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 Kristen Leigh Painter.

Posts about Debt

10 percent of all Twin Citians still owe more than their house is worth

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 7, 2014 - 10:57 AM

Rising home prices have put a serious dent in the number of people who owe more than their house is worth in the Twin Cities and beyond. During the fourth quarter of last year 10.2 percent of all people with a mortgage were underwater, according to CoreLogic, a national real restate research firm. That's down from 16 percent last year, but up very slightly from the previous quarter.

Nationwide, nearly 6.5 million homes, or 13.3 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity territory at the end of last year.

Negative equity happens when house prices decline and/or when mortgage debt increases. Across the country,the national aggregate value of negative equity was $398.4 billion for fourth quarter 2013, compared to $401.3 billion for third quarter 2013, a decrease of $2.9 billion.

Here's Mark Fleming's, CoreLogic's chief economist, take on the situation: "The plight of the underwater borrower has improved dramatically since negative equity peaked in December 2009 when more than 12 million mortgaged homeowners were underwater," he said "Over the past four years, more than 5.5 million homeowners have regained equity, reducing their risk of foreclosure and unlocking pent-up supply in the housing market."

Keenan Raverty is the new president/chairman of Minnesota Mortgage Association Bell Mortgage

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: October 22, 2013 - 12:38 PM

Keenan Raverty, a vice president at Bell Mortgage, is the new president and chairman of the board of the Minnesota Mortgage Association (MMA), a trade group that represents thousands of mortgage professionals statewide.

Raverty is currently the chair of the MMA Government Affairs Committee and sits as a member of the MMA board of governors. Raverty is also a past president and board chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Minnesota and the Mortgage Association of Minnesota (MAM), where he has worked for over five years.

The MMA was formed in 2007 when the MAM and the Minnesota Association of Mortgage Brokers merged.

Bell Mortgage is a division of Bell State Bank and Trust Bell Mortgage and is Minnesota’s oldest and largest privately-owned mortgage-banking company. Raverty lives with his wife and four children in North Saint Paul.

Twin Cities rents rising at fastest rate in a dozen years

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 11, 2013 - 2:42 PM

Despite the construction of thousands of new apartments in the Twin Cities metro, rents have risen at the fastest rate in a dozen years. That's according to a 2nd-quarter "2x4 Report" from the Minnesota Housing Partnership, which shows that  rents have increased 8.5 percent in the last three years, and now average $979 per month.

Here's a link to a story that I wrote last month about the overall state of the metro-area rental market, including detailed vacancy and rent prices.

I'll be covering this topic in the coming days, and would love to hear about your experience in the rental market. Are you a renter who has had to move, or make other adjustments, because your rent has gone up? Or did you find that rents were so high, you decided to buy instead? Send an email to jim.buchta@startribune.com.

- Jim Buchta, residential real estate reporter.

Apartment demand continues to outpace construction

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: November 2, 2012 - 1:07 PM


They're renting them as fast as they can build them. That's the take-away from the latest Marquette Advisors report, which shows that the average vacancy rate in the Twin Cities metro stood at 2.7 percent, up only slightly from 2.3 percent last year. That's despite the absorption of more than 1,000 units during the quarter. Low vacancies mean higher rents. The average rent price in the metro was $951, up 2.8 percent from last year. 

With more than 14,000 units planned for the metro, how long will vacancy rates remain so low? I'm trying to find an answer to that question - check out my story in the Saturday paper.


Wacky weather = higher insurance premiums

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 29, 2012 - 2:43 PM


Extreme weather conditions in Minnesota are having a big financial impact on the family budgets across the state, according to a variety of sources, mostly in the way of much, much higher homeowner's insurance premiums. If the premium you pay on your homeowners insurance policy has taken a big jump recently, call my colleague Jennifer Bjorhus - she'd love to hear your story. She's at 612-673-4683.

Under water on your mortgage? Here's how to refinance

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: July 11, 2012 - 10:46 AM


If you read our recent story about record low mortgage rates and owe more than your house is worth, you might feel like you’ve missed the refi boat.

Don't give up just yet. Check out the government’s newest Home Affordable Refinance Program, which is aimed at helping people who are underwater on their mortgages refinance. Unlike an earlier version of the program, HARP2 has no limit on how underwater you are on your mortgage, but  you must have a Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-funded mortgage and be current on your payment.

Click on this link to find out if you might be eligible.


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