Building activity is rebounding with gusto in Hugo, which before the recession claimed the fastest rate of population growth in the metro area.

Last year, 90 single-family homes were built, most in the Waters Edge and Diamond Point East developments. Another indicator of housing revival is shown in diminishing numbers of lots, said City Administrator Bryan Bear.

"The number of available lots in the city is very low," he said. New residential lots soon will be platted to address the demand, he said.

Hugo's location along Interstate 35, north of White Bear Lake and south of Forest Lake, has new residents who work in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The city of about 14,000 residents, once a sleepy farming center, has doubled in population since 2000.

Bear said people are talking about how the housing market is bouncing back. "They will tell you, 'Pick an indicator, any indicator,' all of the things they track, they're very strong right now," he said.

Kevin Giles