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
Gary Findell, center, with Dana Taylor, left, and Jim Erchul in St. Paul. NeuHus founder Findell plans to launch a modular-housing factory in the Midw

St. Paul development changes how affordable housing is built

With a star architect and high-end materials and construction techniques, the Village on Rivoli shatters many stereotypes about the quality and character of affordable housing.
Workers build a new home at a construction site in Woodbury in March 2020. (Staff photo by Leila Navidi / BACKGROUND INF

Twin Cities homebuilding up 50% in March

Although demand remains strong for single-family homes, rising prices and mortgage rates begins to weigh on market.
Konrad Noben-Trauth, molecular biologist

Konrad Noben-Trauth, molecular biologist who helped discover key genes, dies at 61

Konrad Noben-Trauth was a molecular biologist who helped discover the genes that cause hearing loss and obesity. When he needed a new intellectual challenge, he…
Subcontractor Sarah Stephenson installed appliances while master electrician McKeith Pearson and apprentice Noah Cappotto, right, put in lights for Fi

Twin Cities agents offer remodeling amid scramble for homes to sell

They offer to handle the renovation hassles to coax hesitant sellers to put their homes on the market.
AECOM is finalizing plans for a 7-story building with about 140 for-sale condos, half of which would be sold at below market-rate prices through an un

L.A. developer now envisions lower-priced condos for Mill District project

Pared down plan reflects uncertain times for downtown Minneapolis housing market.
Dan Frank listed this house in Minnetonka on Monday for $400,000. Quickly, he got 12 offers including one for about $70,000 more than the asking price

Few houses, eager buyers, rising prices in Twin Cities: 'It's just insane.'

Homes are selling in near-record time as median price hits $314,000 in February.
Home shoppers and their real estate agents waited March 4 to view a home for sale near Como Park in St. Paul.

Home buyers waive inspections in red hot Twin Cities market

Twin Cities area house shoppers are forgoing inspections and offering risky concessions, including sight unseen and "as is," in a tight market.
Stuart Simeko is about to start site work on a subdivision in Hastings that’s aimed at people who are 55 and older. He’s already overwelmed by the

Single-family homebuilding surges 32% in Twin Cities

Metro builders lament lack of supply amid dramatic increase in demand for housing.
Zillow is now so confident in its ability to estimate the value of a home without ever setting foot inside, it will make a cash offer on select houses

Zillow to make cash offers for houses in Twin Cities based on its 'Zestimates'

Zillow, other iBuyers say their approach makes selling a house easier; others are not so sure.
A building boom and global pandemic made for a challenging 2020 for Twin Cities landlords. Vacancies rose most sharply in Minneapolis, St. Paul and a

Good news for renters? Twin Cities apartment vacancies are rising

The market appears to be giving renters more clout, aligning supply, demand.
When Realtor Mark Parrish listed a $1.35 million house in Edina in early January, the first people who looked at it made a full-price offer on the fir

What's hot in Twin Cities area real estate: Million-dollar homes

Upper-bracket home sales are being fueled by record low mortgage rates, rising home equity and a hot stock market that's enabling wealthy homeowners to trade up to even more expensive homes.
Housing sales gains were strong in the Twin Cities area, including the downtown condo market, which had softened in recent months. Here, the Residence

Busiest January in 15 years for Twin Cities housing market

Last month ended with 43% fewer homes on the market than a year ago, suggesting a challenging 2021 for buyers.
In tihis September 2020 file photo, Susan Dusek, a realtor for Edina Realty, posed for a portrait in front of a r house for sale in the Congdon Park n

Minnesota housing market stays red hot in January

Home sales were up sharply across the state last month, with northern regions posting the largest gains.
Developer Patrick Crowe stood on the sky lounge of the Quentin, a 79-unit apartment building under construction in St. Louis Park and a showcase for t

Amid virus, developers woo Twin Cities area renters with fresh air

Purifying systems and other features are being built to ease concerns during pandemic.
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Hot January adds up to best start in two decades for Twin Cities homebuilders

With few homes on the market, a trade group says surging demand has 'the market moving at an incredible pace.'
Realtor Hyounsoo Lathrop listed this house in Stacy, an area that’s suddenly in demand.

