Home sales by St. paul neighborhood

Monday is a good day for numbers. Here is a recap of home sales by neighborhood in St. Paul for the month of November 2018. Sales activity slows a bit this time. Sale prices are on average lower the listing prices in most but not all neighborhoods.

In November it took an average of 59 cumulative days on market to sell a house. That is fast for November. Average sale prices are up about 20K from last November.

We are still in a strong seller’s market. The number of new listings was lower than the number of pending sales for November.  Could go on and on but I won’t. 🙂

chart of home sales by neighborhood
november 2018 Home sales

The numbers used to make the chart were extracted from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not gaurateed. This data covers a high percentage of local real estate sales activity.

For more local numbers that are not at all hyper please see local market conditions and home sales. Real estate is local. If you would like to know how much your St. Paul home might sell for please call or write. My contact information is on the right and yes there is an @ in my email address, not an (at) and like most email addresses it isn’t case sensitive.

Grandma’s fruitcake

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Fruitcake jokes are a part of the holiday tradition. There are stories about that one fruitcake that had traveled around the world as a gift that keeps getting passed on.

I want to let you know that some of us like fruitcake but only good fruitcake. Unfortunately, most of the fruitcake in the world isn’t good.

Just after Thanksgiving I got out my grandma’s recipe and made a fruitcake. The ingredients cost a small fortune and the thing weighs 7 pounds. It takes 3 to 4 hours to bake and it is now in a cool place (not hard to find in my house this time of year) wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in sherry. It should be ready by Christmas.

Yes, I know it can be soaked in rum or brandy but to me, sherry smells like Christmas. I went and bought a nice bottle of the stuff instead of using what I found at the grocery store.

The recipe was copied by hand a few times through the generations. I made some notes on my copy. I found one step that really wasn’t needed and crossed it out. I later found an older copy of the recipe that my grandmother had given my mom and my mom had crossed out that same step.

In one place the recipe says to bring 1/4 cup honey mixed with 1/4 cup sherry almost to a boil and then set aside. After I combined all of the other ingredients I noticed that the sherry and honey mixture was never mentioned again. I took a chance and mixed it in with the rest of the ingredients before baking the cake.

I am not going to add a line about what to do with the honey and sherry because I think the omission gives the recipe character and it reminded me, my mom. Mom is still alive but she stopped talking about two years ago. She always had a wonderful sense of humor.

I’ll bring her some fruitcake because I know she will appreciate a good fruitcake and because I have 7 pounds of the stuff and only know a few people who like it and who can eat it. It isn’t gluten-free and it has tree nuts in it. It is vegetarian but not vegan and I am afraid I did not use organic ingredients but none of the ingredients are inorganic.

There is other information missing from the recipe but I knew what I was supposed to do because it wasn’t my first fruitcake just my first solo fruitcake.

Making fruitcake

Throwback Thursday holiday edition

I thought I would do a kind of wordless Wednesday with pictures of holiday decorations in Rice Park – downtown St. Paul. The nutcrackers and angels vanished a couple of years ago. There are no decorations at all this year and the park is closed for remodeling and has been since February. Last I heard it is slated to open this month but I don’t think the nutcrackers or angels will be back.


Angel -Rice Park

Rice Park – Downtown St. Paul


In Minnesota heating is important

Sometimes when I list a home for sale I take a picture of the heating plant. To me they are beautiful. I don’t know what is in your basement but I have a four-year-old high-efficiency Lennox Elite in mine with one of those fancy thermostats that I can control with my phone.

Heating is so important that we can even search the multiple listing service by heating type. There are all sorts of things we can search on that don’t even show up on the big portal websites.

In our MLS – Multiple Listing Service – or database of homes for sale there are 15 types of heating and we can search for a home based on heating type. The infographic shows each type of heating and the percentage of homes currently listed that have it.  I know here in the city forced air and natural gas is the most common combination. I have had clients who wanted me to search for homes based on the heating type. The most common requests are for hot water or forced air. People also look for houses with or without fireplaces but not as a primary heat source.

Sometimes I find those old gravity furnaces in old houses. I love to photograph them and have quite a collection of pictures.



We don’t really want to move

Antique Teapot

This is the time of year when I start getting emails and phone calls from the adult children of elderly homeowners. Sometimes they ask for an appointment and I make an appointment to meet with them at their parents home.

It doesn’t take me long to figure out that the elder is just going along with the whole thing because the son or daughter talked them into it. Sometimes they think their parents should move but the parents don’t want to.

Where we live is a personal choice and as adults, even the oldest among us have the right to choose.

We even have the right to make bad choices, or choices that our children don’t fully support.

As adults most of us value freedom. Even moving to a senior apartment or downsizing to a condo causes the loss of some freedom.

You can lead your parents to senior housing but generally, you can not and should not make them move.

I don’t have a problem meeting with people who have no interest in selling their house. I learn something new just about everytime I meet with a potential home seller or buyer and I empathize with the sons and daughters who set up the meetings, they probably learn something new too.

According to a study conducted by AARP, 90% of older adults nationwide want to remain living in their homes for as long as possible and we all know that anything is possible if we are up to the challenge.

What does the future hold for real estate in St. Paul?

I have been reading economic and housing news so that I can make some predictions for the 2019 housing market. We all know that nothing stays the same. In St. Paul we have had a shortage of homes for sale for the last six years and prices have gone back up to what they were before the great recession.

It looks like 2019 will be kind of like 2018. It will be another good year for home sellers. If for some reason the number of buyers decreases, which seems unlikely, the number of homes on the market will rise and prices will start to level off.

It is also possible that the number of homes on the market could start to climb if more homeowners decide to sell. There are a lot of homeowners who are 65 or older. Will they put their homes on the market? According to the National Association of Realtors, the “typical home seller in 2018 was 55 years old”

To people who are young 65 seems terribly old but it isn’t too old for homeownership and I don’t see any evidence that that large group of people who are 65 or better are all going to sell at once. National census statistics indicate that at least 75% of those 65 and older live in homes that they own.

People who are over 65 generally don’t move very often and they are not the oldest homeowners. What about the 65 to 100-year-old homeowner? Statisticians like to lump people who are 55 to 100 years old into one huge category and make assumptions about their housing needs.  Big mistake.

Experts have been predicting a housing sell off as baby boomers age or die off. The generation spans 18 years. Taking that into consideration it is possible that there will be an increase in the number of homes for sale as baby boomers hit their mid 70’s? 80’s? 90’s or 100’s?

It seems like there should be plenty of buyers for those houses but if the number of homes on the market goes way up prices will go down.

As for the immediate future, there is still a shortage of homes for sale in St. Paul and plenty of willing buyers. The number of homes on the market will have to go way up before the market starts to shift to more of a buyers market. I don’t think that will happen in 2019 or in 2020 for that matter. Maybe in the late ‘2020s or early 2030s when the oldest baby boomers hit their mid-80’s, there will be a gradual sell-off.

I see no convincing evidence that there is going to be any kind of a housing sell-off as soon as 2020. If there is a sell-off it will be closer to 2030.


The number of homes on the market and for sale in St. Paul, MN