Not a fun week

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have to say this week was particularly not fun. I am saddened by the passing of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her seat on the court can be filled but she can not ever be replaced.

We passed a milestone this week with over 200K Coronavirus deaths in the US. We lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Last weekend I watched “The Social Dilemma”  on Netflix. It explains how social media manipulates us and how we are not customers but we are the product.

I don’t spend much time on Facebook but have decided to stay away from it until after the election.

Last week while I was looking for a link to some voter information I kept landing on ads paid for by one of the presidential candidates. As a result, I have stopped using Google. I am still experimenting with search engines and haven’t decided which one is the best.

There was one bright spot this week. My absentee ballot came and I voted yesterday. I waited in line to drop it off at the county election office. I was happy to see the long line of voters.

If you are using an absentee ballot in Minnesota be sure to follow the instructions. The ballot has to go in the privacy envelope first (brown envelope) and then in the signature envelope which needs to be filled out and signed and sealed and then into the envelope that goes into the mail. There is a signature blank for a witness. Witnesses are not needed for this election.

I have the smallest glimmer of hope for our democracy. Please vote.

18-29 year olds living with mom and dad

It feels like Deja Vue. During the great recession and young people continued to live with their parents because they had student debt and jobs were scarce.

According to PEW research, 52% of young adults (18-29) live with their parents. That is more than half and the largest number since the great depression.

The pandemic is credited with a migration back to mom and dad.

“in July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February”

Yet there is no shortage of homebuyers. Homes on the market in the metro area continue to sell quickly and often with multiple offers.

Maple leaf
Maple leaf

Housing cost burden by income

Yesterday I was reading the Metropolitan council housing policy plan. It tells me what I know already and that is that we do not have enough affordable housing. The demand will continue to grow as more people earn less money.

• People are paying too much for housing: At present, more than 282,000 low- and moderate-income households in the region are paying more than 30% of their household income on housing costs. Nearly 144,000 of those are paying more than half their income on housing.

• Needs are growing: Between 2020 and 2030, the region will add 37,400 low- and moderate-income households who will need additional affordable housing. For comparison, in the first three years of this decade, the region added just under 3,000 new affordable units, far under the need.

metro area housing costs
Housing costs in the metro area

There is a shortage of housing in general. The population has grown in the last decade and construction has not kept up with it. Some changes in zoning laws and deregulation may help ease the situation. Building more affordable housing in the suburbs might also help.

Also, see The number of people without housing continues to rise


Buy low sell high

Right now is a spectacularly bad time for most people to buy residential real estate.  Home prices are at historic highs as home buyers outbid each other until they reach new heights. There is a raging pandemic and an economic recession.

I say “most” people because there are exceptions. There are always people who have to move and sometimes it does cost more to rent.

Too many people are making decisions based on the pandemic. They are assuming they will have jobs and that they can work from home long term. Most jobs and conditions of employment are not long term but mortgages are for 10 to 30 years.

There has been a shortage of homes for sale for the last several years and the pandemic has made it worse.  The demand is high and the supply is low and prices are often too high.

It truly is a fantastic time to sell a house. I am not sure there has ever been a better time to sell a house.  Houses sell quickly and they sell for top dollar.

Homeowners can take advantage of a once in a lifetime event and make a nice profit even if they have only owned the home for a few years.

It is also a great time to own real estate, especially real estate without a mortgage. It might be a good time to refinance depending upon your current interest rate and how much you owe.

A better time to buy might be mid-2021 or maybe early 2022. By 2026 the housing shortage may ease up a bit as the oldest baby boomers turn 80.

If you are planning on buying or selling real estate I am here to help. I’ll be here in 2026 too.

Police departments are local

squade car
Saint Paul Police

There seems to be some confusion these days over police departments. The St. Paul police are a city department and not part o the federal government. They are funded and managed on the city level. The city council and the mayor are responsible for the police department.

Funding for police and fire comes from our property taxes.

How you vote in the city council or mayoral race can directly impact the police department. How you vote for president will not directly impact the police department.

If you want to learn more about the Saint Paul PD visit the Saint Paul PD web site.

Before each election look at the ballot ahead of time and get interested in the local elections.