Staff Directory 10644536

Jim Buchta

Reporter | Residential real estate
Phone: 612-673-7376
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: French

Jim Buchta has covered real estate for the Star Tribune for several years. He also has covered energy, small business, consumer affairs and travel. 


Buchta has taken breaks from those beats to edit the Star Tribune's Real Estate sections and Travel, and to ghost write a book about getaway homes. He also has an intense interest in architecture, agriculture and the environment. He lives part-time on a tree farm and has a particular expertise in building science and food.
Recent content from Jim Buchta
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Hot Twin Cities housing market cools off, except for entry-level homes

What had been shaping up as the best spring selling season in a decade is now threatened by a virus-induced economic downturn.
Workers at the Maven apartment construction site in Burnsville Tuesday morning.

Twin Cities apartment developers worry shutdown could idle projects worth billions

For now, work continues on dozens of new projects but many not yet underway could be shelved.
Artist Chuck Ungemach’s mural on Wycliff Street was one of a dozen in the inaugural Chroma Zone Mural and Art Festival.

What's the next North Loop? These five Twin Cities neighborhoods are on the rise

From destination dining to walkability scores, these five communities check all the boxes to become the Twin Cities' next hot spots.
Minnesota Realtors is calling for a halt to all real estate open houses statewide as a precuation to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Minnesota Realtors group says open houses should be halted

Agents are encouraged to use virtual house tours to minimize contact.
At their house closing, Mark Wollschlager and Julie Huang greeted Realtor Kath Hammerseng, who was available on a live video session on a portable ele

'Leave the lights on,' agents tell sellers as virus reshapes Twin Cities home sales

Realtors are changing the way they sell houses as they brace for economic downturn.
Tony Wiener of Cardinal Homes posed for a photo at the site of one of his homes being built in Woodbury.

Twin Cities homebuilders watch promising season turn sour

Just a couple weeks ago, Tony Wiener's Oakdale-based homebuilding and remodeling company was on track to have one of its busiest years ever. Today, he's…
A previous Parade of Homes tour home in St. Paul.

Twin Cities builders group hits pause on Parade of Homes

The event will be suspended until at least April 2.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Thursday that 16% of its members say virus fallout has affected buyer interest; a much smaller percent

Virus jitters hit the Twin Cities housing market

The fear of the economic fallout extending to jobs and incomes has some buyers and sellers on edge.
Mortgage brokers say they are as busy as they have ever been as mortgage interest rates dropped to the lowest level on record this week.

Twin Cities mortgage offices busy as low rates spark refi rush

"I've never seen anything like it before," one 30-year industry veteran said.
Real estate agent Daren Jensen stood inside the Richfield house that received 21 offers above a $325,000 listing price.

How competitive is Twin Cities housing market? Only 3 in U.S. are tougher

Competitive bidding driving price of many above asking price.
Construction workers work on the elevator shaft walls of a residential tower in October 2016. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune) leila.navidi@startribune.com

Twin Cities last month saw a 19% surge in permits to build single-family homes

Low mortgage rates, shortage of existing houses, led to big month.
Twin Cities-based Newport Midwest hopes to offer something unique in this market — a rooftop farm — with Agra, its 171-unit rental-building projec

Rentals with a rooftop farm may be coming to Minneapolis

Apartment developers in the Twin Cities are accustomed to ginning up out-of-the-box amenities aimed at wooing renters and setting themselves apart in an increasingly competitive…
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Twin Cities still dogged by shortage of affordable houses for sale

Sales increased last month as the number of houses on the market declined, pushing the median sale price to $270,000, a January record.
The recently opened Chamberlain Apartments in Richfield. The biggest rent increases came in the suburbs, which have seen relatively scant construction

Rise in average Twin Cities rents was the biggest in a decade

The 2019 average of $1,290 a month was nearly 6% higher than the year before, according to a Marquette Advisors report. For renters, relief could be on the way with more construction.
The home's lakeside.

Ranking the hottest housing markets in the Twin Cities

Find out how your community fared in our searchable Hot Housing Index for 2019.
Matt and Shannon Riebow’s new house is in Lino Lakes. They wanted to stay in Circle Pines but couldn’t find a suitable larger house.

Once-obscure suburbs are the new hot housing markets

First-time buyers and baby boomers are getting priced out of newer, more expensive suburbs and popular urban neighborhoods.
Senior plumbing inspector Richard Jacobs did a visual inspection on plumbing going into a building in downtown St. Paul in this fphoto from September

Twin Cities homebuilders off to a strong start in January

While rentals will dominate, low rates could boost new for-sale homes .
A luxury apartment tower could replace the controversial 40-story Alia condominium tower across the river from downtown Minneapolis.

