Staff Directory 6370612

Jim Buchta

Reporter | Residential real estate
Phone: 612-673-7376

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
Construction in 2021 on the 204-unit Astor House Apartments in Eagan.

As apartment construction stalls and vacancies fall, Twin Cities rents are likely to rise

Nearly 20,000 new apartments have been built in the Twin Cities area over the past two years, but construction is quickly tapering.
4Marq apartments, on Marquette Avenue, feature a screen over several floors of parking.

Luxury apartment tower on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis fetched many bids, sold at value

Washington-based Weidner Apartment Homes bought 4Marq Apartments, near the Nic on 5th Apartments the company bought last year.
Construction crews work to complete units at the Lennar at Lynwood housing development in Ramsey on Tuesday. Last month, Twin Cities house closings we

'If they need to move, they're going to': Twin Cities buyers not waiting for lower mortgage rates

Mortgage interest rates, which have inflated house payments and chipped away at buying power, average around 7.09% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but home sales are still on the rise.
The Ovation apartments in Hopkins, which should finish building this fall.

While homebuilding is up in the Twin Cities, apartment construction is way behind

At a time when there's already a shortage of housing in many parts of the metro, apartment developers have received only enough permits to build 115 apartments and other multifamily units, 55% fewer than last year.
After the recent National Association of Realtors settlement about commissions, many buyers, sellers and their agents are left wondering what this mea

What commission changes mean for Minnesota homebuyers, sellers and agents

The National Association of Realtors' settlement, reached in March, is most likely to affect those looking to purchase a home.
Sean Boley washes dishes as Betsy Ohrn holds daughter Esme, 1, while spouse Tye Schulke and their son Axel, 3, help Sara Kemper and daughters Ivy, 4,

Friends split a mortgage, share a home to beat high housing costs

A growing number of nonmarried people are sharing the high cost of homeownership.
Dale Mulfinger of SALA Architects poses for a picture at his Minneapolis office on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Event will celebrate 20 years of Home of the Month contest and offer peek at top residential projects

An upcoming event will offer a peek inside top residential designs and a chance to ask architects and homeowners questions.
Realtor Jonathan Sells posed for a portrait next to a SOLD sign ouside a home he recently sold in Minneapolis on Monday.

Interest rate angst hasn't stopped Twin Cities area home buyers

Despite mortgage interest rates remaining high, the spring market is rife with listings and purchases.
Jessica Mogilka, executive vice president at JLL, is pictured inside a lab at University Enterprise Lab in St. Paul on Wednesday.

The Twin Cities is

As much of commercial real estate in Twin Cities struggles, med-tech flourishes

While office buildings from the suburbs to downtown Minneapolis struggle for survival, construction on more buildings in the life sciences sector is increasing, adding hundreds of thousands of square feet of labs, production space and research facilities to the Twin Cities.
Real estate agents Nate Campion, Tricia Anderson, and Carrie Gibbs with Century 21 Moline Realty stand for a portrait outside a manufactured home Camp

Homeownership could cost you under $100,000 if you consider a manufactured home

Formerly called mobile homes, these types of dwellings could be a good bet for prospective buyers struggling with record home prices and rising rents.
A home that was sold by realtor Terry Ahlstrom after multiple buyers bid on it in Richfield. ] LEILA NAVIDI ï BACKGR

Edina Realty opens first Florida office to capitalize on Minnesotans who head south for winter

The brokerage has 75 locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin,
Ralph Burnet sat in a small suite in the Chambers Hotel on Aug. 31, 2006. The real estate mogul died Tuesday in Minneapolis at age 78 from Parkinson�

Minnesota real estate mogul Ralph Burnet dies at 78

Burnet's companies, including Coldwell Banker Burnet, helped change the way people buy and sell houses across the nation.
Lakes Area Realty's Mackenzie Owens, left, shows a south Minneapolis home to first-time homebuyer Nicole Neumann.

