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As the recovery begins to show up in tax assessments, there remain some wide differences.
“Residential is so determined [by] location and style, location and style,” said Atchison. “Are you in Brooklyn Center or Edina? Is it a rambler, a split, a condo?”
In Scott County, net tax capacity is up in the northern, more populous suburbs, while it continues to slide in some of the more remote exurbs.
Even so, the overall drop last year in home values of 8.2 percent was the worst in recent memory, while the turnaround this year — though modest at 2.6 percent — is the first increase on the bottom line since 2007-2008.
The speckled nature of the recovery, as opposed to a time when everybody’s values seemed to drift upward perpetually, can be seen even from one city neighborhood to the next.
In Minneapolis’ East Calhoun neighborhood, for instance, detached homes are up $60,000 over the past 12 months, to $510,000, said appraiser Kevin Meeks. But condos have dropped steeply in both of the past two years, from $216,000 to just $122,000.
“The market is all over the board,” said Bruce Erickson, of Coldwell Banker Burnett, who is working with Meeks on a pair of properties on the near south side. “And it’s hard to deal with expectations when people are hearing on the radio the market is up 20 percent. … On average perhaps, but in a given case, you can’t be sure.”
Tale of two houses
As if to illustrate the point, on Thursday Atchison and Meeks toured two wildly different properties just three minutes apart in south Minneapolis — each in its own way grappling with the nature of the recovery.
On Aldrich Avenue, an over-exuberant listing price last spring has resulted in a lot of frustration for the sellers. Buyers just won’t bite despite what may be the most adorable “note from the sellers” ever written. “My 8-year-old daughter cried when we left her house and still asks if we can go back,” the seller wrote. “She intends to buy it back when she is old enough.”
Said Erickson: “We first went on [the market] at the end of March, and it’s been on and off the market a bit since then. The seller now lives in Seattle, it’s essentially a vacant home now, except for a few things of mine I’ve brought in.”
On Pillsbury Avenue, meanwhile, in a mansion big enough for a small convention, the pair were awaiting signs of the kind of big run-ups in value that would justify a healthy price — one that will allow their art-collecting seller to recoup at least part of the immense investment to restore the structure from a time when it was a shambling shadow of its once grand self.
“It’s an up market, and I’m slam-bangin’ busy,” Erickson said, “but it still really isn’t the old days, when everyone’s values always seemed to rise.”
St. Louis Park assessor Bultema agreed.
“You see some of the percentages and you go, ‘Holy cow!’ ” Bultema said. “But keep in mind, Brooklyn Center came down really hard. So while the recent change can look hugely impressive, where they’re at now is still pretty low.”
David Peterson • 952-746-3285