market updates

Twin Cities housing market update – June & a bit o’ July 2021

Is the feeding frenzy OVER?!? Not quite, but it seems to be a LOT better? Of course that is relative! and in this case I mean relative to the crazy times we were in in March – May!

In this video and blog post I’m giving you the current conditions of the market for the 7 county Twin Cities area broken down by property type and then I’ll go into a bit about what we see as far as what terms are resulting in accepted offers right now. These are the encouraging signs I’ve been looking for!

This year has definitely been one for the books! It has been the strongest sellers market that anyone I know can remember – and this is AMAZING if you have a home to SELL! Prices are higher than ever and you can dictate the terms for the MOST part – HOWEVER! Buyers! Do not despair!  Things ARE getting easier for you now (at least compared to a couple of months ago when it was an all out SCRUM!)

A note about these graphs – I chose to make them show monthly ups and downs without the smoothing effect that softens the seasonal aspects, so keep that in mind as you look at the dips and heights. the market changes constantly, and this shows those changes month to month.

The median SFH price in the Twin Cities sits at $380,000 – that is UP from $326,100 at the beginning of this year.

Median Price TC Metro Single family Homes

You’ll often hear me talk about the “absorption rate” or the # of months supply of housing available to be sold if no other homes were to go on the market. For context it is considered a BALANCED market if there is 5-6 months of supply.  We have been UNDER 1 month for different segments of the market for much of this year, mainly anything under about about $600K. Right now we are STILL at .8 months for anything under about $400k.  For single family homes in general we are at a little over 1 month’s supply of homes. 

Months supply of Single Family Homes

Homes are only on the market for FIVE DAYS!!! a year and a half ago it was FOURTY FIVE! And only 6 months ago around 20!   So still homes are still flying off the market. 

Days on market – SFH

Let’s look at the 2 softer spots – Townhomes and Condos. 

The median price for a townhome is consistent with the rest of the market rise in prices and is at $271,000 from $240,000 in January.

Median Price for Townhomes

For Townhomes there is a little uptick in supply and we have a full month available right now. 

Months supply of Townhomes

Condos! This is the place if you’re looking for any kind of deal! Sellers are negotiating! You can get an INSPECTION!   🙂
Condo prices are at $171,000 for a median price, up a similar amount from the beginning of the year as other property types are. 

Condo median price

The supply of condos is where the opportunity comes in – Still a sellers market but for people selling condos it can feel like a whole different world. There are 2.5 months worth of inventory available. This has dropped a small amount since January but has been relatively flat this year overall. 

Months supply of condos

Now let’s look at what kinds of offers are being accepted! 

This is a valuable bit of information that the Minnesota Transaction Coordinators gives us on a regular basis and I’ll add my 2 cents to about what I am seeing (although as a much smaller segment of the market)

Offer Acceptance Rate: 42%

Inspections Waived: 31% – we haven’t been in the 30% range since March 

My 2 cents: the last 6 contracts (this past month or so) that I have either written or accepted have had inspections included and accepted. that’s 100% of my sales in the past several weeks. I’ve been thrilled for my buyers and I am 100% fine with it for my seller as well because I feel like inspections protect EVERYONE, the buyer, the seller and ME.

Pre-market Sales that happen without hitting the MLS : 2.8%. This is DOWN from earlier this year! It was over 5% for quite a while – maybe due to pandemic fears about having too many people in a home?

Average Purchase to List Price: 102.7% – about the lowest it’s been since the spring market! 

Still great for sellers, but also good news for buyers! And a lesson to sellers about pricing appropriately. Things change, you want to not have YOUR home sit because it’s been priced too high as well as understanding that unless you have something really special that the insane bidding wars may be over for now.  

I have talked to many agents saying that showings are down from earlier this spring when agents were setting overlapping showings and having the home packed full of people for 12 hours per day.  Now there are private showings again. There may be open spaces in the calendar. More than one offer may come in but they aren’t seeing the literal STACKS of offers that they were before.  

Financing Types:

Cash 11.5%, which is higher than it’s been

Conventional 68.5%, – a little lower than its been 

FHA 8.5%, higher! 

VA 3%, Still a rough spot! People that use VA are often choosing it because it is a no downpayment loan, which means they are short on cash. If you can’t make appraisal gap guarantees, or add other sweeteners that need ready cash available this can be a VERY tough time to buy.

USDA 8.5% (this is a high number and I wonder if it is a function of the sample size that they had – if they had 2 transactions it could hit this #). These loans are generally for rural buyers.

Seller Paid Closing Costs: are at 12%

Home Warranties: 5.7% – I was able to negotiate this recently as well! 

Contingent Upon the Sale of the Buyer’s Property: 8.5% (this seems HIGH to me! I’m still cautious about having this particular contingency, it can be a real weak spot in an offer if you have any competition at all. I would avoid this at all costs or you may have to make it an offer they can’t refuse due to price, or magically find a seller that wants to stay a little longer.

