Real Estate Update

Weekly Real Estate Update
October 9, 2012

Some say that housing and the economy are woven together into a single garment of destiny. Let’s review recent national economic data: a good September non-farm payroll report marking 31 consecutive months of private job growth, the unemployment rate falling to 7.8 percent (a 44-month low), a widely positive S&P/Case-Shiller home price report, and mortgage rates averaging close to 3.4 percent. When you combine the above trends with less housing supply and strong home sales numbers, you can start to see just what’s driving this recovery. Here’s what transpired locally.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending September 29:
• New Listings increased 6.2% to 1,314
• Pending Sales increased 15.5% to 1,000
• Inventory decreased 29.6% to 16,261

For the month of September:
• Median Sales Price increased 12.3% to $174,000
• Days on Market decreased 28.7% to 101
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 4.1% to 94.8%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 40.9% to 4.0

As reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors


Ready to buy or sell a home? Call the sister team.
We’d love to help you move forward.

Ellen and Kate Walsh
Coldwell Banker Burnet



They Fell in Love…

And Then They Bought It

My sister and I were working with a lovely newly wedded couple to find them a home. We looked at homes in Saint Paul. We looked in Minneapolis. We looked along the river front. And then this home came on the market. Initially, the only photo on the MLS was of the front exterior. I told them it was either ugly and dated inside or the listing agents were planning professional photos to be taken.  It turned out they were having professional photos taken of the interiors.

We went to see it right away. The couple knew they had found something special that first time through. My sister and I have worked with many buyers who have walked into homes and known immediately it was the home for them.

The home had been owned by the sellers for over forty years. The prior owners had also lived in this home for decades. Both of the previous owners had been newly wedded couples when they first moved in to this home. This is what I call great predecessor history. It bodes well for this couple’s future happiness.

The next day we went back with an architect to get some ideas and cost information for remodeling the kitchen. The architect confirmed they had great space to work with.

They made their offer, and after some pretty painless negotiation, the contract was signed and delivered. They secured an amazing 2.75% mortgage rate. The closing took place at the end of July. They love their new home.

I can’t wait to see their new kitchen!

The home has a great screened porch!

And a private, double lot with mature trees and perennial gardens.


Ready to buy or sell a home? Call the sister team.
We’d love to help you move forward.

Ellen and Kate Walsh
Coldwell Banker Burnet



Real Estate Update

Weekly Real Estate Update
December 27, 2011

Another year is coming to a close, and you could sum up the local housing market as another “transition year”. There were ups and downs, with positive developments stunted by political paralysis, joblessness or other issues. Nonetheless, the housing sector took important strides forward.

Record low mortgage rates brought buyers out to the streets to snap up excess housing supply off the market. These home sales have reduced both inventory levels and seller concessions. Foreclosures and short sales have seen plenty of demand in part due to many consumers facing tighter household finances. While this has created limited price gains in many areas, it’s also hastened the eventual absorption of distressed properties.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending December 17:

• New Listings: decreased 16.9% to 799

• Pending Sales: increased 50.1% to 749

• Inventory decreased: 23.6% to 19,

For the month of November:

• Median Sales Price: decreased 10.2% to $149,000

• Days on Market: decreased 1.8% to 135

• Percent of Original List Price Received: increased 1.0% to 90.9%

• Months Supply of Inventory: decreased 30.0% to 5.7

Statistics provided by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.



Real Estate Update

Weekly Real Estate Update
October 17, 2011

It seems like every passing week brings not one but two new record declines: inventory levels and mortgage rates. The week ending October 8 was certainly no exception. The number of active listings on the market fell 21.0 percent to 22,434 units. Mortgage rates fell below 4.0 percent for the first time ever. The last time inventory was that low? February 2009.

It’s partly due to sellers not contributing many properties to the bin and partly due to buyers doing their part to absorb existing supply. New listings were down 13.0 percent to 1,262 for the week, and pending sales were up 48.3 percent to 851 purchase agreements signed.

