Downtown Saint Paul continues to grow

The residential population of downtown St. Paul keeps growing. There were only about 4500 people living downtown in 2002 that grew to 6,604 in 2010 to 7,911 in 2014, that number is expected to skyrocket to 14,280 by 2020, an 80 percent jump. (According to the Metropolitan Council)

It seems like there are more people downtown on nights and weekends than there are during the workday. If you were to travel back to the 1980’s or 1990’s there were more businesses and people working downtown than there are today but not many residents.

Some of the things that make downtown fun are the parks, the Farmer’s market and the union depot and of course the ballpark and the Xcel center. It gets very crowded downtown when there is a hockey game.

Downtown is a wonderful place to live. It is the most walkable neighborhood in St. Paul. There is always something to do and lots of places to eat.

Housing consists of condos and apartments in all price ranges. In recent years there has been some building going on. Most of it has been apartments including some new luxury apartments.

The median price per square foot for a downtown condo is about $202. The median price per square foot of a Saint Paul home is $142. The median sale price in downtown St. Paul is lower the median sale price for the entire city.

The downtown Saint Paul housing market is a bit different from the rest of the city but is also experiencing a shortage of homes for sale. If you have been thinking about selling your condo now might be the time to do it.

There are currently 30 condos on the market ranging in price from $129,900 to 1.8 million. This year they have been selling in 45 days or less on average.

Median sale prices – St. Paul and downtown St. Paul

 

What I learned from the crash

It isn’t hard to remember back to the housing crash and the great recession. The period left a mark on the housing market.

Up until about 2007, I truly believed, based on past experience and housing performance that housing would always appreciate in value from one year to the next.

Yet I watched as my own home decreased in value by about 40% between 2006 and 2011. It was still worth more than twice as much as we paid for it and today it might be worth slightly more than it was worth in 2006.

It doesn’t really matter unless we sold it and even then we would have to pay more for a house to move to then we would have had to pay in 2011.

crystalballI think everyone knows that I can not predict the future but I get inquiries from people who want to move to our marvelous city and they want to know how much a home in a given area will appreciate. People who already own homes in the area will sometime contact me and ask me how much their home will be worth in five years.

There are oh so many variables it just isn’t possible to predict what a home will be worth at some point in the future. During the recent housing market crash, we saw that in some neighborhoods home prices did not go down as much as they did in other neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods that saw the most depreciation during the crash are now seeing the greatest percentage increases in home values.

 

Don’t ask your real estate agent to predict the future and always remember that past performance does not guarantee future results.

In fact, there are few guarantees in life. However, buying a house is one decision I have never regretted even when it was worth less instead of more.

Know where the snakes live

Snake

There places in St. Paul where garter snakes are abundant. We should start seeing them sunning themselves as the soil starts to warm up. Some people are terrified of snakes, even the harmless garter snakes that live in St. Paul.

The garter snake is common in Minnesota in both rural and urban areas.  They don’t have teeth and don’t attack people, they eat insects and slither away when people come close.

Garter snakes live in my garden, in the rhubarb.  They like heat and need it to aid the digestion of food.  On a warm fall day, it is not unusual to see them sunning themselves along the foundation of my home or on the walkways.  On occasion, I have seen them come out of hibernation during the winter to catch a few rays.

Every couple of years a snake gets inside the house.  We get them out before the cat figures it out.  They do not live in the house and since they can not climb in they usually get in through an open window in the basement.

They prefer to live in the ground and are found of compost heaps and wood piles and are plentiful along the river bluff in St. Paul in the residential areas.  Garter snakes are plentiful in parts of the West 7th neighborhood.  The soil on the bluff is warmer because of all the limestone close to the surface.

Home shoppers should let their REALTORS know if they are afraid of snakes.  Sellers are not required to disclose the presence of snakes outside the house.  They are not required to disclose the existence of bees, bats or any other kind of wildlife found outdoors in most urban areas.

For some home buyers, their ability to enjoy their property is greatly diminished by the presence of these creatures.  Read about ophidiphobia, fear of snakes.

Learn more about garter snakes from the University of Minnesota extension service web site.

Random advice from the internet

Many of us use the internet to do a little research when we have a question. When looking for answers to questions about buying or selling a home pay close attention to the source.

Real estate is local but there is a lot of generic real estate content on the internet. The articles often have titles with numbers in them. They suggest there are six things you should know or five things you should do etc.

When reading advice found on the internet look for a date on the article and where it was written and who wrote it. California has the most real estate agents per capita and a large number of real estate writers.

Generic information about real estate is easy to find. It is everywhere and everyone is a real estate expert.

Topics about how to get a house ready to sell and how to win in a multiple offer situation are generic topics. Articles about sellers disclosures, condo doc, termite inspections, escrows, utility costs and more are area specific.

Some municipalities require inspections before a home can be sold. Start by going to your city website and searching for information. The rules for selling a home in St. Paul are different from the requirements in Minneapolis. The city of South St. Paul requires a “time of sale” inspection. The city of West St. Paul does not require an inspection.

Real estate is regulated by the state department of commerce. Most commerce departments have websites. Those sites have information about local laws and even have information about how to get a real estate license.

Information can also be found on state attorney general websites and state department of health websites.

Happy Earth day

Lake Superior
Lake Superior – artists point

This is one of my favorite places on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais Minnesota. It kind of puts me in an earth day mood.

Celebrate earth day every day by drinking tap water instead of bottled water. Tap water costs 2000% less and the water that comes from the tap is often safer than what comes in the bottle. A gallon of bottled water costs about $9.00. Set that money aside to be used for a downpayment on a house. 🙂

Buy yourself a bottle. If you don’t like the taste of tap water buy a filter. Turn on the faucet, fill up your bottle and take it with you. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary.

If you must drink bottled water and other beverages in plastic containers consider bringing the containers home from the parks and recycling them rather than throwing them in the woods.

Green bikes and snow

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last Friday I mentioned that the Nice Ride bikes had not made their April debut. They must have been put out shortly before last weekends epic snow storm. It will be awhile yet before anyone can take one out for a spin.

Nice Ride and Grand and West 7th street

Spring is on the way and we should see some spring-like weather this weekend. The snow may be gone by early next week. Enjoy it while you can.