Twin Cities-based HomeServices of America, Inc. said that after a decade-long courtship, the company has acquired Prudential Rubloff Properties, one of the leading brokerages in the Chicago market.
Speaking from Chicago where he announced the deal, HomeServices CEO, Ron Peltier, said Prudential Rubloff Properties and its subsidiaries will merge with Chicago area brokerage Koenig & Strey Real Living Real Estate, which HomeServices acquired in September 2009. Next spring those combined companies will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group.
Terms of the deal, which includes the company’s subsidiaries, Rubloff Insurance and Sterling Title Services LLC, were not disclosed, but the deal will create a single company that will have nearly 1,600 agents and staff in the Chicago metropolitan area. Last year, the combined firm closed more than $4 billion in sales volume.
The company is expected to be the second-largest brokerage in that market, and it's a deal that Peltiering has been trying to put together for more than a decade, and it follows several acquisitions already this year.
Home sales in the Twin Cities metro slowed considerably last month, but inventory constraints and fewer foreclosure sales caused the median price of all closings last month to increase more than 11 percent to $195,000. That's according to a monthly report from the St. Paul and Minneapolis Area associations of Realtors released this morning. These are the highlights:
A decline in closings isn't unusual at this time of year, but the decline in pending sales is worth a closer look. Were prospective buyers in a holding pattern last month because of the government shut down, or did a slight increase in mortgage rates delay sales? Are higher prices limiting the pool of buyers? Probably a combination of all those factors, we'll know more in the coming months.
The 2014 market predictions are rolling in slowly, but surely. Here's the latest:
Speaking at the National Association of Realtors annual conference, Lawrence Yun, the trade group's chief economist, said that home sales will hold steady next year, but prices will continue to rise due to a low supply of homes for sale.
He predicts that median home prices nationwide, which now stand at about $200,000, will increase 6 percent next year after an 11 percent gain this year. He said that with new home construction still far from historic levels, the inventory shortage will not go away.
He also expects that with refinancings falling, lenders might loosen home lending standards to increase originations, and that could increase sales.
We'll know more about the health of the local market on Tuesday morning when the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors posts its monthly sales report for October. I'll post those numbers on JustListed at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Stay tuned.
- Jim Buchta
Fallen St. Paul developer, Jerry Trooien of the JLT Group, recently sold this Summit Avenue manse in a short sale for nearly a half-million dollars less than he paid. The sale was recorded on August 29 for $958,000 with a previously recorded sale price of $1.4 million in 2002.
The house, which was built in 1901 at 965 Summit Av., has been on and off the market since 2010. It has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and about 7,500 square-feet, and has an estimated market value of $1.6 million with annual property taxes of about $35,000, according to county records, which also describe the sale as a "Forced Sale Or Legal Action Or Foreclosure." The listing agent, Silvana Zoraqi of Edina Realty, said that because the house sold for less than was owed on the mortgage, it was a short sale.
Trooien, whose empire was been plagued by legal disputes with lenders and problems in his commercial real estate portfolio, filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, owing creditors $284 million. He exited bankruptcy in 2011.
Federal prosecutors charged nine people with defrauding mortgage lenders of more than $14 million at Cloud 9, a former office building in Minnetonka that Trooien’s firm redeveloped into condos at the height of the housing boom. Trooien has not been charged in the case.
As housing prices rise in the metro, these short sales are becoming far less common.
Housing for low-income renters and buyers is getting a boost from a $54 million funding program that will help create 1,904 units of affordable housing statewide.
Here's a link to a map, and list, that shows who's getting the money and where the project is located.
The awards include deferred loans, amortizing loans, rental assistance and housing tax credits that will help build or renovate apartments and houses throughout the state. The projects range from a $20 million renovation of a high-rise senior housing building in Minneapolis to dozens of for-sale single-family houses in northern Minnesota that will help provide workforce housing for employees of Polaris Industries and other companies that are having trouble attracting workers because the housing in the area is too expensive.
“From new construction for townhomes in suburban areas to rental assistance for households with long histories of homelessness and homeless families with young children, this funding represents our deep commitment to housing stability for all Minnesotans,” said Mary Tingerthal, Commissioner of Minnesota Housing.
The announcement comes in the midst of tough economic times for many Minnesotans, the share of folks who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing is still high.
UPDATE: This measure was passed by the City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee Thursday afternoon.
The committee considered a plan to put an indoor golf facility atop the Seventh Street (or Ramp A) parking garage, an idea that has been bandied about for many years.
Actually, the idea has morphed since the late 1990s to include the roof of the adjacent Hawthorne Transportation Center parking ramp, as well.
Now, two groups, Downtown Rooftop Golf LLC and Downtown Rooftop Youth Center LLC, are proposing additional activities for the vast space, including playing fields, a running/walking track, clubhouse, retail/food outlets and perhaps a green roof performance space -- in addition to some type of golf facility. Part of the space is expected to be indoors, and part outdoors.
Details have yet to be worked out, according to Elwyn Tinklenberg, former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, who is a spokesman for the effort. The first step involves the committee authorizing city staff to negotiate a long-term airspace lease with MnDOT over Ramp A. (MnDOT owns the ramp.)
Tinklenberg did not know how much the facility would cost to build, but said it would be funded through private sources and perhaps grants from foundations.
The idea is to offer the city's burgeoning residential population access to open space, and offer athletic space for youth-enrichment activities.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.