Chicago developer pitches apartments on Mpls. site of scuttled luxury condo tower

A city commission will review a proposal by CA Ventures, which has two other Minneapolis projects in the works.
A sprawling mixed-use project that’s being called one of the largest in Maple Grove would have 550 rentals surrounding a hospital, offices and clini

Ryan, North Memorial envision 100-acre health village in Maple Grove

The development plan, which includes 550 rental units, offices and clinics, would enable the hospital to conduct an immediate expansion, its CEOs said.
Johnson, the outgoing president and chief executive of Minneapolis-based Catholic Eldercare, also knows that sometimes pictures alone aren’t enough

With boomers in mind, Catholic Eldercare expands creative programs for seniors

Residents find new and creative ways to share their lives.
Marshall Saunders, a former real estate brokerage co-owner, now helps agents and other business owners/experts produce and distribute podcasts.

Former St. Paul broker now helps real estate pros produce podcasts

Former real estate pro believes the platform is just the right medium to bring specialized content to niche audiences.
(From left) Gabe Totzke, Garrett Weinberg, and Donald Hetrick install second-story windows. Building homes June 2019 in Donegal neighborhood

2019 was busiest in at least 15 years for Twin Cities homebuilders

2019 was a blockbuster for residential construction, up 21% over last year
Plans to develop tiny home settlements in the Twin Cities are being based on the model of Community First! Village in Austin, Texas.

Twin Cities nonprofit sees solving homelessness via tiny houses and broad community support

A nonprofit is betting that solving homelessness requires small house groups and a broad community to lend support
Brooke Bundy and her husband listed their Minneapolis house for $399,900. Within a day they had multiple offers. The sale closes next week.

Twin Cities median home sale price sets November record

Demand for least-expensive houses goes unmet, but move-up inventory is plentiful.
Mike Green hosted Thanksgiving dinner in Entertainment Suite A of the Moline Apartments in Hopkins. It features a fully outfitted kitchen, table for 1

Twin Cities apartments add 'entertainment suites' to woo downsizing baby boomers

Decked-out gathering spaces with fully outfitted kitchens and dining tables are big enough for the whole family.
Rendering of Maven Apartments, a $23 million complex being built by Roers Cos in Burnsville.

If you're amazed by number of new rentals, wait until next year

Apartment developers are on track to deliver a record 6,000 new units this year and even more in the coming year — most of them in the Twin Cities suburbs.
Pocket listings, also known as coming-soon and off-market listings, have become increasingly common in the Twin Cities and inner-ring suburbs where de

Realtors group looks to tighten restrictions on pocket listings

New policy would require prop­erties to hit MLS sites just after marketing starts.
Architect Jeffrey Mandyck said, “We need policy solutions … and the public needs to be able to envision and advocate for a better built environmen

Minnesota architect talks of the need to promote a better built environment for all

Jeffrey Mandyck explains the cutting-edge 21st Century Development (21CD) model and matrix.
Joan Marie Mathews-Larson

Joan Marie Mathews-Larson, founder of addiction recovery center, dies at 90

Distraught after a son's death, and baffled that the treatment didn't work, she started researching the underlying causes of addiction.
Housing construction in the Twin Cities this year is outpacing 2018 with apartments leading the way to what is likely to be a record year for multifam

Housing construction outpacing 2018 in the Twin Cities

It is likely to be a record year for multifamily units. Production of single-family homes is catching up quickly.
The Mall of America.

'Angels caught me,' says boy thrown over MOA railing

The 5-year-old Woodbury boy, critically injured in April, is back in school and walking without a limp, according to his family.

Man slips under ice near Cloquet despite rescue efforts

Officers heard his calls for help but were unable to get to him in time.
Johnny Fuerst of J Fuerst Real Estate Photography has photographed thousands of houses over the years. He says he is responding to changes in technolo

Phone app by Twin Cities real estate photographer aims to upgrade amateur house photos

Local real estate photographer is developing tools to help amateurs take top-quality real estate photos on their phones.
The median home price in the Twin Cities metro for October set a record.

Hot times for homes priced above $300,000 in Twin Cities

Shortage of Twin Cities entry-level homes continued in October as sales were brisk for higher-priced properties.
Developer Jim Graves, shown with his wife, Julie, is betting that there is a big enough market for all the seven-figure condos that are appearing in t

Ranks of million-dollar condos have tripled in Twin Cities amid 'robust' demand

Four new projects in Minneapolis will bring about 180 new condos priced in excess of $1 million to one of the most rarefied real estate markets in the metro.
The Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole will take up a proposal Thursday to convert a former factory at 1010 S. 7th St. in Minneapo

Apartments key to developer's plan to revive Strutwear Knitting building in Minneapolis

The building across the street from U.S. Bank Stadium struggled to attract office tenants and has been empty for at least a decade.
An Edina Realty sign outside of a home in June 2017.

