Thanksgiving 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving will be very different for many of us who are used to hosting family and friends.

Since it is just two of us this year it is possible that there will be enough pie for three meals.  There is plenty of wine too and I may need to drink a little extra so that I am not tempted to whine. I buy wine throughout the year and store it in my wine cellar (basement) for the holidays.

There is always something to be thankful for.   Please stay safe and remember that your actions today will have an impact on those around you and on the community.

Alexander Ramsey House

Alexander Ramsey House – St. Paul Minnesota


Spring is either early or late

According to the Minnesota Realtors Association:

“October closed sales surged +29.8% to 10,290 homes sold versus a year ago. This is slightly lower than July’s historic peak (10,495 homes sold) and higher than any month in 2019. Pending sales also showed strong growth, up +22.4% over last October as consumers purchased properties at levels typically seen in the spring. Nearly every region in the state showed double-digit growth in closed sales.”

Nationally existing home sales were up 26.6% annually. There was also an 18.9% drop in the number of homes on the market nationally when compared with 2019.

October 2020 was indeed a good month for Minnesota home sellers. Conditions were closer to what we usually see in the Spring.  Currently in St. Paul on average homes are on the market for 23 days. Sales prices are on average higher than asking prices.

October home sales
October home sales Minnesota

Just watch the inventory fall

The number of homes on the market is falling and down 14% from last year. In St. Paul, the number of homes on the market now is down 2.5% from last November. The numbers won’t get much lower in St. Paul we have been at a kind of “bottom” for a few years.

In the last week or so there were significantly more homes sold in St. Paul than there were new listings.

There are all sorts of reasons why people want to buy houses right now and there are reasons why people don’t want to sell. Some of it has to do with uncertainty and with not wanting to let people in to see the house. Some homeowners would like to sell but can not find a house they want to buy right now.

We are going to see a lot of pent up demand . . . eventually. Overall people do not move as often as they used to and now that so many people can work from home maybe won’t move as often in the future either.

I read a couple of articles yesterday that suggests that in most of the country there is no exodus from the city to the suburbs because of the pandemic or because of civil unrest.


Homebuyers in 2020 vs 2015

I thought it would be interesting to compare the profile of the typical homebuyer in 2020 to the typical buyer in 2015. Each year the National Association of Realtors (NAR) puts together profile reports.

The typical home buyer in 2020:

  • First-time buyers made up 31% of all home buyers, a dip from last year’s 33%.
  • The typical buyer was 47 years old this year, and the median household income for 2019 rose again this year to $96,500.
  • 12% of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving.
  • 18% of recent home buyers were veterans and 2% were active-duty service members.

The typical home buyer in 2015:

  • First-time buyers made up 32% of all home buyers, down from 33%  last year.
  • The typical buyer was 44 years old and had a median household income of $86,100.
  • 13% of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home to take care of aging parents, for cost savings, and because children over the age of 18 are moving back home.
  • 18% of recent home buyers are veterans and 3% are active-duty service members.

It looks like home buyers have gotten a little older and earn about $10,000 more a year. The numbers haven’t changed all that much. The typical home buyers I have worked with and am working with this year are in their 30’s.

In the glossy ads, home buyers are a man and a woman with children. They are usually under 40. That seems to be the target group for home builders too but I think that kind of targeting violated fair housing rules.

Fun during the pandemic

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun but if you ask me the pandemic isn’t much fun. Season 4 of The Crown was a little disappointing but The Queens Gambit more than made up for it. (both on Netflix).

Books have taken the place of the social activities I used to enjoy. The best thing about books, especially electronic books, is that I can get them anytime and most of the time they are free. (courtesy of the Saint Paul Public Library)

Today we start the 4-week pause or “dial back”, starting at 11:59 tonight.

dial back and save lives

No this isn’t much fun. Please stay safe and wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands.


REALTOR code of ethics

REALTORS have a code of ethics, Established in 1913 and updated often.  A series of rules that REALTORS have to follow. There is a process for filing ethics complaints when those rules are violated.

Last week the National Association of Realtors added a new rule to the code of ethics:

“Realtors must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” 

The rule applies to social media to all accounts, for business and for personal and it applies all the time.

It makes sense because it would be hard to be a fair housing advocate by day and a bigot on social media at night. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram prohibit hate speech.

There is a rule against discrimination and it has been around for a long time:

“REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)”

Age discrimination isn’t included in the REALTOR Code of ethics but since I do write the I want to point out that in St. Paul age discrimination is illegal and that applies to housing and to all businesses in St. Paul.

The way the COE is enforced is through a system of complaints and hearings. Anyone can file an ethics complaint against a REALTOR through that REALTOR’s state association. Here in Minnesota, complaints can be filed with Minnesota Realtors. and most of the time they are filed by Realtors.

If a member violates the code of ethics anyone can file an ethics complaint against them. Penalties for persons found to be in violation of the ethics codes range from mandatory training classes to fines to suspension or even expulsion from the National Association.