Thursday, May 1, 2014

Top U.S. Real Estate Markets: Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is the 11th featured market in our series that takes a look at the top U.S. real estate markets from a new angle. How were the cities chosen? Using three criteria: the size of the buyer population, the number of homeowners and the average number of days houses are on the market.

Minneapolis and St. Paul Housing Market Blossoms with April Showers
The temporary chill this winter's polar vortex brought to the hot Minneapolis and St. Paul real estate market is easing with the spring thaw. Seller activity and new listings in the Twin Cities bloomed in March. The market's winter slowdown was a hiccup in what has been a record-setting and remarkable recovery from the real estate market collapse. Total sales and sale prices of single-family homes for sale in Minneapolis saw a third consecutive year of gains in 2013, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Despite the solid overall gains, the area's housing market has experienced widely varying rates of recovery in its myriad neighborhoods. The upscale Linden Hills neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis has had an increase of 19 percent in the median sale price of houses since 2007, but many suburban areas have average median prices ranging from 25 to 60 percent lower than their peak before the crash.

Economic indicators show that prospects for continual growth in the real estate market are excellent, prompting the annual "Markets To Watch" list published by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers to move the Twin Cities up three spots to number 20 for 2014. This sustained growth will keep the Minneapolis and St. Paul real estate scene a seller's market for the foreseeable future. With a median sale price of $210,309, FSBO (for sale by owner) sellers listing their homes without the services of a real estate agent will further benefit, saving the agent's 6 percent commission, an average of $12,619 in the Minneapolis and St. Paul market.

Minneapolis and St. Paul Home Buyer Hot Buttons and Deal Breakers
Key features for Minneapolis and St. Paul home buyers are in the areas of amenities and floor plans, according to a 2014 survey by Nearly two-thirds of area home buyers list a garage or carport as the most important feature in a home they are considering purchasing. Central air is second, a must-have for more than half of area homebuyers, followed by the home being in move-in condition, an open floor plan and having an outdoor space, such as a deck, patio or balcony. The most common deal breakers for Minneapolis-area home buyers are a lack of a garage or carport, a house that is not in move-in condition, a lack of a new or renovated kitchen and a lack of natural light.

Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a wide variety of residential options. The town of Linden Hills was developed as a community of 19th-century lakeside cottages that have since been replaced by generous single-family homes. South of downtown Minneapolis is the Uptown district, which hosts a bustling nightlife and the city's arts community. Originally a collection of vacation bungalows with access to the city via streetcar, the neighborhood's residential options now include apartments, mid-sized 1920s homes and newer, larger single-family homes.

St. Paul's neighborhoods offer a similar array of styles. The Macalester-Groveland area, home to both Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas, attracts a number of students who often stay in the area as young families. Merriam Park, an affluent neighborhood on the west side of the city, hosts Queen Anne-style wood frame houses from the late 19th century, as well as multi-family homes from the 1920s and newer residential construction. Dayton's Bluff is southeast of downtown St. Paul and contains the Indian Mounds Park, a 2,000-year-old Native American burial ground overlooking the river. The community has some examples of brick and stone residential architecture that dates back to the prosperous estates of mid-19th-century German-American settlers.

See what other cities made our Top Real Estate Markets list.

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