Edina Realty expands in northeast Minnesota by adding office in Virginia

The company said the Virginia office will operate as a satellite of its Duluth hub.
A Chicago developer has submitted a new plan that would pare a proposed 25-story high-rise apartment in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University

New plan pares Dinkytown apartment tower from 25 floors to 9

The shorter building would have 300 rental units; city planning staffers have concerns about the proposed design.
Single-family home construction in Cottage Grove this summer. Unexpectedly low mortgage rates and a shortage of existing houses affordable to first-ti

Twin Cities builders enjoyed best October in at least 16 years

Residential construction started slow in 2019 but has gathered steam in recent months.
The Northside Artspace Lofts will be built on the north half of a block along N. Irving Avenue in what’s known as the Glenwood Avenue West Market Di

Mpls. neighborhood hopes 100-unit apartment building will fend off gentrification

Artspace's 100-unit building will go up on once-blighted site in the Harrison neighborhood.
Garth Rockcastle, left, and Tom Meyer, two of three founders of MSR Design
Meyer says sustainability and building performance will be even more critic

Is Twin Cities architecture too meek? Retiring MSR Design founders share their views

The Minneapolis architecture firm founded in 1981 has racked up nearly 200 major design awards.
Ian Harrison stood outside his southwest Minneapolis home with his children Stellan, 8 and Phoebe, 3.

For Twin Cities housing market, fall is in the air

Prices are still increasing despite slowing sales, but at a slower rate than last year.
Janet Lewis explored a third-floor unit. Many millennials are willing to rent micro apartments in exchange for common space and lower rent.

Wave of the future? Downtown Minneapolis micro units rent for $1,250

Developer says the 17-story downtown Minneapolis complex is already half-leased
After years negotiating with landowners, and contentious meetings with neighbors, a developer is closer to building a high-rise apartment complex near

Proposed 25-story apartment tower renews debate over Dinkytown's future

A Chicago developer is pitching an ambitious project that would reinvent a commercial block that includes the McDonald's at 4th St. and 15th Av. SE.
The project team walked through a courtyard that separates the Green Communities building, left, from the more energy-efficient Passive House building

Minneapolis apartment project makes airtight case for sustainability

A northeast Minneapolis apartment building appears to be meeting expectations for extremely low energy use.
Gabe Totzke (left) and Donald Hetrick install a second-floor window. Background Information: Construction crews work on building homes in the Donegal

Apartment, home construction continues at hectic pace in Twin Cities

September new construction permits up 6% from last year, as supply of entry level existing homes remains tight.
Rick Carter, CEO of LHB architecture and engineering firm.

Minneapolis architecture giant makes key acquisition to expand affordable housing

LHB architectural and engineering firm bought St. Paul-based CRA in deal that closed Tuesday.
Rosedale Center’s south end and parking lot will become a “neighborhood,” with apartments, hotels, offices and even green space.

Rosedale's $100M 'lifestyle center' project set for next year

Rosedale's plan is to build a new neighborhood with offices, apartments, green space and shops, as well as retail.
Rendering of Eleven on the River, which will break ground next month in the Mill District.

Financing set for $190M downtown condo building — the biggest in Minnesota

Work set to begin on Eleven on the River in the Mill district, but the nearby Alia project is a no-go.
Bill Evans

William Evans, New Orleans-style jazz musician, dies at 83

William "Bill" Merritt Evans didn't have much formal training, but he became an internationally known New Orleans-style jazz musician with a flawless ear for chord…
Anita Rockwell, founder of home-staging company Stage Works, put the finishing touches on the family room of a St. Louis Park home Wednesday.

Twin Cities housing market sees more discounts; median sale price hits $286,800

Sellers accepting slightly lower prices for homes as market enters slow season
Developers want to demolish two buildings and integrate two more into the project, which will include hotel rooms, a restaurant and a couple bar/loung

Developer of historic North Loop block pivots from offices to a hotel

Developers to present modified plan to Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission on Tuesday.
“This is a new adventure for us,” Kelly Doran said of the 25-story Expo apartments and related units Doran Cos. is building behind St. Anthony Mai

Developer to City Hall: Your low-cost apartment rule may drive me out

A planned ordinance that requires builders to include income-restricted units in new buildings may push Doran Cos., one of city's biggest developers, out of the market, its leader says.
The atrium staircase at Capella Tower in June.

Nearly 300 U.S. Bancorp workers to move to Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis

The bank said workers will move into redesigned space on the 10th floor of the 58-story Minneapolis tower.
Built to rent: All 66 houses in Maple Grove’s Mills Creek are rentals. The development appeals to millennials who don’t want a mortgage and retire

In Maple Grove and Plymouth, a new kind of housing is going up: Rentals

Investors hope to draw a new generation of renters who want maintenance- and mortgage-free life without sharing a wall, hall or garage.
Single-family home construction is booming at the Kingston Fields development in Cottage Grove. ] Shari L. Gross ¥ shari.gross@startribune.com Over t

Twin Cities homebuilders enjoyed the best August in five years

Builders are now pulling permits to build houses at a brisk pace after a slow start to 2019.
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Home prices keep rising in Twin Cities, but pace has slowed

A widely watched national home price index shows prices in June increased 3.9% over previous year.

