A look at the St. Paul Condo market

The condo market in St. Paul is strong. There is currently a 2.2 month supply of units on the market which is slightly higher than the 1.8 month supply of houses. There is a strong seller’s market for condos. Here is a loot at the median prices over the past 10 years.

St. Paul – Condo sales

There are currently 85 condos on the market ranging in price from $99K to 2.3 million. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be found in all neighborhoods.

The data used to make the graphic and other information in this post was found in the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


Questions because people want to know

Sometimes when I show property the potential buyers have all kinds of questions that I really can’t or won’t answer. When I represent the homeowner I can’t answer personal questions about them.

Homebuyers want to know why the sellers are moving, how many kids they have and how old they are. They want to know if the seller is single and if he or she lives alone.

The list goes on and on. The details of a homeowner’s marital status, familial status, age or race isn’t a material fact and do not affect the condition, value or saleability of a property.

Buying real estate does not give the buyer the right to know details about the seller’s personal life or motives for selling or moving or anything else.

If you are looking at a home for sale and the listing agent is showing it to you do not be surprised if they won’t answer personal questions about the sellers. Real estate agents owe their clients confidentiality.

If you are being represented by a buyers agent understand that personal details about the seller are not shared with the buyer’s agent.

Condos are now more FHA friendly

Starting today, October 15, 2019, it will be possible to buy a condo using an FHA loan even if the condo project (building or complex) does not have FHA approval.

E 6th street
E. 6th street – mears park

Up until now, FHA loans could only be used if the condo project was approved for FHA financing. Approved condo buildings are rare in St. Paul.

There are some rules it isn’t like you can buy any old condo with an FHA loan.

“As of October 15, FHA will insure mortgages for selected condominium units in projects that are not currently approved.  An individual unit may be eligible for Single-Unit Approval under the following conditions:

  • The individual condominium unit is located in a completed project that is not approved;
  • For condominium projects with 10 or more units, no more than 10 percent of individual condo units can be FHA-insured; and projects with fewer than 10 units may have no more than two FHA-insured units.

Minimum Owner-Occupancy Requirements

FHA will require that approved condominium projects have a minimum of 50 percent of the units occupied by owners for most projects.

FHA Insurance Concentration in Condominium Projects

FHA will only insure up to 50 percent of the total number of units in an approved condominium project.”

If you are buying a condo and wish to use an FHA loan talk to your lender. What is an FHA loan? Short for “Federal Housing Administration” These loans require less of a down payment.

If you own a condo this means that there may be a larger pool of qualified buyers. If you would like to buy a condo you may be able to do so with an FHA loan. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in selling your condo or in buying one.

Avoid money wiring scams

Don’t take the bait

On March 18 the FTC Consumer Blog issued a post focused on hackers who have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. Often, that’s money the buyer will never see again.

If you are buying a home in Minnesota assume that requests to wire money are bogus if they are coming from real estate agents. Be very suspicious of wiring requests from anyone asking for closing costs. Real estate agents and real estate companies do not ask for money wires.

We do have a system called “TrustFunds” for electronic earnest money payment.  A link is sent to the buyer with a request for earnest money. It isn’t the same as wiring money and it is easy to verify that the request came from your buyer’s agent. That money goes into a real estate trust account where it is held until the closing or cancellation of the purchase agreement.

As a listing agent, I have gotten all sorts of weird emails from people who want access to my bank accounts so they can send me money to pay for homes I have listed . . ya . . . right. Real estate agents and companies are targeted for various scams.

Avoid emailing any kind of financial information.

Check out the Art Crawl for fun

made from random pictures I took with my phone at the 2011 art crawl

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Fall Art Crawl starts today. I missed the spring art crawl and looking forward to looking at some art tomorrow.

This year’s schedule: October 11, 12, 13, 2019 • Friday 6–10 PM, Saturday 12–8 PM, Sunday 12–5 PM.  See the Art Crawl website for a list of locations. I have my favorite artists to visit. Some are downtown and others are at the Schmidt brewery artists lofts. I usually buy something. The holidays are just around the corner and why not give the gift of local art?

If you do not know downtown St. Paul very well take Shepard road to the Union Depot parking ramp and park. There will be artists in the depot and it is just a block away from artists lofts and studios on Broadway Street and on 4th street E.

Also, consider taking the Greenline which goes directly to the Union Depot.

There is a lot to see. I recommend comfortable walking shoes.