One of the defining characteristics of the real estate market last year was a broad shift in demand for housing in or near Minneapolis. That trend, which continues, has been driven by buyers who want to keep their commute as short as possible and to be near shopping, jobs and transportation. Lower, post-crash housing prices opened up markets that were previously unaffordable for many buyers, including many young families that were priced out of these communities.

Plymouth is one of several inner-ring suburbs that had little developable land going into the housing crash, but had several large commercial and industrial sites that were ripe for redevelopment as demand for new housing increased last year. For example, a golf course was replatted for housing, and several national builders, including Lennar, already owned a handful of unfinished subdivisions that were launched over the past couple years. In fact, last year Plymouth issued 268 permits to build 465 new housing units, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, making it the metro area's third busiest market for housing construction last year. Much of that new construction was priced at $400,000 and up, pushing prices up throughout the community.