Offices pitched for one of North Loop's last warehouse buildings

Lakeland Floral building could soon be transformed into offices and commercial space.
Nicholas Nicome helped his mother, Susan Cevette, move into the Rafter, a new apartment building in northeast Minneapolis.

Low vacancy rates make it tough for Twin Cities apartment renters

The vacancy rate remains low in much of the metro, but the average cost is not.
Ben Peters shows Brianna and Thomas Williams a duplex in St. Paul's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood. ] MARK VANCLEAVE ¥ Ben Peters of the Mission Real Es

July home sales up 4.5%, median price hits $283,700 in Twin Cities

Upper bracket homes accounted for much of the sales increase as entry-level houses remained scarce, according to an industry report.
Mortgage rates are falling, meaning that millions of homeowners can refinance their mortgages and save money.

As mortgage rates tumble, rush to refinance for savings is on

Mortgage refinancing applications are running about double last year's pace, a trade group says.
Jonathan Valverde, left, and Daniel Gomez of J&E Drywall worked on mudding walls at Ray and Donna Bronson’s move-up home in Edina early this month.

Cool housing market could mean less remodeling action in '20

Fewer home sales, economy jitters and even the election could mean less work for remodelers.
Bill Baxley, principal and managing director, Gensler

Gensler design firm's new Minneapolis offices are an idea showroom

"We think of our whole office as a workshop and the design lab is the heart of our shop," said Bill Baxley, principal and managing director.
A construction worker walked through a line of homes under construction in the Twin Cities in June.

July was second good month in a row for metro homebuilders

Buyers are looking at new houses as the median price for existing homes approaches $300,000 in the Twin Cities.
Chicago-based Cedar Street Companies will pay $13 million for three vacant warehouses and a parking lot that once housed the Duffey Paper company.

Chicago developer latest to pitch project at North Loop's Duffey Paper site

Cedar Street Cos. envisions 200 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space in the North Loop neighborhood.
A Coldwell Banker Burnet sign is shown in St. Louis Park in this photo from March 2015.

Need a real estate agent? Amazon to offer referrals in Twin Cities

The online giant is partnering with Realogy to offer a referral service in 15 metro areas.
Movers carried out items from an Edina home in this file photo from July 2014 (FIle photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune) ORG XMIT: MIN1407111611081253

Median home sale price in Twin Cities hits record $290,000

But the number of entry-level listings on the market has fallen throughout the year, stifling home sales, which fell 8.2% in June from a year ago.
Hines is moving forward with plans to build a pair of glass and steel towers in the North Loop neighborhood, including a 35-story apartment tower with

Sprawling apartment, office complex planned for North Loop

The large mixed-use development on the edge of downtown Minneapolis would be home to thousands of new residents and office workers.
The Vicinity Apartments by Sherman Associates, under construction in Minneapolis in early 2019.

Developer agrees to scale back short-term rentals at Minneapolis complex

Sherman Associates, facing neighborhood pushback, is reducing the number to 25.
Minneapolis-based North Bay Cos. wants to build the Halo Hotel and Apartments on a 2.18-acre site in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.

2 Minneapolis projects featuring hotels to go before Planning Commission

Both mixed-use developments are seeking height variances and have been recommended for approval by city staffers.

Home Avenue owner is busiest Twin Cities agent in Real Trends ranking

National list ranks real estate agents in four criteria.
Kraus-Anderson plans to build a 16-story luxury apartment building with 341 apartments on the 800 block of S. Portland Avenue in Minneapolis. ] CARLOS

$105M luxury apartment tower set for up-and-coming part of downtown Mpls.

On the heels of its mixed-use headquarters projects, the developer is tackling a $105M apartment tower next door.
During June, metro-area cities issued homebuilders 711 permits to build 1,480 units, according to Housing First Minnesota.

Twin Cities homebuilders show some life after lull

Permits for single-family homes rose 21% over last year, ending a long swoon
The vacancy rate downtown will also be significantly impacted when the 1.2 million-square-foot Dayton's redevelopment opens in 2020. Above, a renderin

Big projects could put pressure on Minneapolis office market

Dayton's, RBC Gateway projects could increase vacancy rates, study says.
Minnestay’s Lance Bondhus, right, talked with potential buyers Sophie Rupp and Harrison Wagenseil at the Sable in the North Loop.

Twin Cities landlords roll out red carpet for short-term rentals

It's an increasingly popular option for travelers, snowbirds and those who don't want to make a long-term housing commitment, but it's also meeting resistance.