Home sales and prices by nieghborhood

Typically home prices peak in April. May average home sale prices for St. Paul, MN are about the same as they were in April. The median sale price is down by $8000.

The number of homes on the market has gone up slightly giving home buyers more choices. We are still seeing multiple offers on homes that just came on the market.

The number of home sales is lower this may than it was last May, and there were fewer sales last May than there were the previous May. That makes sense because there are fewer homes for sale.

sales data
Home sales and prices by St. Paul neighborhood

The data used to make the table was exported from the NorthstarMLS and imported into a spreadsheet where it was gently sorted and never stirred.

More local market conditions and home prices 

First home with second hand furnishings

It is easier than ever before to furnish a home with second-hand furniture. There is furniture in various thrift shops and second-hand furniture stores around town and there is Facebook marketplace and of course Craig’s list.

Garage sales present some opportunities as well. There are “curb alerts’ in various Facebook groups for people who just want to give stuff away. they leave it on a curb.

There are a couple of pieces of furniture in my own home that I got before there was social media or Craig’s list. I found it by a dumpster and hauled it home.

Household items like dishes, cups, pots and pans and even crystal punch bowls are easy to find at thrift shops like Goodwill or my own favorite St. Vincent de Paul on West 7th.

It takes some patience and sometimes sanders, glue and paint to furnish an entire house with thrift shop finds. it isn’t like going to a furniture store and it all at once or one room at a time. It can take months or years.

Don’t forget the artwork. A home with bare walls doesn’t seem like a home at all.

Knowing what I know now if I were to start all over again with no furniture I would not be in a hurry to fill each room in a house. It is easier to acquire stuff than it is to get rid of it. Hunting for furniture and refinishing or upcycling can be a lot of fun.

Lost objects on West 7th street

 

Fuses or breakers?

The answer is breakers. There are houses in St. Paul that still have old electrical boxes with fuses instead of breakers. Fuses seem to work fine but those boxes are at least 50 years old and some are much older. Having an ancient electrical system means having fewer circuits. Insurance companies do not like fuses and will charge more or they won’t provide insurance at all.

If the power is 100 amp and the fuse box does not have to be relocated prices for upgrading to breakers start at about $1500.00. It can cost twice as much if there is 60 AMP service or if the electrical box needs to be relocated.  It is easy enough to get an estimate from an electrician.

If you are buying a house with fuses plan on upgrading to breakers. Make sure to check the electrical box before making an offer on a house. Sometimes there is more than one box especially if there is central air or an upgraded kitchen.

I strongly encourage sellers to upgrade to breakers before they put the house on the market.

We use our houses much differently today than we did in the 1950’s. We use a lot more electricity. I have seen old fuse boxes with four or five circuits for the whole house. Newer electrical systems will include that many circuits just for the kitchen.

fuses and breakers
Electrical panels

 

Home prices continue to climb

It is hard for me to forget the great recession and the housing market crash. The banks came out alright but those who lost their homes will always feel the impact. Many have recovered and some have purchased homes again.

The good news for home ownership today is that the demand for homes is stronger than it was before the great recession. We are at full employment with an unemployment rate at around 3% for Minnesota and 4% on average for the whole country.

The graph shows median home prices in St. Paul. The numbers come from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I manually computed the median home sale price in St. Paul for May 2018 and got $219,500. I am not sure why the chart shows a lower number.

During the peak in 2006 before the recession the median home price in St. Paul was $207,073.

Median home prices
Median home sale prices

I’ll have more numbers later in the week.

Riding in St. Paul

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. One of the things I like to do for fun is to go for a bike ride. I also use my bike to run errands and for appointments.

It was hot last weekend so I started out early in the morning and rode along the Mississippi River to downtown and then picked up the Bruce Vento trail behind the ballpark and took that through Swede hollow park, past the old Hamm’s brewery and then onto Lake Phalen. I biked along the lake to Keller lake and then on to Spoon Lake in Maplewood.

I have to say it was a wonderful ride. The regional parkland along the lakes have boardwalks that go right over the wetlands. I plan to go back soon. The trails are not nearly as crowded as the trails along the river between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

lakes and parks
Lakes and parks

A decade since the stack came down

In honor of throwback Thursday I have some pictures of the smokestack demolition. Ten years ago this week the old NSP power plant smokestack on the Mississippi River was taken down. NSP stood for Northern States Power which eventually became Xcel energy.

I lived within sight of that structure for most of my adult life. There was something oddly comforting about seeing those red blinking lights around the tower at night. I still see it sometimes.

The old power plant burned coal. Occasionally wind would hit the coal piles and the coal dust would get into the house. The power plant that replaced it uses natural gas.

smoke stack
NSP Power plant smokestack – May 27, 2008
old NSP plant
NSP Power plant demolition