The keen observers noticed that September’s preliminary monthly numbers came out last week. This round, those preliminary figures were revised slightly as new status changes filtered in. A few noteworthy observations:

• Prices posted the smallest year-over-year decline in eight months.
• Days on market posted its smallest increase in nine months.
• Sellers received more of their asking price for the second month in a row.
• Absorption rates posted their third consecutive month of improvements.

As reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.


Minneapolis–St. Paul Real Estate Market Update

Real Estate Weekly Update
February 28, 2011

The gap between current and year-ago listing activity continues to widen, as anticipated. Expect the supply-side numbers to show sizable year-over-year declines due to the high baseline set during the spring 2010 tax credit. It should be noted that we are now approaching a period where we’ll be comparing the 2011 non-tax credit market to the 2010 tax credit market at its peak level.

For the week ending February 19, there were 690 signed purchase agreements, which made for a 12.1 percent decline from the same week last year. There were 1,367 New Listings for the week, representing a 25.4 percent decline from a year ago. Active Listings, at 21,642, have been holding steady since the beginning of the year due to subdued seller activity coupled with fairly reliable sales volumes. That marked a 3.3 percent decline from year-ago inventory levels.

A more meaningful comparison is to look back at 2009 and 2008 and avoid tax credit stimulated activity. This week’s 690 Pending Sales fall right in between 2008 and 2009 numbers. While that is less buyer activity than we would like, it does provide hope for
the future.

As reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Wall Street Journal article: Getting a Mortgage Before the Door Shuts


A Look Back: Real Estate in 2010

Signs of Price Recovery in 2010
Amidst Fragile Demand

Although 2010 included sales gains driven by a springtime tax credit, it also endured an extended decline after it expired. The year is summed up by a boom-and-bust tax credit, 55-year-low mortgage rates, record high affordability levels and a sluggish economic recovery.


• 82,127 new homes introduced to the marketplace, down 1.4 percent from 2009 and the lowest level in eight years.

• 37,608 homes sold, down 16.8 percent from 2009 levels and also the lowest level seen in eight years.

• $169,900 median sales price, up 2.3 percent from 2009.

The tax credit shifted the typical Twin Cities buying season to spring. There were year-over-year price gains for the first seven months followed by declines in four of the last five months.

The 2.3 percent gain in median sales price was likely the result of two primary factors: strong demand early in the year coupled with more upper-bracket homes selling. Improving oversupply issues also helped the market rebalance itself and stopped the price free-falls we saw in 2008 and 2009.


Unemployment is still higher than normal for our region, but it has come down lately because of fewer layoffs and an improving jobs picture. If we can avoid more job losses, which often result in more foreclosure inventory, we should see improvement as we progress through 2011.

As reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors


Mortgage Interest Rates: So Low!

Interest Rates for October 8, 2010

This information came through my email today. Are you ready to buy?
If so, call me and I’ll help you find a home that suits your needs.

Kate Walsh
Lakes Area Realty


15-Year Term 30-Year Term
Interest Rate APR Interest Rate APR
Conventional 3.375% 3.653% 3.875% 4.033%
FHA 3.500% 4.017% 3.875% 4.646%
VA 3.500% 3.762% 4.000% 4.269%
USDA N/A 4.000% 4.437%
Rate Scenarios: Conventional: Rate based on $200,000.00 primary home purchase; $160,000.00 loan amount, 80% LTV (20% down payment), 740 Credit Score, DTI of 41%, and Escrowing RE Taxes & Homeowners Insurance.
FHA: Rate based on $200,000.00 primary home purchase; $193,000.00 base loan amount, 96.5% LTV (3.5% down payment), 660 Credit Score, DTI of 41%, and Escrowing RE Taxes & Homeowners Insurance.
VA: Rate based on $200,000.00 primary home purchase; $200,000.00 base loan amount, 100% LTV (0% down payment), 660 Credit Score, DTI of 41%, and Escrowing RE Taxes & Homeowners Insurance.
USDA: Rate based on $200,000.00 primary home purchase; $200,000.00 base loan amount, 100% LTV (0% down payment), 620 Credit Score, DTI of 41%, and Escrowing RE Taxes & Homeowners Insurance.
* Interest rates listed above are calculated with 0 points,
a 25 day lock period and are subject to change at any time.

