There is a 1.3 month supply of housing in St. Paul

During a balanced housing market, there is a six-month supply of housing for sale. During a buyers market, the supply skews to

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a supply that is greater than six months. During the housing crash which was a strong buyers market at times, there was a 10-month supply of housing on the market.

During a strong seller’s market, there is less than a six-month supply. Right now in St. Paul, there is a 1.3-month supply which indicates a strong seller’s market.

Some parts of the country might be experiencing a balanced market or even a seller’s market but that doesn’t impact the strong seller’s market in the Twin Cities.

During sellers, market houses sell quickly, and often they receive multiple offers. Look for prices to continue to rise this year due to the high demand for housing.

Housing supply is a measure of how long it would take to sell all of the houses that are on the market if buyers keep buying at the same rate.

Most of the news about the real estate market comes from the coasts and may not apply to our local market in the Twin Cities.

Marketing 101 – fresh photographs

Sometimes I take pictures of houses and gardens during the summer or fall so that when they go on the market in the winter I have some colorful and enticing

pictures to use for marketing.

Back in the days when it took a few months to sell a house, I would take new pictures of the outside if the seasons changed while the house was on the market. At a glance, the home would look like it just came on the market.

Right now I can easily spot houses that have been on the market for months because of the snow banks in the pictures. They may be great properties but buyers may assume that there is something wrong because the property has been on the market for so long.

Updating exterior pictures is a simple and inexpensive way to update the marketing for a home that has been on the market for a few months. Potential buyers will notice it all over again and who knows they may even make an offer.



Buying “as-is” is sometimes misunderstood

Maybe you are looking to buy a house or you want to sell one. You have heard of buying or selling “as is”. It just means that what you see is what you get and that the seller will not make nay repairs or changes.


It doesn’t mean that the buyer can not have an inspection. A complete home inspection is necessary and part of the home buying process. In the case of “as-is”, it is even more important.

Buyers have the right to know what they are purchasing as-is. Sellers will not make repairs but if the purchase is inspection contingent the buyer can cancel the purchase.

If buyer inspections are not allowed my advice is to pass on the house because it may need expensive repairs. Government entities and corporations sometimes sell houses and will not turn the utilities on so that the house can be inspected.

Selling “as-is” does not give the owner permission to deliberately hide property defects, nor does it protect them from lawsuits.

Corporations and government entities that sell real property do not always fully understand what “as-is” means and may prohibit inspections or hide material facts.

Several municipalities including St. Paul require truth in housing or tie of sale inspections. Selling as is does not mean that the house is exempt from such inspections.

In a general way, all houses are sold as-is. If the buyer has an inspection and the homeowner makes a repair the house is then sold “as-is”.

Expensive mistakes made by homeowners

It is possible to spend too much time and money selling a house. Sometimes sellers get carried away and spend money they won’t get back.

A complete remodel of the kitchen is a great example of spending too much money to sell a house. Homeowners who lower their asking price because the kitchen is dated end up with more money in their pockets because the immediate return on investment for a new kitchen isn’t 100% it is more like 75% depending upon the price range of the house and its location.

If the kitchen is damaged or unusable then it should be repaired or upgraded. Go ahead and replace twenty-year-old appliances with new appliances that are comparable.  It is important to keep it in character and the price range of the house.

Fresh paint, a new backsplash, and some new lighting cost a lot less than a new kitchen and the return can be more than 100% if the house is on the market for a shorter period of time and gets multiple offers because of it.

Even during the current seller’s market pricing is important. A lower price list price can mean a higher sale price as the home sells faster with more offers.

If the goal is to live in the house for the next several years then remodeling the kitchen makes sense but if the goal is to sell the house now for top dollar consider making smaller less expensive improvements.

When getting a house ready to sell start with cleaning and decluttering.

After that consider repainting rooms in lighter more neutral colors that will make rooms appear and cleaner. Replace the golds and yellows and jewel tones with shades of white, beige, and grey. Tough-up painted trim.

Make repairs where needed. In the eyes of a home buyer, needed repairs may look huge and expensive.

It is important to look at selling your house as a business transaction.  It can be hard to be detached which is one of the reasons why people hire real estate agents.

Sale prices higher than asking prices

One of the most common questions home buyers ask is how much should they offer when they find a house they want to buy.  Sometimes they ask if on average

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local home sellers are getting more or less than the asking price.

Right now on average home sellers are getting about 4% more than the asking price of their St. Paul home. However, I strongly advise against using averages. If a house is already overpriced it doesn’t make sense to offer that much more than the asking price.

So far home buyers are willing to pay over the asking price and over the value of the house. Some are putting in extra cash when the appraisal is low and the loan amount isn’t enough to cover the price.

However, knowing that on average home sellers in St. Paul are getting more than the asking price does give buyer’s a feel for the housing marketing.

Highest mortgage interest rates in a decade

Mortgage rates went up to levels that we haven’t seen since 2009. It should be noted that 2009 was during a recession and housing market crash. Housing prices have more than doubled since then here in the Twin Cities and in other parts of the country. In the early 2000’s rates were at 6 and 7% but houses did not cost as much as they do today.

It is likely that the higher rates will cause homeowners to reconsider selling. It is too soon to tell if it will dampen buyer enthusiasm. Homebuyers are making offers and competing with one another to make the highest offer so that they can buy a house. . . at least as of this week.


Mortgage rate chart
Mortgage interest rates hit 5.11%