Once a hunting retreat for a founder of the Gander Mountain sporting goods store, the Bird Wing Spa in Litchfield is on the market for $2.25 million. The property includes 557 acres, two miles of Star Lake shoreline, a pond, restored prairie and several buildings, including a restored barn, with a total of 16 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. First a private hunting retreat, for years the property was used as a wellness retreat and spa and was featured in a Star Tribune Travel story. Find out about our intrepid reporter's winter experience at the spa by clicking here. Better Homes and Garden Realty of Chanhassen, has the listing.
Paul Sigurdson, a long-time agent with Counselor Realty, was recently named Realtor of the Year by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR).
This annual award is bestowed upon "members for their volunteerism in the association and community. It’s given to those who display sincere commitment and devotion to the residential real estate industry," according to MAAR.
Sigurdson has been an agent more than 30 years and has severed on several community and professional boards and committees, including the food shelf in Columbia Heights. He was appointed by the
Minneapolis city council has served on the city's real estate advisory board from 1990-2002, has been active in the MAAR Public Affairs Committee and has served on the NorthstarMLS Board of Directors since 2003.
Here's what Emily Green, 2014 MAAR president, had to say: “Paul Sigurdson has worked tirelessly to promote and help direct our industry. Paul's efforts, from his work within the community to representing his Realtor peers on a national level, have helped to ensure a healthy marketplace for all Realtors and the clients we serve.”
The $7 million house that Grammy Award-winning music producer, Jimmy Jam Harris, built on Lake Minnetonka was sold for $2.6 million to a anonymous couple during a live auction at the 22,000 square-foot house on Thursday afternoon. The winning bid, which is pending approval by the owner of the house, JP Morgan/Chase, is close to what real estate agents say the land alone is worth.
Those buyers were among 11 registered bidders, including some who believe the house will be torn down. The auction took place in front of a kitchen island overlooking Lake Minnetonka, and was over in just a couple minutes before attention shifted to a very shiny creme-colored Rolls Royce that was stuck in the driveway, requiring the assistance of listing agent, Scott Stabeck.
Christopher and Sandra Hintz bought the property from Harris on June 26 2007 for $7 million, but stopped making payments and the house went into foreclosure.
I'm working on a more complete story for the Friday paper, stay tuned.
- Jim Buchta
Sen. John Pauly, who also owned a cigar company, built this house for his family in 1902 in the Homewood neighborhood in North Minneapolis. The house, which is at 1407 Fremont Avenue, isn't short on woodwork. It also has stained glass windows in most rooms, art glass doors on cabinets and built-ins. There's an original mural above the paneling in the dining room - you can see that in the picture above - and stenciling and pocket doors. There's even a bell locator in the kitchen that will tell the maid when someone in another part of the house needs more tea. Deb Wagner of Greenway Homes Realty, 612-226-1479, has the listing.
Annual home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 11 percent in December 2013 compared to December 2012, according to a year-end report from CoreLogic. That was the 22nd consecutive monthly year-over-year increase in home prices, though on a month-to-month basis, U.S. home prices fell slightly, decling 0.1 percent from November to December 2013.
Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, which uses recent sale data for its monthly Home Price Index (HPI), said the the 11-percent annual increase was the highest rate since 2005 and that 10 states and the District of Columbia reached new all-time price peak.
"We expect the rising prices to attract more sellers, unlocking this pent-up supply, which will have a moderating effect on prices in 2014."
In the Twin Cities metro, the December index for single-family houses, including foreclosures and short sales, was up 7.5 percent compared with last year. That was slightly lower than the national average, but the the 9th-biggest gain in the nation. On a month-over-month basis, home prices declined 1.4 percent in December.
the report follows an end-of-year report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR), which showed the median price of home sales, including all property types, increased 14.4 percent to $192,000, a five-year high. As I reported on Sunday, prices, are now 16.5 percent below the 2006 peak and 28 percent above the 2011 low, according to MAAR,. Nationally, CoreLogic's HPI was still 18 percent below the 2006 high.
Minnesota was a hot bed for house flipping last year, according to a new year-end survey by RealtyTrac. The report shows that 6.6 percent of all sales last year were flips, which grossed those flippers an average of $62,000. Nationwide, 4.6 percent of all sales were flips with a gross of $58,000.
Minnesota was also one of several markets that posted the biggest declines in flipping from 2012 to 2013, with flips falling 9 percent; nationwide flips increased 16 percent last year.
A flip, by the way, is defined as a single-family home that is bought and subsequently resold again within six months.
The report also shows that the biggest increases in flipping happened on homes with a flipped price of $400,000 or more, with flipping on homes that sold for more than $400,000 increasing 36 percent from 2012.
The average time to complete a flip nationwide was 84 days in 2013, down from 86 days in 2012 and down from 100 days in 2011.
Here's what Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, had to say about the situation: “Strong home price appreciation in many markets boosted profits for flippers in 2013 despite a shrinking inventory of lower-priced foreclosure homes to purchase....for the year 21 percent of all properties flipped were purchased out of foreclosure, but that is down from 27 percent in 2012 and 32 percent in 2011. Meanwhile flipped homes were still purchased at an average discount of 13 percent below market value in 2013, the same average discount as 2012, indicating that investors are finding discounted buying opportunities outside of the public foreclosure process — particularly in those markets with the biggest increases in flipping for the year.”