Home Owners Becoming More Realistic

Home owners are becoming more realistic about the current marketplace.
So where does this lead us?

August 18, 2010 – reports that home owner confidence about the value of their home has declined in the second quarter.

“Home owners have become much more responsive to current market conditions than they were just two years ago, when a more typical reaction was denial.” ..—Stan Humphries, chief economist at

Even with this new realism, over 72% of adult Americans still see owning a home as part of their future and their personal American dream according to a survey for

Currently, 68% of renters who plan to purchase a home said it would be more than two years before they do. What would encourage them to buy now? These six factors were cited:

  1. Able to save a down payment (47 percent)
  2. Land a new job (28 percent)
  3. Interest rates stay low or fall lower (27 percent)
  4. Some other factor that persuades them that buying makes financial sense (24 percent)
  5. Get a raise (23 percent)
  6. Local real estate market stabilizes (9 percent)

One might have thought that market stabilization was more of an issue given all the foreclosures, short sales and declining values and yet it shows up at the bottom of this list of factors. A full 47% surveyed need to save for the down payment. Think about this—almost half of those surveyed.

If you’re a first-time buyer looking at a $200,000 home and you want or need to put 20% down, this amounts to $40,000. A buyer will also need funds for closing costs unless the seller is willing to pay these. The good news is that there is down payment and closing cost assistance for buyers.

Also on the good news front is that interest rates are at a forty-year low. Here is a sample of rates for today according to one site I’m checking:

30-year fixed conforming: 4.25%
15-year fixed conforming: 3.75%
30-year fixed FHA: 4.25%
30-year fixed VA: 4.25%
30-year fixed Jumbo: 5.25%
7-year Jumbo ARM: 3.75%

People who are currently in their seventies and older bought their homes, first and foremost, as a place to live and raise their families.

Appreciation was not the principal reason for buying. It’s very likely that home values will not rise significantly in the short term.

“Our forecast remains largely unchanged: We’re in for an L-shaped recovery that will likely keep annualized home value appreciation very low for the next three to five years.”  —Stan Humphries, chief economist at

There are certainly situations where money can be made in real estate. If you have patience and TEAM (my term for Time, Energy And Money, as well as a good team of people: Realtor, lender, closer, etc.), foreclosures and short sales represent a potential opportunity to make money. Easy money? It all depends on your definition of easy.

Back to the average homeowner, the one who is primarily looking for a place to live. What else does a homeowner get when they buy a home besides a place to live? They get greater freedom. They can make changes when and how they like. Paint the walls any color. Update the kitchen and baths to your taste. Plant a garden in the yard. Add a porch or deck. Change the carpeting. Add wood floors.

Maybe, just maybe, the idea of home ownership as the American dream is really about a larger dream: The dream of freedom and independence. We all appreciate freedom and independence. Maybe would-be and future home owners are seeking this type of appreciation. Who can put a price tag on that?

Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest. —Robert Montgomery

Need help with your American dream of home and freedom?
Call or write me.

Kate Walsh, Realtor
Lakes Area Realty
Twitter: designhouse9


Minneapolis—St. Paul Real Estate Market: June 2010

Where has the Twin Cities real estate market been and where is it heading? This monthly summary provides an overview of current trends and projections for future activity. Narrated by David Arbit, audio recorded by Zach Foty and video produced by Chelsie Foty.



Interest Rate Update

Today I’m reading reports of interest rates at 4.375% for a 30-year fixed loan and 3.875% for a 15-year fixed loan. I’m wondering what impact these rates will have on homebuyer activity for the rest of this month. These are incredible rates!



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