More houses to come on the market soon

During the holiday’s homeowners sometimes have their houses put in a “temporarily not available to show” status so that they remain for sale

old brick building and new apartment building
Panama Flats and Irvine Exchange apartments

but no showings are allowed. That way they can enjoy the holidays without having to worry about people wanting to tour their home.

When homes for sale are put in the TNAS status they kind of disappear from web sites and apps that show homes for sale.

Starting as early as today those houses will start going active again. If you are serious about buying a house now is the time to watch the market while others are headed for the gym or emersed in finding recipes for their keto diet or busy riding their stationary bike.

There will also be some homes that will come on the market for the first time in January, which is a good thing because right now there are fewer than 400 homes for sale in St. Paul.

Sellers should be aware that for the last several years the spring housing market is well underway by the end of January.

Residential Real Estate Predictions for 2020

It wouldn’t be new year’s eve without some predictions for the new year.

The local housing market should remain pretty much the same as it was in 2019 a strong seller’s market. Home prices will continue to rise but more slowly.

I can’t see anything on the horizon right now that might change that. There is little new construction in St. Paul and the demand for housing is higher than the supply. Interest rates should remain low throughout the year.

On a national level, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun says “Annual median home prices are forecasted to increase by 3.6% in 2020 and by 3.5% in 2021. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,”

“Apartment rents are expected to rise by 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively, in 2020 and 2021. According to the group of economists, annual commercial real estate prices will climb 3.6% in 2020 and 3.4% in 2021.”

Economists are predicting that there is a 29% chance of a recession.

“Sales of new homes probably will rise to a 13-year high in 2020 as the U.S. dodges a recession, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.

Yun is also predicting loosening of the inventory of homes for sale which will cause the number of home sales to increase in 2020. That may be the case on the national level but it is unlikely to happen in the Twin Cities area in 2020.

I am relatively confident that we won’t see a 13% rise in new construction either. New construction homes in the area ten to be very expensive and most home buyers can not afford them.

There are currently 1775 new construction homes that were built in 2018, 2019 or are currently under construction in the seven-county metro area. The average list price is $608,780, which is almost double the average price for homes in the metro area. Median home sale prices in the area were $270,000 in 2019 whereas new construction home sale median prices were over $400,000.

The demand for affordable housing continues to rise. The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis both have affordable housing initiatives.



Home sales in the 2010s

The last ten years have been a wild ride. In St. Paul housing prices hit a low in 2011. It was after the great recession ended and after the federal income tax incentives in 2010 expired.

Home prices and home sales went up in 2012 but remained lower than they were in 2009.

For a time we thought 2009 was going to be the bottom of the market but it wasn’t. Here is a chart made with data from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The data represents a very high percentage of local home sales.

2011 was the best year of the 2010s to purchase residential real estate.

Graph that shows home prices
Median home sale prices 2010 through 2019

A greener 2020 by choice

There are times when we expect our local and national government to step in and solve problems and other times when it is up to each of us

Bee on purple aster

to make a difference.

Climate change, the politically correct term for global warming, could lead to the extinction of mankind. If you do not believe this kindly refrain from commenting, this article isn’t for you.

In Minnesota, there has been more rain and flooding, especially in the last 5 years. Your homeowner’s insurance will continue to rise and taxes will increase too because of flood clean-up costs.

I have chosen to work at reducing my own carbon footprint. One way to do that is to reduce household waste. I have never been a fan of beverages especially water that comes in single-use plastic bottles. Carrying a reusable water bottle works just fine.  Going strawless is easy and not buying drinks in plastic cups is a breeze, but I still end up with too much cardboard and non-recyclable plastic.

Reducing food waste has been a challenge. It is estimated that 1/3 of all food goes to waste and that food waste and food production contributes more to greenhouse gases than transportation does. Reducing food waste takes a lot of effort.

One thing I have been doing is shopping more often but only for a couple of meals. I can do that because we live within walking distance of a couple of grocery stores. Shopping once a week never worked well at my house and has always lead to more waste.

Monarch butterflies – on blazing star

Learning to use leftovers also helps. There are even cookbooks dedicated to making meals from scraps and peelings.

We started using reusable bags at least a decade ago. The plastic bags we get we re-use, sometimes more than once.

In 2019 I started using reusable mesh bags for produce instead of the plastic bags in the produce section at the grocery store.

When I look at the amount of trash we have I realize that I need to do more. I need to consider how food and other items are packaged before I buy them.

There are other ways to use less energy. One obvious way is by driving less and by having a fuel-efficient vehicle. I am fortunate in that I have choices about where I work and I choose to work close to home. I don’t need a large vehicle and I can often walk or bike to meetings and appointments.

My business uses less paper than ever before. With electronic signature and email, there is little need to print anything. Back when I started as a REALTOR we used six-part legal-sized carbon forms and usually ran the front page through the copy machine to make more copies. Some real estate companies still print and file electronic purchase agreements after they are signed electronically.

Clothing has become a planetary problem as a source of greenhouse gases. Consider buying used clothing and donating and recycling old clothing. Did you know that animal shelters love getting old towels and blankets?

In Ramsey county, there are fix-it clinics. Sometimes household items can be repaired instead of being tossed.

There are oh so many things that can be reused. Jars that once contained food are a great example.

I know that as one person what I do doesn’t make a difference but I know that there are a lot of people like me who are doing what they can and together we can make a difference.

There are even smaller things we can all do like turning off lights and lowering the thermostat by a degree or two. Using a programmable thermostat can automate energy savings.


Add some insulation in 2020 or maybe a little weather stripping. It all adds up and ultimately reduces utility bills.

Join me and do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint in 2020 and consider global warming when you vote in 2020.

The last Friday of the year

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I took a look back at the last decade and much has changed in St. Paul and in the world. There was no light rail in St. Paul in 2009, the Union Depot was all boarded up but was restored and re-opened in late 2012.

I have a picture of Porky’s – the popular and historic Drive-in that was removed in 2011 to make way for development. There are a lot of new buildings along University Avenue and of course the light rail line that opened in 2014.

Porkys drive-in
Porky’s drive-in – moved to Pioneer Village Hastings, MN

The Historic Hope Firehouse is now the Hope breakfast bar, as it was and as it is now. The building was saved and repurposed and a hotel was built next to it.

hope firehouse
Hope firehouse before ad after

There are numerous new businesses that have cropped up in my neighborhood along West 7th near downtown. There is a new hotel on West 7th and 7 Corners hardware was demolished to make way for Trailor Bar and OxBo apartments and New Bohemia.

In the last decade, we saw the population in downtown St. Paul doubled or triple as new apartment buildings were built and the old central post office and the former St. Paul Police station were converted to housing.

Former St. Paul PD HQ – Now Penfield apartments

We have come such a long way since the great recession. I see a lot of houses being repaired and improved. There are a few near my house that spent much of the decade vacant and are now occupied. Change is the one constant in life that we can count on and it is fun to look at what are now old pictures and remember how things used to look.

Enjoy the last Friday of the year.