St. Paul home sales in 2020

I thought it would be nice to show some home sale numbers for St. Paul for the year. I have sorted the table below by neighborhood. In general, homes are less affordable than they were last year. Median home sale prices are up from 2019 by $10,000 and days on market are down by about 8 days. Homes located in the downtown area took the longest to sell and homes in the Midway neighborhood sold the fastest.

That means it takes less time to sell a house and it will see for more money than in 2019. This is good news for homeowners.

The number of home sales was up from 2019 which was surprising during the pandemic and all. Real estate did better than other sectors of the economy which is probably why we are seeing a surge (I hate that word) of new real estate salespeople.

Right now in St. Paul, we are at what I hope is the yearly low for the number of houses on the market.

People who plan to downsize this year may come out ahead if they can find an affordable house to downsize to.

table of home sales by neighborhood
St. Paul home sales by neighborhood

If you would like to sell your house please call or write for a no-obligation equity analysis . . or to find out how much it might sell for and how to get started.

We have a lot to think about

American flag
American Flag

I am beginning to really question separating business from politics. Not that I want to write about politics because I don’t but for the past several years just about anything I could write about is considered “political” and I have become too silent.

Health care, the environment, education, and racial inequality have all become highly politicized. Some of my peers use the term “politically correct” when discussing fair housing. Housing has become politicized too.

We need to learn how to talk about important issues rather than not talking about them.

As I write today I am thinking about freedom of speech. It is because of that right that I can publish this every day but there are some strings attached. If I use it to organize a rebellion against the government or use it to incite violence I can be shut down by the company that owns the server this site runs on. They have rules.

We do not own any of our content on social media. Facebook is free to users because users are the product. Our content creates engagement and Facebook literally sells our clicks to advertisers.

Freedom of speech has never given us the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater where there is no fire. Many of us were taught that as children.

We were also taught that our rights end where the rights of others begin. Which is a concept that is particularly important during the pandemic. We don’t have the right to do something that will hurt someone else because they have rights too.

I have exercised my right to free speech by attending protests which are not the same as riots. I do not condone any kind of violence or vandalism. Burning down buildings is not free speech. Instead of blaming one group or another for violence, I think it is important to check the facts and see who is actually arrested.

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).

Being banned from social media web sites is not considered an infringement on the right to free speech. Each social media site has terms of service and the people who own the sites can control them. People who do not follow the rules can be banned from the sites. Go to your favorite social media site and read the terms of service. They all have rules against hate speech and violence.

If the government were to decide who can or can not use various social media platforms that would be an infringement on the right to free speech.

The president was recently banned from Twitter and Facebook. I think that should have happened long ago. I also think that the mainstream media gave him too much coverage during his campaign rallies. People have been using Social media to help radicalize the Americans who tried to overthrow the government last week.

I hope we all find a way to talk to each other about issues that are important to us all and have discussions and maybe some debates. Disagreements are fine as long as we can respectfully disagree and keep the conversation going.

Lowest mortgage interest rates

Mortgage interest rates are oh so low. Some homeowners have managed to refinance. Refinancing can mean lower monthly payments. For those who are facing unemployment now may be the best time to refinance.

Lower interest rates will provide a little relief for homebuyers who will be experiencing high prices and a strong seller’s market in 2021.

The rates in the chart are averages from FreddieMac and are available to people who have great credit scores and incomes that afford mortgage payments.

chart with mortgage rates
FreddieMac average mortgage rates for the week ending 1/7/2021

At one point I said that mortgage interest rates would not go below 3%. I am very happy to be wrong about this.

June 2020 and January 2021 are alike

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. So far 2021 isn’t off to the best start with the raging pandemic and the attempted overthrow of our government.  Somehow with all the distractions last year I forgot to get a 2021 wall calendar. I use an electronic calendar for appointments. Some people call that “calendering”.  I just need a calendar to look at so I can quickly count days or know what day of the week a particular date falls on.

I decided to re-use last year’s calendar at least until March first. June of 2020 had the same number of days as of January 2021 and both months start on a Friday.  July 2020 starts on a Monday just like February 2021. All I had to do is cross out the extra days and renumber them for the beginning of March. There was plenty of time to make the modifications during the New Years’ holiday.

I am sure by then I will either have purchased or created a new calendar.

2021 is off to a great start and I plan to make the most of it.

2021 Calendar

Home sales by neighborhood

Here are the December 2020 home sale numbers for St. Paul. For the first time in ten months, home sale prices were slightly lower on average than asking prices. In most years home sale prices are slightly lower in December than they are in other months. In other words, there is nothing to see here.

Pending home sales and total closed sales are up from December 2019 and it looks like overall home sales or the year are up around 14% from last year. It should be noted that 2019 home sales were the lowest in 5 years and the number of homes sold in 2020 is the highest for the same 5 years.

In several neighborhoods, on average sellers did get more than the asking price. Median home prices are up 7% from last December. Homes sold quickly even during the holidays and a raging pandemic with an average of 31 days on market, and a median of only 15 days on market.

I’ll have some year-end type numbers next week.

The inventory of homes for sale remains at historic lows. The demand for housing continues to drive up prices. January 2021 promises to be a great month for local home sellers.

chart of home sales by neighborhood
December 2020 home sales

The data used to make the chart was extracted from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. The data includes a high percentage of single-family homes,  condos, and townhouses that were sold within the city limits during the month ending 12/31/2020.

If you would like to know how much your house will sell for and how long it will take to sell please contact me for a no-obligation and always free consultation.

For more local home sales numbers and assorted statistics, please see Local market conditions and home prices

It is January, time for a radon test

January is national radon awareness month even in 2021. The winter months are one of the best times to test radon levels. You can do the test yourself, and right now radon test kits are discounted.

Homebuyers should always have a radon test as part of the home inspection.  It doesn’t matter if the next-door neighbors have tested and do not have radon or if no one knows of anyone in the neighborhood who has ever had a positive radon test.

When buying or selling a house the radon test should be conducted by a professional. 

Most homeowners have never tested for radon even though it is estimated that nearly half of all Minnesota an estimated 40% of homes have elevated levels of radon.

I’ll never forget the time the real estate agent told the buyers that she had never heard of radon in the neighborhood. It just doesn’t work that way.

Radon gas can be anywhere and everywhere. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that comes from the soil. When inhaled these fine particles can damage the lungs. Exposure to radon over a long period of time can lead to lung cancer.

The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level. This is due to our geology and how our homes are operated. Minnesota homes are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon. In Minnesota, more than two in five homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk.

Learn more from the Minnesota Department of Health

Info graphic national radon hotline 1-800-sos-radon