Pandemic has more Twin Cities home buyers looking outward

Pandemic is turning Twin Cities housing market inside out, with remote work lessening downtown's appeal.
Bidding wars were the norm and prices rose to record highs, forcing buyers to several far-flung suburbs.

What were the hottest housing markets in the Twin Cities metro area?

With mortgage rates falling to record lows and a pandemic upending how and where people want to live, sales exceeded new listings throughout much of the metro. Find out how your community fared in our searchable Hot Housing Index for 2020.
Dustin and Alisa Gingerich pack in their St. Anthony Village house last summer after it sold for more than the asking price shortly after it was liste

Median price hit record $305,000 in red hot Twin Cities housing market last year

Buyers took advantage of historically low mortgage rates as the pandemic fueled a surge of suburban demand.
Sherman Associates plans to build a 21-story tower on a three-quarter block site that will include a new fire station at the corner of Washington and

Developers of two big apartment projects remain bullish on Mpls.

As the apartment-vacancy rate in downtown Minneapolis rises and developers struggle with market uncertainties and development challenges, plans to build two high-end towers with a…
Anthony Aguirre and his wife, Brooke, in one of their Minneapolis short-term rental homes.  (Staff photo by GLEN STUBBE •

Minneapolis cap on short-term rentals upsets operators, developers

Tightened regulations theaten an increasingly popular rental option, critics say.
The Daymark Apartments in Uptown is shown shortly after it opened in October 2020. (Staff photo: Brian Peterson) ORG XMIT: MIN2010161132220062

Twin Cities residents in lowest price apartments struggling most with rent, survey shows

Monthly trade group survey shows rent payments overall remain relatively stable despite economic strain.
Exterior of the completed model home and another one under construction in Eden Prairie. (Staff photo by  JEFF WHEELER/

For Twin Cities builders, 2020 was year of the single-family home

Apartments languished as buyers turned to bigger homes in suburban markets.
Jay Walljasper in 2007.

'Quiet message-maker' Jay Walljasper, former Utne Reader editor, dies at 65

In an essay published a few months before he died late last month, Jay Walljasper challenged the popular notion that everyone should maintain a single…
A house on Vernon Ave. S. in St. Louis Park is listed through the combined efforts of Zillow and Kris Lindahl Real Estate.   ]  JEFF WHEELER • jeff.

Disruption interrupted: Scramble is back on to become Amazon of home sales

iBuyers control just a sliver of the red hot U.S. housing market, but still believe convenience will help them prevail.
Roers has closed on the acquisition and financing to develop 200 market-rate apartments on nine parcels in West St. Paul.

Roers Cos. sees opportunity in changing rental-housing market

Firm adds to development team to boost offerings for seniors, working class.
At left. real estate agent Lasha Raddatz showed a home to Erica Buchanan and her daughter Ava Stocking on Blair Avenue in St Paul.

Twin Cities median home sale price hits all-time November high of $310,000

Sales keep surging, though agents say signs are emerging that buyers are getting wary of rising prices.
Dean Lincoln Hyers conducted a webinar training session from the dining room of his St Paul home to help attendees improve their virtual screen presen

Facing closure, St. Paul consulting firm refined its pitch when pandemic struck

Consultant SagePresence finds online pivot has it positioned for dual-role growth in 2021
Realtor Jim Schwarz in one of the townhouses under construction in his Sheldon Place development in Eden Prairie. Despite the pandemic, Twin Cities ho

November market stays hot for Twin Cities homebuilders

Despite the pandemic, Twin Cities housing construction permits continue to outpace last year.
Lupe Development Partners is moving forward on two rental projects aimed at low-income renters: An 111-unit building that opened on Lake Street in Min

Developer moves ahead with Lake Street, Edina apartment projects

Amid pandemic, apartments in Minneapolis, Edina target low-income tenants.
Despite the pandemic, “sold” signs are common all over Minnesota during 2020 as the market posted sales gains.