Twin Cities sees surprise influx of home listings as agent commission uncertainty looms

There are more sellers, but there are also more buyers, so competition is stiff and houses are selling quickly.
Movers from Matt's Moving Company carried out items from Lee Anderson and William Fehrenbach Edina home on 7/11/14. The two are moving to a downtown M

What does the national settlement on home commissions mean for the Twin Cities?

The National Association of Realtors settlement changes how commissions work, shocking the industry.
Apartments have been available for residents since the start of February at Maison Green in Edina, Minn., as seen on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. 


Apartment developers swarm Twin Cities suburbs as low housing inventory, high mortgages persist

With more than one-third of all new units hitting the southwest suburbs, that area could be one of few soft spots for rentals in 2024.
Dominic Papatola unpacks boxes in the office of his new home on Grand Avenue in St. Paul on Jan. 12. Papatola sold the house where he and his wife rai

Middle-income buyers struggle to find a house in their budget in most Twin Cities suburbs

A Star Tribune analysis shows how much income a buyer would need to afford the median priced home in each city.
Real estate agent Jeffrey Dewing secured a sign outside a house he’s selling in Wayzata earlier this month.

Inside the most expensive city in the metro: Wayzata

The most expensive city in the metro on the Star Tribune's Hot Housing Index sold for $394 per square foot last year.
Real estate agent Zack Zehrer checked in on a house he’s selling in Lauderdale. He said half of those interested in the house want to live in the ho

These areas have the most, least expensive starter homes in the Twin Cities

Finding an entry-level home for $300,000 or less in the metro could lead you anywhere from an inner-ring suburb to an exurb to the city itself.
Libby Jacobson and Kyle Staunton walk through their new house with real estate agent Kathy Borys, left, in St. Anthony, the third-hottest city in the

Move-up buyers with disposable income fueled the hottest Twin Cities housing markets

The index analyzed nearly 35,000 home sales and showed that many of the most popular neighborhoods catered to those looking for more space despite higher mortgage rates.
Where does your city rank in the Star Tribune Hot Housing Index?

Where does your city rank in the Star Tribune Hot Housing Index?

With mortgage rates higher than in previous years, move-up buyers drove sales in the Twin Cities in 2023.
A summer view of the Mesaba Red-painted Lutsen Lodge from the cobblestone beach.

Lutsen Lodge was 'phenomenal legacy' of a top Minnesota architect

The more than 100-year-old resort was a touchstone on Lake Superior for many before fire destroyed it.
Real estate magnate Sam Zell made a $100 million profit selling the Normandale Lake Office Park, the largest office complex in the state, in November.

Hennepin County property tax collections are lowest in decades

When large commercial properties fail to pay their taxes, ordinary residents have to make up the difference to fund city, school and park services.

Ryan Cos. buying bulk of 263-acre former Thomson Reuters campus in Eagan

The builder and developer hasn't released details on its plans for the 179-acre parcel.
Shelly Billiet of Edina Realty prepares for an open house at a three-bedroom house she has listed in St. Louis Park for $389,900.

Twin Cities home sales down 18% last year, lowest in 20 years

New-build home sales were up but did not make up for the low inventory of previously sold homes.
Kay Grobel, left, a leasing manager with Risor, showed an apartment floor plan to prospective resident Pat Goewey of Prior Lake.

How financing issues are stalling Twin Cities area apartment boom

Like office loans, apartment debt is short term, requiring borrowers to refinance or modify their debt every few years.
Canvas Apartments in northeast Minneapolis is a $71 million, 160-unit, income-restricted project that will finish this spring.

Twin Cities area home builders had a lackluster 2023

A steep and steady decline in apartment permits led the downswing this year.

