The numbers are in from State Fair attendance

Over all attendance at the Minnesota State Fair was 1.3 million this year. Attendance in 2019 was 2.1 million. The fair was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

There are several conferences coming up this fall for real estate agents and industry professionals. Minnesota Realtors (the state association of Realtors) is having a conference in St. Cloud this October.

The Minnesota association has stated that they are not responsible for anyone who gets Covid-19 because they attended the conference. I disagree. I think we are responsible for each other and we should do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19.

There are people who will not attend an event if vaccinations and masks are required.  There are more people who will not attend events that do not require masks or vaccinations.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. There are people who will not attend conferences being held in cities where there are high rates of Covid-19 and where the hospitals are filled to capacity.  I’ll admit it is hard to plan ahead. The safest bet is to hold a virtual conference this year or one that can be attended in person or virtually.

If the state fair is an indicator expect low attendance at events in Minnesota where masks and vaccinations are not required.

state fair ride
Taken a the Minnesota State Fair

Housing wages in Minnesota

Housing report
Out of Reach 2021

I took this screenshot of the “Out of Reach 2021” report.  If you are like me you have a budget and housing is part of that budget.

In St. Paul, $25.15 is the “housing wage”. That is around 50K a year.

A person has to work 69 hours a week at minimum wage to pay rent for a one-bedroom apartment, and 86 hours a week for a two-bedroom.

In San Fransisco, a person needs to make $56 an hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment. The minimum wage there is 16.23.

If you have ever wondered why people have room mates, now you know.

Welcome to September

I always associate September with going back to school. My mother was a teacher, I was a student for many years and I had children and they attended school. My daughter is a teacher/college professor.

September also marks the beginning of the fall home-selling season. It used to be that the market would slow way down in August and then pick up again in September. We still see this pattern but it isn’t as pronounced.

The next slowdown can happen after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. It isn’t just the holidays that slow things down it is partly because people don’t like to move when it is snowy and cold out.  The spring home sale season starts in about January and we often see a peak in prices in April.

This year we can predict a strong fall hone sales season because of the high demand for houses, low mortgage interest rates, and a local unemployment rate below 3%.


Going to school in the 1980s

Realtors and Covid-19

National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler is asking Realtors to continue practicing social distancing and to wear a mask.

“Today, I am asking every Realtor and their clients to wear a mask and to continue practicing social distancing whenever possible,” Oppler continued. “Every opportunity to flatten the curve on the latest Delta Variant of COVID-19 is a step forward.”

Oppler went on to discuss vaccinations. He stopped short of explicitly ordering every Realtor to get a vaccine, noting that “we cannot mandate vaccinations.” But he also said that “we remain encouraged by increases in the vaccinated population.”

I am fully vaccinated as are all Realtors in my company. We would never want to do anything that would endanger our clients or the general public.

I can say for sure that I missed out on some business opportunities in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic and out of an abundance of caution.

There isn’t anything I can say that will change anyone’s mind about vaccinations. I won’t meet in person with anyone who isn’t vaccinated.

My vaccinated work place

I am fully vaccinated and so is everyone in my household and all agents in my company.  I ask my clients if they want me to wear a mask. Generally, I don’t wear a mask when I am outside. I do wear a mask when I am indoors and there are other people present. I haven’t made up my mind about going into empty houses and decide on a case-by-case basis if I should wear a mask.

So far I haven’t had to ask any of my clients if they are vaccinated because they have volunteered that information usually after I volunteer my own status so they don’t have to ask.

I won’t let anyone into my home who isn’t fully vaccinated and I do ask.

You can ask your Realtor if she is vaccinated.

The main way SARS-CoV-2 is spread is through the air and the delta variant is extremely contagious. Even though I am vaccinated I know that I can still get Covid-19 and I may be able to infect others. I don’t want to take that chance.

Last year at this time I thought we would be done with the pandemic but now I understand that this is only year two and we may have to live with SARS-CoV-2 and it’s variants for several more years.

Pricing houses has limits


Last summer I showed one of my clients a condo that was priced too high. The buyer passed on it. Often homeowners mistakenly believe that if they overprice their home buyers will simply offer less than the asking price.

It doesn’t work that way. Generally, buyers will not make offers on overpriced real estate.

The house sat on the market for months and it was taken off the market last winter. It was put back on the market this summer and still overpriced but listed for less than it was last year. It sold after a few months on the market for less than the asking price.

The better strategy in today’s market is to price it right or price it slightly below what it should sell for. The end result will be several offers and as buyers compete with each other the offers get higher.

Buyers who are looking for a bargain should make a less than asking price offer on the overpriced homes. There are few bargains in the current local housing market but occasionally buyers end up paying less when they make offers on the houses everyone else is ignoring.

In any market pricing matters.