Conspriracy theories are more interesting than facts

The simple answer as to why the Twin Cities metro area has the worst housing shortage in the country is because, the region’s population gained 314,000 residents over the last decade, bringing the total population to 3.16 million in 2020, according to decennial U.S. census counts released August 12. The average household size according to census data is 2.28.

Significant growth occurred in both urban center cities and suburban edge cities.

During the same decade, we have added on average 12,900 housing units a year. The number is based on building permits and subtracting lost units.

When housing demand is high and supply is low prices go up.

graph of housing units per year
Housing added – for a population increase of 314,000 residents since 2020.

The obvious solution is to build more housing. Yet there are many reasons why that isn’t happening. Some of those reasons have to do with zoning and the expense of building materials and labor shortages too. St. Paul is considering allowing smaller lot sizes and is considering loosening restrictions on ADU (accessory housing units). Neither of those moves will do much to ease the housing shortage or make housing more affordable but every little bit helps.

It is a shame that when houses were torn down during the housing market crash and the great recession the vacant lots were annexed by neighbors who now have larger lots. We also have a long history of tearing down houses to make room for parking lots.

I think micro-apartments and tiny houses make more sense but neither will be built because they don’t work with current zoning laws and requirements for parking spaces.

Corporations that buy up residential real estate contribute to rising housing costs in a market where there isn’t enough housing. The opportunity to buy a house and fix it up to live in has all but vanished in favor of businesses that can pay cash and flip houses.

There are other contributing factors to the lack of affordable housing but the root cause is that the population of the metro area has outgrown the housing supply.

Small business Saturday 2021

Just a reminder, not that anyone needs a reminder, but today is small business Saturday. Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. They create jobs right in our community and they pay taxes.

I am fortunate to live in a community where there are many small businesses, with lots of coffee and beer and numerous culinary opportunities. There isn’t much in the way of clothing or shoes and the hardware stores are long gone. There is still a thrift store and an antique and second-hand furniture store.

Boardman Realty is also a small business and it is woman-owned and operated with decades of experience. Something to consider when it is time to buy or sell real estate. Thank you.

Clahhah on West 7th

Things to do on Black Friday

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Today is also Black Friday and I mention it even though I know there isn’t anyone in this capitalist country of ours who doesn’t know about Black Friday.

My plans for the day include finishing up on some work, I have a deadline for an article I am writing and need to prepare for a meeting on Monday. I will probably cook up a batch of turkey noodle soup for our evening meal. It will go well with the leftover wine. Hard to believe but I have leftover wine. I will probably go for a walk. I do that most days.

Maybe I’ll do a little decorating for the holidays. I know the cat would enjoy that very much.

Cat and tree
Cat waiting for an opportunity to chew on wires and break ornaments.

It should be a quiet day but I will be around to respond to any requests from people who want to buy or sell a house today. You don’t have to get up early or wait in line if you want to buy or sell real estate today. They won’t cost any more or less today than they will tomorrow or the next day.  You won’t save money by acting now but you will get my undivided attention while everyone else is taking advantage of Black Friday sales.


There is much to be thankful for

I am thankful that I am still here. Now fully vaccinated and boosted too. Tomorrow we will be hosting Thanksgiving. We missed the traditional gathering last year. We also skipped the annual family Christmas gathering. I felt left out as I saw pictures of friends celebrating with their families.

I’ll remember this year as the second year of the pandemic and for the election that ended in bloodshed. I won’t forget the smokey skies of summer or the crunchy brown grass that went dormant during the drought. It is also the year that the lilacs bloomed in November.

Tomorrow we will eat turkey and cranberries and potatoes and more.  There will be pie too. The house will be full of people and I am thankful for that.

I hope you have as much to be thankful for as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving

You don’t need an app

I’ll never ask anyone to put an app on their phone for service or for better service. So many businesses want us to put an app on our phones to order from them or to pay our

Pay phone

bills or to shop.

Baking apps seem to be an exception to the rule where having the app means access to services that can not be accessed any other way.

It is easy to shop for houses for sale online or by using an app but it isn’t possible to purchase a house using an app. It isn’t possible to send the money to pay for the house through an app either.

I can understand how some businesses save work for themselves if their customers use apps. I can also understand how a business can use a branded app for marketing.

My phone is full of apps. I keep deleting them and adding more. Sometimes an app gets used once.  The apps I like the most are universal. I use them to send text messages, make phone calls, respond to emails, get directions, get information, and much more.

If I want to order a sandwich the web browser on my phone is all I need. If I need to report a power outage that same web browser works just fine. Asking someone to put an app on their phone seems like the opposite of customer service.

For real estate services feel free to call, text or email. Use the contact information on the upper right. For people who want to download something onto to their phone I am sure I can find something.

The sale price doesn’t tell the whole story

Sometimes home buyers make an offer but their’s isn’t the winning offer. Eventually, when the sale closes we find out how much it sold for. Sometimes the winning offer turns out to be less than another buyer offered.

The terms of the offer can make all the difference. Maybe the buyer offered to let the seller just move and leave anything behind they didn’t want. Maybe there was more cash in the offer and the seller took it because they were worried about issues with the appraisal. The house has to appraise for at least as much as the loan amount.

It is possible that the buyer could close sooner or maybe later than other offerers. Maybe the buyer had the house inspected before making the offer. Maybe one buyer had to make the offer contingent on the sale of another house. That makes the offer riskier.

The dollar amount of the offer is important but there can be a lot more to a great offer than money.