Fed-fueled mortgage rates decline could break up Twin Cities real estate log jam

After the Federal Reserve Bank hinted at rate cuts in 2024, real estate experts think mortgage rates could follow suit and open up the housing market after a tight year.
A cyclist rounded the corner onto Nicollet Mall across from Target. The Minneapolis Foundation’s strategy includes transforming Nicollet Mall to dra

A 24-hour Nicollet Mall? It's one idea to revamp downtown Minneapolis

A Minneapolis Foundation report offered several strategies for how to revitalize the traditional business district after the pandemic.

IDS Center owners negotiate loan extension amid tenuous downtown Mpls. office market

The agreement gives Florida-based Accesso more time to line up permanent financing several months after missing a balloon payment on the $151.7 million loan.

Survey finds widespread U.S. support for higher density to bring down housing costs

A recent Pew survey found that nearly nine in 10 said they would back efforts to expedite permitting processes, while about half support policies that allow builders to construct smaller lots and homes closer together.

Minneapolis Fed survey predicts tough times ahead for commercial and residential developers

The outlook is worst for homebuilders in the Fed's six-state region, who are concerned that new work may soon run out.

A bump in Twin Cities home building reflects buyers' appetite

Despite a late-season increase in home building, residential construction in the Twin Cities has been the slowest in at least five years.

Why townhomes are the star of Twin Cities area housing market

Townhouses account for upwards of a quarter to a third of all new housing for some Twin Cities area builders.
Theressa Ruiz, program manager at homeownership counseling center PRG Inc., looked at a first-generation housing assistance website to be launched nex

Can't buy a house because you don't have a down payment? Help is on the way.

Freddie Mac recently launched DPA One, a website that connects buyers with dozens of down payment assistance programs in 48 states.
The IDS Center is one of many office buildings across the metro that's having financial trouble. in Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. T

With expiring leases and scarce financing, angst grows for Twin Cities office building owners

Though office workers are steadily returning to their desks, there's growing unease across the metro about what will happen when billions of dollars in loans soon come due.
Sales of new homes, like this 1,821-square-foot house in Cottage Grove, were down 4.7% last month from the same time a year ago. This house was on the

Twin Cities home sales continue to dwindle, and prices continue to rise

Mortgage rates are ticking down and the decline in newly listed houses is shrinking, though.
There’s been an increase in construction of suburban apartments, like this Hastings project, which North Dakota-based Enclave Companies developed.

Apartment vacancy rate falls in downtown Minneapolis, rises in suburbs

The suburbs, especially those along the west edge of the metro, have seen a surge in construction, while construction in the urban core has slowed.
U.S. Bank has signed another long-term lease for its headquarters in its namesake tower along Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

U.S. Bank recommits to downtown Minneapolis amid record office vacancies

The Minneapolis-based bank signed another long-term lease for its headquarters in its namesake tower along Nicollet Mall and will move hundreds of workers downtown after vacating leased space in Richfield.
This three-bedroom, one-bath house in St. Louis Park was listed in early September for $225,000. Being sold “as-is,” meaning it needed some fix-up

One reason home buyers shouldn't give up hope this fall

New data suggests the overall housing market churn is slowing in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota.
Jake Rondeau started his day by working at his desk in a standing position at IMRIS’ new office space in Chaska.

Twin Cities area office vacancies rising even as employees return to in-person work

The metro market is like a game of musical chairs, with companies downsizing space while upgrading amenities.
New construction was in the works this summer at a subdivision in Cottage Grove.

Mortgage rates hit 23-year high, but that's not stopping Twin Cities homebuilding

Twin Cities builders had their best September in nearly two decades.
A realtor outside of Uptown apartment complexes Weidner Apartment Homes now own.

West Coast investor on apartment buying spree in Minneapolis

Higher mortgage rates are stifling commercial real estate values, and sales, but Weidner Apartment Homes is investing heavily in Minneapolis.
Sick, the German microchip manufacturer, just closed on the land purchase for the second phase of its North American headquarters, pictured Monday, Se

German company plans new office building in Bloomington amid vacancies

New office development in the Twin Cities has been virtually nonexistent, as the average vacancy rate in many suburbs hovers near all-time highs.
Many homeowners are now reinventing their houses rather than trading up to a different house and a much higher mortgage rate.

