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.

chart
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.

 

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.

Downtown Condos more affordable

The downtown St. Paul condo market has always been unique. The neighborhood is different from any other in St. Paul and so is the housing stock. Many of the condos were built or created in the early 2000s. In the last decade, more rental housing has been created and most of it is luxury apartments.

Median prices in downtown St. Paul are lower than they are for the rest of the city. It wasn’t always that way. Per square foot prices are higher downtown.

Median home sale prices downtown vs the rest of the city

 

Now and back then – 2009 and 2019

Yesterday I was looking at some numbers from a decade ago. May 28, 2009, to be exact:

Downtown St. Paul had a 9 month supply of condos on the market.  The average cumulative days on market for the 136 condos on the market was  206 days and the average list was $288,344.  

Ten years later there is a 3.2 month supply of condos on the market downtown. There are 27 units on the market and the average number of cumulative days on market is 95 days. The average list price is 386K. 

Some things have not changed. It still takes longer to sell a condo than it takes to sell other types of housing. There isn’t any other type of housing downtown. Condos in other parts of the city sell faster than downtown condos but take longer to sell than other types of housing.

The demand for inexpensive condos is high and the supply remains low.

Back in 2009, we were in a buyers market. In some parts of the country, it is a buyer’s market but here in the metro area, the seller’s market remains strong.

The overall housing supply in St. Paul is currently 2.3 months, which is the same as it was in May of 2018. In May of 2009, it was  12.4 months.

First time homebuyers and their grandparents

townhouse and condo – days on market

It doesn’t matter which indicator I look at, townhouses and condos are in demand in the metro area. Smaller affordable units are in demand for first-time homebuyers and for retirees.

The supply of condos in St. Paul is small but has remained fairly flat for the past couple of years. The number of homes for sale in St. Paul is slightly higher than it was at this time last year but still very low.

If I were a builder I know what I would build . . .

How many bedrooms does a loft have?

A Rossmor Loft – 500 North Robert street. Formerly a shoe factory

The loft is a common housing style in downtown St. Paul but they seem to confuse our MLS. Most lofts have no bedrooms. Most home buyers search for homes based partly on the number of beds and baths they have.

Lofts are flexible spaces and the bedroom is where ever you put the bed. If you put the bed by the window then the bedroom has an egress window.

The bedroom or bedrooms can be anywhere in the loft. Some people build platforms so that they have a kind of the second story for their bed and others build separate rooms and some buy dividers or storage units or curtains.

For some, the flexibility is too much. They reject the idea of living in a space that doesn’t have a defined sleeping space. It does take some imagination and creativity.

Artists lofts are lofts that are used as a space to live and work and usually have good lighting.

Many of the buildings in downtown St. Paul that have lofts in them were originally warehouses or factories. They have huge windows and exposed brick walls and high ceilings. Floors are sealed concrete. Often ductwork is exposed and some of the units have original hardware left over from when they were industrial buildings.

Decorating and living in a loft is about having less stuff and about using creative storage solutions. For example, a bookcase can serve as a room and a place for books. Hooks and shelves can take advantage of high ceilings and create verticle storage.

If you want to live in a loft consider the downtown St. Paul neighborhood. Prices range from just 100K to over a million.