Public Art at the Farmer’s market

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun but today I am writing about Sunday because that is the day I go to the Farmer’s market.

This past week I waited until the Farmer’s market closed so that I could photograph the artwork inside. The walls were painted by Deep Walls Painting and are simply gorgeous.

This weekend I’ll be buying apples, eggs and an assortment of vegetables.

Downtown Saint Paul, Farmer’s market

 

Downtown Saint Paul continues to grow

The residential population of downtown St. Paul keeps growing. There were only about 4500 people living downtown in 2002 that grew to 6,604 in 2010 to 7,911 in 2014, that number is expected to skyrocket to 14,280 by 2020, an 80 percent jump. (According to the Metropolitan Council)

It seems like there are more people downtown on nights and weekends than there are during the workday. If you were to travel back to the 1980’s or 1990’s there were more businesses and people working downtown than there are today but not many residents.

Some of the things that make downtown fun are the parks, the Farmer’s market and the union depot and of course the ballpark and the Xcel center. It gets very crowded downtown when there is a hockey game.

Downtown is a wonderful place to live. It is the most walkable neighborhood in St. Paul. There is always something to do and lots of places to eat.

Housing consists of condos and apartments in all price ranges. In recent years there has been some building going on. Most of it has been apartments including some new luxury apartments.

The median price per square foot for a downtown condo is about $202. The median price per square foot of a Saint Paul home is $142. The median sale price in downtown St. Paul is lower the median sale price for the entire city.

The downtown Saint Paul housing market is a bit different from the rest of the city but is also experiencing a shortage of homes for sale. If you have been thinking about selling your condo now might be the time to do it.

There are currently 30 condos on the market ranging in price from $129,900 to 1.8 million. This year they have been selling in 45 days or less on average.

Median sale prices – St. Paul and downtown St. Paul

 

Buyer beware, your agent might not understand downtown parking

River Park Lofts
River Park Lofts – a parking spot is often included

One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent who has experience with downtown condos is that we know a lot about the parking situation and what questions to ask. Some condos come with a parking space and some do not. Some of the parking is in ramps and some of it is outside in parking lots.

If a parking comes with the unit ask to see it. Make sure that the number of the parking spot is in writing. It is also a good idea to check and see if the owner of the condo you are buying actually owns the parking space being sold with the unit. In some buildings, the parking spots will have a number and a separate tax ID number.

Some condo owners park in surface lots that are not owned by the condo association. They have a contract with the company that manages the lot.

I can think of at least one building that had a parking lot. The land is still there but it isn’t a parking lot anymore. I mention this because unless a condo owner owns the parking space there really are no guarantees of a parking spot.

The condo documents that condo buyers are given ten days to review before committing to purchase a condo contain a wealth of information about the unit and the parking situation. Buyers should always ask questions and never make assumptions about parking. Agents working with downtown condo buyers should always verify any information they receive about parking.

Today I saw a comment in the “agent remarks” of a downtown condo listing stating that the current owner has a one year contract for parking.  The comment doesn’t mean much because usually, those spaces are not transferable, and sometimes there is a waiting list which means that the buyer of the condo might not be able to use the space.

There are real estate agents who have a kind of “buyer beware” mentality. Buyers should do some research on parking before purchasing a condo. If the plan is to lease a space in a ramp or surface lot contact the lot or ramp directly.

urban legend of no pets allowed

Dogs allowed

Did you know that you can live in a downtown condo and have a dog? Most if not all condo buildings have pet restrictions but most will allow a dog or even two. Cats are allowed too.

In some of the buildings, there are height and weight restrictions. Smaller dogs are allowed and large ones are not.

Ask about pet restrictions before making an offer on a condo. After making an offer that is accepted by the seller, buyers have ten days to review rules. Pet restrictions will be in writing.

There are condo associations that do not allow pets at all. I know of one building where residents can have one goldfish and another where the only pet restriction is that birds are not allowed.

There are numerous places downtown to walk dogs and even a small off-leash dog park up against CHS field. Mears Park has “pet areas”. Lowertown is pretty close to the river with the parkland and trails.

I pretty much know the pet rules for every downtown building which saves a little time.

Bike path in downtown St. Paul

bike path
Bikeway running north and south along Jackson street as viewed from the skyway

I have used the new bike path in downtown St. Paul a couple of times, it is a joy to ride.  It is part of the Capital City Bikeway. The design is beautiful and it is safer than the street. I can’t wait until there are some East/West bike paths.

The bike lane along Jackson will connect to the Gateway Trail which goes all the way out to Stillwater. According to Visit Saint Paul  St. Paul is not only bike friendly but one of the most bike-friendly cities.

I am often asked about biking by people who are moving into the area or who are choosing a neighborhood to buy a house in.

There is a lot of biking going on in the downtown area, even though it is still a dangerous place to ride.  I think my inner thrill seeker makes me do it. 🙂

Downtown Condos take longer to sell

The downtown condo market has mostly recovered from the housing market crash and great recession. Distressed condos were bought by investors who rented them out. I have sold a few condos that were owned by investors and are now owner occupied. There is a lot more downtown than there was during the recession, especially more luxury rentals.

It takes longer to sell a condo in St. Paul than it does to sell other types of homes. An average of 40 days to sell a condo anywhere is the city,  vs. 25 days to sell a fee standing type single family home and  it takes an average of 44 days to sell a downtown condo.

months supply
Months supply of condos

There is a 3.4 month supply of condos on the market downtown. The average sale price is around $211k. Right now there are 57 units on the market which is about the same as September 2016.

People who do not know downtown should tour several condo buildings before deciding where to live.