Can't afford higher mortgage rate but outgrowing current home? Try these house projects

Many homeowners are now reinventing their homes rather than trading up to a different one and a much higher mortgage rate.
Shelly Billiet of Edina Realty prepares for an open house in St. Louis Park.

Twin Cities housing stock sinks on higher rates, but prices keep climbing

Home sales for August were down 12% year-over-year.

Two from Twin Cities, both 23, die in St. Louis County crash; driver hospitalized

The crash happened early Saturday on a curve on Hwy. 8, about 45 miles west of Duluth near Floodwood.
When the Nic on Fifth was completed in fall 2014, it was the first high-rise luxury apartment development in downtown Minneapolis in nearly 30 years.

Luxury apartment tower in downtown Mpls. sells for $70M

Upon opening in 2014, the property was the first new first high-rise luxury apartment development in downtown Minneapolis in nearly 30 years.
In this June 24, 2021 photo, lumber sits outside at a housing construction site in Middleton, Mass.

High mortgage rates aren't stalling Twin Cities area home building

On Thursday, Freddie Mac's weekly survey showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.18%.
A downtown Minneapolis office condo in the Gaviidae Common has a new owner.

Developer United Properties sells former HQ in Gaviidae Common on Nicollet Mall

The deal came one week after the $225 million office sale in the new RBC Gateway tower on Nicollet Mall, which United Properties also developed.
Demand has been strong at the Peregrine, a new apartment building in Minneapolis along the Mississippi River for people who earn 30% to 80% of the are

New Twin Cities construction means that fall will be a good time to rent an apartment

Increased options should make for more deals in parts of the metro area.
During July, the median price of all sales was $375,000, on par with last year and just shy of an all-time high, according to a new monthly report fro

Twin Cities area home prices hold steady despite dwindling listings

Most houses are still selling quickly and for more than the asking price.
Wendy Fossum and John White Jr. walked their dog, Hamilton, around downtown Minneapolis on Aug. 9.

Why downtown is Minneapolis' fastest growing neighborhood

Office towers still dominate the Minneapolis skyline, but the spotlight downtown is now on housing.
Single-family permits went up nearly 40% in July, the first annual increase for any month since the beginning of last year.

Single-family construction rises in Twin Cities as builders look to increase starter home supply

Builders pulled 446 single-family home permits during July, a 38% increase from last year.
The RBC Gateway Tower is one of the 10 tallest buildings in downtown Minneapolis at 37 stories.

High-profile Mpls. offices sell for $225M amid 'flight to quality'

The sale of 16 floors of the nearly new tower — which also houses the Four Seasons hotel, restaurants and condos — is one of the biggest office sales in the nation this year.
Jesse Forsell with EXP Realty, right, showed Tyler Jordan-Taylor a home in Golden Valley. Jordan-Taylor and his husband, who bought a home in Minneapo

High interest rates chill Twin Cities area housing market

New home listings are plunging as higher mortgage payments scare off move-up buyers, who don't want to pay double the interest of their current rate.
The seniors at Pillars at Prospect Park joined children from the on-site day care to attend a musical event in the community room that Nora Paoli from

'Grandfriends' welcome: New senior living developments aren't just for seniors

More developers are embracing the idea of giving older adults opportunities to interact with those outside of their age range.
Chief O'Hara taking the oath of office last November.

Minneapolis police chief says he never saw video of new hire's use of force

Person rescues child, is treated for burns after house fire

The fire destroyed the house, which is 37 miles southwest of Duluth.

One man dead after a rollover crash north of Fargo, N.D.

A 24-year-old driver was killed after being thrown onto the highway and struck by another vehicle.
Two people were injured and another person was killed in a crash in Robbinsdale, Minn., Saturday, July 8, 2023.