Home sales jump in rural Minnesota as COVID-19 reshapes housing market

North central Minnesota saw closings jump 63% in October, according to data from a trade group.
Developer Kelly Doran has obtained financing to build a pair of matching four-story buildings in St. Anthony with 492 units that will wrap around a co

Shuttered Walmart in St. Anthony to be replaced with 492 apartments

The development will include two buildings with tweaked designs to address COVID-related issues.
Real estate agent Pauline Olsen looked from a balcony in a condominium she is listing in downtown Minneapolis, where listings now outpace sales.

Buyers 'hold all the marbles' in downtown Mpls. condo market

Agents say that, for now at least, supplies of available urban condos and townhomes exceed demand
A for sale sign outside an Edina home in July 2014.

Twin Cities home sales surge led by 47% increase in Minneapolis

Low rates helped drive surge; the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped Thursday to 2.72%.
After years of planning and negotiations with neighbors, the largest apartment building in more than a decade in the Uptown neighborhood, shown here i

Twin Cities apartment rents moderating slightly as vacancy rates rise

Downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul are seeing the most empty apartments.
Rachel Miller, left, an agent with Kris Lindahl Real Estate, talked over the features of a home for sale with prospective first-time home buyer Claire

Pandemic creates boom in Minnesota real estate careers

Weary of uncertainty and layoffs, a bumper crop of new agents takes advantage of busy market.
Crews started work this week on a new five-story apartment building that will be married to the three-story Alden Smith mansion near Loring Park in Mi

Loring Park mansion is star attraction of 124-unit apartment project

New apartments near Loring Park will repurpose century-old mansion as a social hub.
In 2018, carpenter Caleb Morrison worked to frame out a home in Inver Grove Heights.

Busiest October in 15 years for Twin Cities homebuilders

Permit data show construction of single-family homes continues to surge, while far fewer apartments are being built.

Sally Jean Milroy, 87, was led by compassion, curiosity

Sally Jean Milroy's compassion nourished a long career in nursing. Her curiosity inspired her to start a cattle ranch and vineyard. As a mentor and…
With more people working from home and few companies hiring, many downtown dwellers are rethinking their options. But others are moving in.

Minneapolis, St. Paul housing exodus more myth than reality

Twin Cities suburbs have enjoyed surging interest from home buyers as the pandemic has upended how people work, amid rising crime and lingering unease following spring riots. But home sales are also on the rise in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Low interest rates are helping Twin Cities housing market.

Low interest rates keep Twin Cities home sales rolling along

Low interest rates fuel surge in demand in September, when sales usually slow down.
After years of planning and negotiations with neighbors, the largest apartment building in more than a decade in the Uptown neighborhood is open. Daym

Sons of Norway anchors biggest mixed-use addition in Uptown in decade

Daymark Uptown and a familiar tenant have settled in on West Lake Street.
The September report is the first meaningful decline in paying rents since the beginning of the pandemic and a likely sign that many of the lowest inc

Signs of 'financial stress' emerge in survey of Twin Cities rent payers

A greater share of metro apartment dwellers missed their rent payments last month as aid expired.
Shown is a rendering of a Mississippi riverfront project planned for Champlin. The first phase -- market-rate apartments -- are underway.

Construction is underway on first phase of Champlin riverfront revival

A restaurant, event center and pavilion are up next, all part of a sprawling $100 million redevelopment project.
A home under construction in Inver Grove Heights in 2018. Permits for new homes in the Twin Cities in September saw a 37% increase over 2019 and the m

Twin Cities homebuilders see busiest September in 15 years

The surge, the most since 2005, to build single-family homes is fueled by low rates.
Twin Cities metro area home buyers signed nearly 7,200 purchase agreements last month.

