Downtown St. Paul was very quiet during most of the pandemic. It is a bit more lively partly because of hockey and baseball. Some downtown workers have come back too. Right now 20% of all homes on the market in St. Paul are downtown condos. In most of the city, there is less than a two-month supply of homes for sale but in downtown St. Paul there is a four-month supply.
It is a seller’s market but less so than in many other parts of the metro area. The prices of condos that are currently for sale start at 80K and go up to one million with a median list price of $218,000, which is about 70K less than what it is for the rest of the city. There are definitely opportunities for homeownership in downtown St. Paul.
When I mention downtown it is assumed that I mean downtown Minneapolis and sometimes I do but today I am doing a deep dive into downtown St. Paul housing. There is more housing than ever in downtown St. Paul. The housing units that are individually owned are condos. There are also several apartment buildings including some luxury housing.
There are about 7500 people living downtown. The population has grown at the same time there is less retail and more vacant office space than ever. Downtown used to be kind of quiet at night and busy during the day now we are seeing the opposite because there are more people living downtown and there are more restaurants and bars, a ballpark and the farmer’s market too. Let’s not forget the Ordway, Union Depot, and CandyLand. The children’s Museum and the Minnesota Science Museum are down there too.
In 2021 185 condo units were sold. The average list price was $234, 564 and the average sale price was $229,583. There is a 4.5 month supply of condos for sale which means it is a seller’s market but in the rest of the city, there is a 1.3 month supply of houses for sale which is an even stronger seller’s market.
Downtown condos were on the market for an average of almost 74 days vs. the almost 23 days for housing in the rest of the city.
Currently, prices in downtown St. Paul start at less than 100,000 for a very small condo and they go up into the millions.
Downtown St. Paul was pretty quiet last year. So many events were canceled, restaurants closed and without downtown workers. I was downtown on Saturday night and there was a lot of activity with people dining out and going to the Ordway. There were people out walking and enjoying the lovely weather we had last weekend. It looked like the before time except without a Minnesota Wild game or concert at the Xcel.
Rice park was clean and litter-free. Earlier in the day I saw people from the downtown alliance out picking up litter.
As home prices have been going up the median downtown condo price went down by about 5% between 2020 and 2021. The inventory of condos for sale is higher than average and makes up about 11% of the housing for sale in the city. The number of condos for sale peaked last year and has been going down ever since.
This fall is a great time to buy a condo downtown assuming that the pandemic ends or lessens within the next year. Downtown St. Paul has always had ups and downs and I can’t think of a time when an “up” hasn’t followed a “down”.
The numbers used to make the chart are from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not gauranteed.
I see a lot of condo docs. They are part of the process of buying a condo. Buyers have ten days to review certain documents including financial statements and rules. I recently reviewed some documents that give the association the right to approve buyers.
None of the documents have any kind of criteria that the association can use to approve or reject a buyer. Rejecting a buyer could violate fair housing laws and put the homeowners association at risk.
Condo docs can be revised and updated. The documents I reviewed were last updated in the 1970s.
There are all kinds of crazy in some of the documents I see but they are written rules that night be consistently enforced and homeowners associations can make rules.
Owning a condo isn’t for everyone. I don’t think I would be a good fit even though the lifestyle appeals to me. I have clients who have always lived in condos and strongly prefer it.
Do read condo docs before committing to purchasing a unit. Also, work with an agent who has experience with condos.
There are condos and townhouses where pets are not allowed. I know of one condo building that won’t allow any pets except fish. Some associations have
height and weight and limit the number of cats and dogs. Maybe they allow cats but not dogs. I haven’t seen any that allow dogs but not cats.
I just want to make two points and that is that there are pet-friendly condos and townhouses and there are somewhere pets are not allowed. The rules are outlined in the association documents. Don’t take the seller’s word for it or a real estate agent’s word for it. Make sure it is all in writing from the condo association.
Pets are important to many of us. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 43% of households indicated they would be willing to move to better accommodate their pets, demonstrating that pets are a priority for many consumers as they look for homes.
Houses don’t stay on the market for very long these days but condos stay on the market twice as long especially if they are in downtown St. Paul. We have seen this trend before. It is a cycle but the good news is those downtown condos are selling more quickly than they did during the last cycle.
Owners of single-family homes that are not condos can expect an offer or two the first week on the market. For downtown condos, it may take more than a month. I can’t remember a time when downtown condos were selling faster than other types of housing in St. Paul. They have always taken longer to sell. Downtown has been quiet this year because of the pandemic but that is slowly changing now that more people are getting vaccinated.
This might be the perfect opportunity for those who plan in downsizing from a house to a condo.