One person dead after fleeing car collides with minivan in Robbinsdale

Two people were injured, including the driver of the fleeing vehicle.
Thomson Reuters new office space is adjacent to the Minnesota Vikings’ practice facility in Eagan.

Thomson Reuters chooses new downsized office, just 4 miles from old Eagan space

The company will now be adjacent to the Minnesota Vikings' TCO Performance Center.
LaSalle Plaza Tower is seen Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in Minneapolis.

LaSalle Plaza in downtown Minneapolis sold for about one-fifth of cost to build it

Twin Cities-based Hempel Real Estate bought the tower and plan to add many amenities, including an indoor pickleball court and a private car service.
A view of Target Field and the Central Business District Wednesday afternoon, June 7, 2023 from the 18th floor of the residential tower that is a comp

Changing downtown Minneapolis is at a crossroads

Nearly a third of all downtown office space is dark, a rate not seen in decades and even outpacing the financial woes following the dot-com bubble and the Great Recession.
Realtor Mitra Rahimi stands in front an Eden Prairie home that sold in two days after having 28 showings and receiving eight offers.

Home prices in the Twin Cities fell slightly in May, but sellers still made bank

Pending home sales were down, causing prices to decline a bit.

Staging your home can sell it quicker and for more. Here's how to hire a pro

Even though it's still technically a seller's market in the Twin Cities, staging your home for sale might still be a worthwhile investment.
The seniors at Pillars at Prospect Park joined children — their “grand-friends” from the on-site day care — to attend a musical event in the c

Is this the end of Minneapolis and St. Paul population boom?

The urban core swelled in the 2010s, but two new sets of population estimates indicate that growth in the Twin Cities is slowing down.

Minneapolis floats new vision for downtown's Nicollet Mall

No buses and looser liquor rules were among the recommendations put forth by a task force of advisers that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey assembled.
Multifamily building under construction in Hastings.

Twin Cities area homebuilding decline slows while apartment construction falls

Builders pulled enough permits to build 487 single-family homes, 13% fewer than last year.
Albert and Sundia Briscoe received about $40,000 in down payment assistance to help buy their Minneapolis house.

Is it finally a good time to be a first-time homebuyer in the Twin Cities?

The Legislature recently approved a $150 million housing-assistance package aimed at helping thousands of first-generation homebuyers.
Celeste Sawyers is a first-time buyer who closed on her house in St. Paul last month. There were multiple bids on the house, so she paid more than the

Home sales and listings declined, so Twin Cities buyers still pay above asking

During April, the median price of all closings was $367,500, a nearly 4% increase from the previous month but a 0.7% decline compared with last year.
The Fred is a 400-plus apartment project next to the 43-acre Fred Richards Park in Edina from developer Solhem Companies. It’s one of several major

Twin Cities home builders keep retreating, wary of overstock

In April, builders received enough permits to build 386 single-family houses, 38% fewer than last year. Apartment construction was down even more dramatically.
Andrea Cegielski nabbed a more than $20,000 discount on her townhouse, plus $10,000 in closing costs, all thanks to the builder looking to offload inv

Spring could be a turning point in Minnesota housing market

For the first time in more than a decade, many builders are offering discounts and deals ranging from price reductions to appliance upgrades in an effort to offload inventory.
Rendering of North Loop Green, a new development near Target Field.

KPMG leaving Wells Fargo Center for North Loop, downsizing space

The accounting firm is the latest business to leave the core of downtown and downsize space.
Shoppers in the last days that the Sears at Mall of America was open in March 2019.

U.S. Supreme Court sides with Mall of America in lease battle over former Sears space

The ruling allows the mall's owners to continue to legally challenge a holding company's $10-a-year lease for the empty space.
Jostens CEO, Michael Burgess, at the headquarters in Bloomington.

Jostens in Bloomington is latest company to downsize office space

Jostens will sublease two of its three floors of headquarters space in a Bloomington building.