Low mortgage rates continue to fuel hot Twin Cities housing market

With nearly one-third fewer homes on the market than a year ago, the metro's median sale price rose 10%.
Erik McLaughlin packed up his kitchen as he prepared for his move from an Uptown apartment to the North Loop in Minneapolis, Minn, on Thursday, Septem

Rising vacancies spur discounts for renters in Twin Cities

Concessions are most common in upper-end Minneapolis buildings while renters in less costly apartments are unlikely to share in breaks.
A home construction site in Woodbury. Future prices for random lengths of board are $834 per thousand board feet, triple their April low and about dou

Why Minnesota lumber prices are going through the roof

A do-it-yourself home-improvement and construction boom has sent the price of lumber skyrocketing, as sawmills and strand-board manufacturers, including in Minnesota, scramble to keep up with surging demand.
Krista Browne and her husband turned the upper floor of their duplex in Minneapolis into a long-term rental that brings in less money than a short-ter

Twin Cities short-term rental market takes a beating: 'Our whole business shifted'

The travel downturn because of the coronavirus is hitting short-term leases especially hard.
Rendering from ESG Architecture & Design Aerial from Washington Avenue, looking southeast.

27-story apartment tower eyed for downtown Minneapolis

The proposed development comes as thousands of new units are in the pipeline for a downtown hit hard by a pandemic and unrest.
Until August, builders were on track to outpace last year by a healthy margin. Now, single-family permits are down about 9% year-to-date.

Twin Cities homebuilders see early chill in August

Builders point to COVID delays and regulatory issues for sharp decline in permits.
John Hubbell

John Hubbell, author and roving editor for Reader's Digest, dies at 93

As a roving editor for Reader's Digest, John Hubbell had it made. He worked from home, had an unlimited travel budget and crossed paths with…
A 12-story rental building will be built on what developers say is the last available redevelopment parcel in the Mill District. The project will cost

Developer plans 12-story apartment building in Mill District

Eighteen of the 255 units in the $75 million project will be income-restricted.
Cecilia Mische and her fiancé Grant Thompson talked with real estate agent Shawn Korby about the possibility of selling their home Tuesday in northea

Twin Cities home sales surge by 10%, median price hits $312,500

With relatively few houses on the market, sellers are getting more than their asking price.
Construction at the Larking Apartments by Kraus-Anderson at 8th Street and S. Portland Avenue in Minneapolis in April.

Vacancies expected to increase in Twin Cities apartment market

Developers plan to add thousands of new units in an economy upended by the pandemic.
Space for small retailers on the first floor of the Lowa46 Apartment complex on 46th Street has been empty for 20 months.

Twin Cities developers push back on mandated storefronts in apartment buildings

With rising commercial vacancy rates, developers are imploring city planners to let them build more apartment units on street level.
Rendering of St. Paul RiversEdge project

RiversEdge redevelopment project moves forward in downtown St. Paul, despite COVID

The state's stalled bonding bill is another complication as county leaders are seeking $40 million in state funding.

St. Paul nonprofit housing developer aims to grow with demand fueled by pandemic

The goal is to develop or acquire 400 to 450 units over the next several years in South Dakota, a CommonBond Communities official said.
Todd Russell, a commercial real estate adviser, with his Siberian husky, Isabelle, at his East Gull Lake dock.

Minnesotans working from home clamor to buy one at lake

Demand for houses on lakes that are a couple of hours from the Twin Cities is high, especially properties with decent internet access.
Crews worked on a home under construction in the Bailey Meadows development Friday in Newport.

