx had to say about the survey: “When buyers are browsing homes for sale, everything about the listing has an impact on their experience,” he said. “Photos grab your attention, but the listing description fills in the gaps by helping a buyer understand what photos can’t."

And Allison VanNest at Grammarly, : “A home listing filled with misspellings or grammar errors sends a signal to potential buyers that details are not important.”

Here's a link to the complete survey, but I'm interested in the funniest/worst real estate listing misspellings you've run across. Include them in the comments section of the blog.

Former Blue Cross tower in Eagan slated to become apartments

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: February 26, 2014 - 2:39 PM

An Eagan office tower that used to be the home of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is about to get a major make-over. St. Paul-based Interstate Partners has the 10-story tower and adjacent parcels under contract, and they plan to convert the tower into 112 rental apartments. Phase Two of the project will be construction of an additional 90 apartments and 30,000 to 40,000 square feet of retail along Yankee Doodle Road near Town Centre Drive, according to Interstate Partners partner, Lonnie Provencher.

The project received the first of three city approvals last night -  a comprehensive guide plan amendment. The property is now owned by Open Space LLC. Provencher said that he hopes to begin construction by the second quarter. Conversion of commercial space into housing isn't unusual, but very fewer office tours are suitable for such conversion. Provencher said that this building is perfect for such use because it has big windows, appropriately located elevators and "amazing" views of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. The most notable example of such a conversion was the transformation of a high-rise office building in Minnetonka into the Cloud 9 Sky Flats in 2006.

Redfin real estate moves into the Twin Cities

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: February 25, 2014 - 3:23 PM

Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage, hopes to woo Twin Cities home buyers and sellers with a

discounted commission structure and a focus on customer service. The company said today that it has officially opened up shop  in the Twin Cities, but at least in the short term will function without a bricks-and-mortar operation. The company has already been working with several Twin Cities-based "referral agents" who work for other brokerages, but announced the hiring of Chris Prescott, who has worked the real estate market in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years.

Prescott will be Minnesota market manager, and was most recently a partner in a local company that created marketing and social media programs for more than 200 local and national real estate agents. "When I heard that Redfin was coming to Minnesota, I knew that I had to be part of their mission to change real estate here in the Twin Cities," Prescott said. "After being in the business for 20-plus years, I am very excited about the opportunity to change the way real estate is done and make it better for buyers, sellers and agents."

Stay tuned for a story in the Wednesday Business section.

-Jim Buchta

Case-Shiller: December was a slack month for Twin Cities home prices

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: February 25, 2014 - 11:13 AM

A new report adds more evidence to what we already know: Twin Cities home buyers hit the brakes towards the end of 2013. After several months of double-digit gains, the latest Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home price index for the Twin Cities posted a 9.7 percent annual increase during December.Though prices are on the rise, they increased at a much more moderate pace than they have during much of the year.

The Twin Cities index, which tracks repeat sales of the same house for a rolling three-month average, stood at 138.14, which means that housing prices have increae just over 38 percent since January 2000.

Across the country, the housing recovery lost momentumThe report's 20-city composite increased 13.4 percent - 30 basis points lower than the November rate - with sand belt states posting the biggest increase. Las Vegas, for example, posted a 25.5 percent year-over-year increase.

Here's what David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, had to say about the report: "The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” he said. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over. Year-over-year values for the two monthly Composites weakened and the quarterly National Index barely improved. The seasonally adjusted data also exhibit some softness and loss of momentum."

In mid January I reported that home prices in 2013 posted the strongest gains in five years, but that in December sales slowed dramatically. Many experts blame the slowdown on wintery weather that's made buying and selling less than appealing.

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