We voted yesterday

There is a primary election on August 11th and a national election on November 3rd. On Monday my husband and I went down


to 90 Plato Blvd. in St. Paul and voted in the primary and requested an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020 election. We vote in every election and always have.

I would love to vote in person in the November election but am concerned about the growing COVID-19 infection rate in the U.S.

If you are a Minnesota voter go to the MN Secretary of State web site to learn more about how and where to vote.

This election is especially important. I guess I felt the same way about the last one too. Please vote!

Vote in every election. The local elections are important too. Schools and police departments are funded at the local level.


Afraid of garter snakes?

Fear of snakes is common and people who are afraid of snakes are afraid of garter snakes too and some people


have ophiophobia, which is an irrational fear of snakes. I can’t recommend the part of the West 7th neighborhood that is along the river bluff to people who suffer from ophiophobia.

There have been people who bought houses in the neighborhood but could not live in them. In one case the buyer bought the home during the winter and didn’t see a snake until several months later.

It is a good idea to make a note on the seller’s disclosure about the garter snakes and encourage prospective buyers to read up on local garter snakes before making a commitment. The snakes can be found anywhere in Minnesota and throughout St. Paul.

They don’t bite and are not poisonous and generally avoid people. They like the warmer soil along the limestone river bluffs.

Homebuyers should be made aware of garter snakes in the area but there is no requirement that their existence be disclosed.

Putting a picture of a snake in a blog post scares readers away so I decided to go with a hummingbird portrait instead. Everyone likes hummingbirds.

It is getting harder to predict the future

In June :

New data from the U.S. Census shows that:

  • 12% of mortgage holder households did not make their mortgage payment on time; 41% of them deferred their payment,
  • Among the owners who paid on time last month’s payment, 44% of them experienced a loss of employment income,
  • 31% of those who did not pay on time used the stimulus package but it was not enough to cover the cost,
  • 63% of the owners have high confidence in their ability to make next month’s payment while 21% have moderate confidence. However, the level of confidence is lower for Hispanics and African Americans. [source National Association of Realtors]

Here is a chart that shows national trends in how many home tours of homes for sale are happening. Predictably there was a dip in activity during the lockdown and then a jump as buyers and sellers started to come out of quarantine.

I recently read that a “v” shaped recovery has happened in the housing market and I disagree. There was a kind of pause in the housing market, a very short one, and then activity kind of sped up to make up for it.

The long term implications of this recession and pandemic on the housing market are currently unknown. The double-digit unemployment rates we are currently seeing will have an impact on the housing market.

showingtime graph
graph of home tours

Showingtime is the software most local real estate companies use to schedule tours of homes for sale.

The REALTOR associations tend to give us a lot of positive information. I think our whole system of capitalism depends upon people being optimistic so that they will keep working.

No one really knows what the long term impact of halting commerce for a few months will be or how the pandemic will change our economy.

In the short term people are buying houses like crazy while at the same time there are a lot of homeowners are hanging on and the number of homes on the market is down about 30% nationwide and in the metro area too. 

Steamy days and warm nights

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. As I mentioned on July 1st I decided to challenge my self and ride my bike every day 55 days in a row.

So far I have gone out for a ride every day and have ridden about 110 miles.  Some days I had to ride in between the thunderstorms and a few days there were extreme heat advisories. One day I used my bike to run an errand and that was enough.

Early morning is by far the best time to go for a ride around the neighborhood or through the woods. It is cooler out and there is less traffic.

Here is a picture I took one steamy morning from the Smith Avenue Highbridge. I took it with my phone without any filters. It really was that steamy.

Picture of river valley
Steamy July Morning

One steamy moring out on my bike is better than any cold winter day.

If you had bought that house 10 years ago . . .

Sometimes it is fun to look back and so today in honor of throwback Thursday I am going to publish some home sales prices by neighborhood from 2010.

chart of home sale prices
Home sales in St. Paul for June 2010

2010 was a special kind of year. Home sales and home prices ticked up a little because there were some tax incentives for home buyers and sellers. Once those incentives went away we reached what I call the bottom of the housing market crash.

Locally home prices hit a low in 2009 and then went up a little in 2010 and then hit a new low in 2011.

This recession is different and the biggest impact it is having on the housing market right now is that far fewer homeowners want to sell and a lot of people want to buy.

If you bought a house in 2010 you probably have a great deal of equity unless you took the equity out and spent it.

Yup, I have been doing this for a long time, almost 20 years. Something to consider when you hire a REALTOR.