'Where's all that money coming from?' July was a hot month for Twin Cities homebuilders

With buyers able to tap financing at low rates, demand is surging for homes.
Developers have pitched plans for two apartment buildings along Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis, including a five-story building that would repla

82-unit apartment building would replace longtime Nicollet Av. restaurant

The owner of Curran's cites the pandemic for ending a 70-plus-year run for the family business.
SoLo Apartments, a nod to its location in the city’s South Loop neighborhood, will include a new 172-unit rental building adjacent to a 306-unit apa

Aeon proceeds with $100 million affordable housing project in Bloomington

Nonprofit will build 172 new apartments and rehab 306 others on site near Mall of America.
On the first day Dustin and Alisa Gingerich listed their St. Anthony home, they received an offer well above their asking price. Metro home sales surg

Median home price at $305,000 as Twin Cities see surge in sales

After two sluggish months, metro home buyers returned in force last month but are competing for a dwindling number of listings.
Leading affordable housing owner, developer and manager, Dominium, announced that it is expanding its Minnesota affordable housing portfolio with the

Dominium begins work on $74 million apartment project in Roseville

The developer plans 228 units in two buildings as part of the first phase of redevelopment of former industrial site.
Solhem proposal for E. Hennepin & Central Avenue NE. It’s one of three projects up for review in Minneapolis this week. Rendering: Momentum Design G

3 Minneapolis apartment projects head for city review

The developer of a project proposed along E. Hennepin Avenue wants to include street-level apartments, dispensing with retail.
Andrew and Simone Strand held their 4-month-old son Eddie in front of their cabin in Grand Marais that they rent out as an Airbnb.

Twin Cities hotels struggle as rooms fill on the North Shore

Minnesotans are taking to the road this summer, boosting demand for resorts, vacation rentals and campgrounds in places where social distancing happens naturally.
Workers build a new home at a Cardinal Homes construction site in Woodbury in March.

Pandemic hammers Twin Cities homebuilders as permits drop 42%

June was the second consecutive month that saw a big drop in building permits, reflecting logistical challenges and unease over demand.
The affordable housing development that burned late Wednesday in south Minneapolis was a six-story building with 189 units that was under construction

Minneapolis vandalism targets include 198-unit affordable housing development

The apartments were expected to hit the market later this year.
Minnesota’s hotel sector experienced an 83% year-over-year drop in revenue per available rooms, including at Moxy Uptown in Minneapolis, pictured.

Report: Pandemic hotel swoon to cost Minnesota governments $170 million

Industry hit by a collapse in leisure and business travel worse than post-9/11.
Kristin Hodnefield, left, jokingly expressed her frustration with the home-buying process with her Realtor, Emily Green, while looking at a home in so

Buyers facing even tighter Twin Cities housing market: 'It's a dogfight out there'

Fewer houses are hitting the market and prices are drifting upward despite a grim economy.
A 25-story apartment project pitched for the Dinkytown McDonald’s site has been revised to a shorter building with more units over an added parcel.

No longer 25 stories, proposed Dinkytown apartment project goes before Mpls. Planning Commission

It will be among four large apartment projects totaling nearly 1,200 units combined that will be reviewed this week.
Men stand outside an apartment building in the Westlake District of Los Angeles. Compared with the rest of the nation, the Twin Cities area has long h

For now, no big increase to late rent payments in the Twin Cities

Payments faltered the most in less-expensive apartment buildings.
Essentially, mortgage rates have hovered below 3.6% ever since the U.S. economy was rocked by widespread shutdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Mortgage delinquencies double in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities and the nation saw delinquency rates surge to historic levels in April along with unemployment.
In this April photo, Elizabeth Mayer and Damon Madzey tour a townhome they bought that was listed by realtor Chris Willette, at right.

Policies limiting Twin Cities house showings and open houses to lift July 1

But some changes, like virtual tours, are likely to stick around.
Janet Jacobs laughed as she unpacked a box she had packed three years ago. Fred and Janet Jacobs were the first to move into the Pillars at Prospect P

COVID-19 has put a chill on the Twin Cities senior housing industry

Both developers and the residents they serve have been forced to reassess their plans.
Construction permits for apartments fell 72% in May, data show, a delayed effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twin Cities homebuilding hit hard in May

Permits for houses slip 25% after strong start.