Active home buyers are out in force

Here is a chart from Showingtime that shows appointments to see houses that are for sale. ShowingTime is widely used for appointments throughout the region and the data is always interesting.

showingtime chart – click on the chart to enlarge

Activity is up from last year and the chart shows the dip in March and May due to the stay at home orders. Year over year the numbers are up and as I showed last week home sales are strong.

As an interesting statistic homes that sold in March and April got an average of 6.5 showings before selling. Current averages are 7.6 showings per home.  Year over year showings are up and so are home sales.

Mortgage rates hit new low

This year has been the year for new lows as mortgage interest rates hit new lows for the 10th time. I told a client earlier this year that I didn’t think rates would go below 3%. I am happy to be wrong.

 

graph of mortgage rates
FreddieMac mortgage rate survey

Speaking of records, 2020 has been breaking a lot of long-standing records.  Did you know that we hit an all-time high in unemployment in 2020? 14.70 percent in April of 2020.

A book review

I don’t think I have ever published a book review on this site before today. 

The book is “The Color Of Law” A forgotten history of how our government segregated America. by Richard Rothstein.

The book helped me understand how and why our neighborhoods are racially segregated, and they are segregated.

Rothstein give examples of how public housing helped segregate communities and how federal subsidies given to builders to create whites-only suburbs.

The houses in the suburbs that were built after WWll  were a hot new product and were sold as housing exclusively for white people.

It is clear from reading the book that segregation wasn’t an accident but that it was by design. Rothstein outlines how cities from coast to coast became segregated through State, Federal, and local policy and zoning laws.

He shows how housing was built near jobs and how African American workers were not allowed to own the housing and had to drive long distances to work in lower paying jobs because the best jobs were given to white people.

The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) promted the idea that if African Americans moved into a neighborhood property values would go down. I have heard similar retoric this year about affordable housing in the suburbs and how the suburbs need to be saved.

He makes an arguement in the book for reperations. After reading it I have to agree because the racial disparites we see today have deep roots.

The last of the fall weather

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It seems like fall is the shortest season in Minnesota and Winter is by far the longest.

Fall is a colorful season and a great time for taking photographs. Here are a couple that I took at Indian Mounds park a week ago.

Maple tree
Maple tree
Maple tree
Maple tree

This weekend is a great time to start putting the summer things away. One weather forecast that I saw is predicting below freezing temperatures in the Metro area over the weekend.

 

Condo document and due diligence

Loft – Market House in downtown St. Paul

People who buy condos and townhouses get to review condo documents for ten days before they make a final decision on their purchase. It is a state law in Minnesota and it is called the ten-day recission period.

The ten-day recision period starts after the buyer has received all of the documents.

I am familiar with the condo rules for many condo associations. I am surprised by how often buyers do not read most of the documents. They miss the surprises and the occasional gotcha.

The buyer has the contact information for someone in the association who can answer questions. It isn’t a good idea for real estate agents to answer questions about the documents. I have had clients get advice from their attorney.

Reading and understanding condominium documents are part of the buyer’s due diligence. Condo associations have to show their budgets and current financial status and if there are any pending lawsuits against them.

Condo rules can include rental and pet restrictions and parking rules. I know of one association that prohibits all pets except for goldfish and one that allows all pers except birds.

There are rules about the placement of potted plants and sometimes rules about garage doors that have to be kept closed. Some condo associations have tons of rules and others have few.

Do your own homework and read everything before making a final commitment.

Pro tip – There is one local management company that is the reason why I would not live in some of the condo buildings. I think it is always a good idea to talk to the representative from the management company and directly to someone on the board of directors for the association.

The number of REALTORS on the rise

The number of REALTORS in the US has hit an all-time high of 1,424,136. REALTORS are members of the National Association of Realtors. I can never find any data as to how many real estate licensees there are in the US. In the Twin Cities, a large percentage of real estate agents are REALTORS.

There isn’t any way to know how many REALTORS work selling real estate either but it is safe to guess that when there are more REALTORS there are more active real estate salespeople too.

In Minnesota, the number of REALTORS has risen to 21,234 while at the same time overall home sales remain flat.

There has never been a shortage of REALTORS. When the unemployment rate goes up we usually see an uptick in the number of REALTORS. This year housing is one of the strongest sectors of the economy which means there will be more REALTORS.

The housing data in the charts are from year-end summary reports from the Minnesota Association of REALTORS. The number of REALTORS is from data collected by the National Association of Realtors.

Not all REALTORS sell real estate. Some work in commercial real estate and in rentals and property management too. When people ask me if it is a good time to become a REALTOR the answer is always yes. For details on how to get a real estate license in Minnesota go to the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.

Home sales and REALTORS in Minnesota