And that is ALL for this week.  I’ll be back next week with some more neighborhood profiles. I’ve been AWOL due to this insane market and actually getting a vacation for the first time in YEARS. No regrets. 😉

See you then! 

Home Buying · home selling

March Real Estate Market Update

My last post & video about this were pretty well received, so even though numbers aren’t flashy, I’m going to try to make this a monthly feature as we navigate through this crazy market. This post has some good little nuggets in it if you’re in certain segments of the market, so stick with me.

A bright spot for buyers?!!

Last time I posted about the market I gave an overview of “absorption rates”, this is going to be a recurring theme, so if you want to check that out you can find that post here:

There is an obvious lag in the data because we need to look after homes close and that shows up in the MLS, but I do get some data relatively quickly thanks to Minnesota Transaction Coordinators, a company that helps many of us with processing our transactions.

Let’s start there with their analysis of terms that they see in contracts.


In the past couple of months we’ve seen quite a few buyers deciding to waive the inspection in order to release one more contingency ahead of everyone else. By “a lot” I mean 38% of buyers were waiving inspection in the first 2.5 weeks of the month, but when they looked at the first through the 26th the rate went to 31%. That means that enough people have STOPPED waiving them to lower this percentage by 7%. Buyers are insisting on protecting themselves and sellers are acquiescing to that.

Offer acceptance rates

Even better, offer acceptance has gone from 31% for the month last week, to 39% for the month over all as of the 26th. YAY!!!! Sellers are accepting offers! I represent a lot of buyers and it has just been TOUGH. So this is great news.

Homes listed on the open market vs witheld

In an office as large as mine, we often hold listings off market and only market to agents within the office. This shrinks the pool of who looks at the house which is desirable for a lot of reasons – from Covid, to privacy, to simply wanting to not have to deal with the preparation and hassle of selling on the open market. Sellers can name their terms and if another agent has a buyer that can meet those, there is a happy meeting of the minds without all of the associated prep work, exposure, etc and everyone feels satisfied. The number of sales that they have worked on in this status is down to 5.6%. This is good because more homes are hitting the market than have been.

Percentage of list price received

Current purchase price to list price ratio is “down to” 104% from 105% last week. It has been hovering between 103% and 105% in the past couple of months. It’s good to have that number in mind, even though it’s not a fixed price, it’s an idea of what you should think about when offering on a property that has a lot of interest. Price is not the entirety of a an offer, there are a lot of other terms that need to be in line as well, but this is good info for this metric.

Seller paid closing costs

26% of deals include some seller paid closing costs. I have to assume in this market that the offer price was increased to account for these, but I like that we are seeing it because it means sellers are accepting these terms.

Forms of financing

76% of loans are conventional (you do NOT need 20% down for a conventional loan! These are viewed as more favorable and if you can get a conventional loan it’s one more check mark on the list of terms).

FHA loans represent 10% of the offers, CASH 10%, and VA & USDA loans are at 4%.

Traditionally, inventory really increases around this time of year (inventory = homes being listed and available for sale). We currently have less than HALF of the listings we had 6 months ago.

Good news for downtown condo buyers!

Downtown condos are in a balanced market right now! If you are looking for a condo in the central city including neighborhoods like Loring Park, Downtown, University, Dinkytown, Elliot Park etc… now is the time. We believe that this is caused by the pandemic and people wanting to live in less dense housing + fewer people needing to be downtown for work, but don’t expect it to last with the speedy rollout of vaccine and life returning to somewhat new normal.

Days on Market are up to 41 (only from 38), but these are the kinds of indicators that let buyers know that they will not likely have to pay more than list, that sellers will be willing to negotiate because they know you can find another condo to buy and someone will play ball with you.

So that is what is happening! Sellers are still mostly in control of things, but if you’re a downtown condo buyer you’re in the sweet spot!

Let me know if you have questions.


Things you NEED to know BEFORE you move to Minnesota!

If you’re thinking about moving to Minnesota, there are probably some things that you don’t even realize you need to know. I’m here to help. 🙂

Minnesota Liquor Laws

I moved here from Chicago, and I think the motto there was something like “keep everyone drunk so they don’t notice the high taxes”. There were very few constraints on when or where you could buy alcohol. I was so confused when I couldn’t buy beer on Sunday here – AT ALL.

photo of beer neon signage
Photo by Alex Knight on

Here in Minnesota, you won’t be seeing people crawl home after being at the bar til 4am like you might in Wrigleyville. Liquor can be served here Monday – Saturday 8am-2am, and on Sunday, they hope you hit the 8 am service before you hit the bar between 10am and 2am. In 2017 the Minnesota legislature finally came to their senses and decided that adults should be allowed to decide for themselves if they wanted to buy Devil juice on Sunday and allowed Sunday liquor store sales.

They aren’t going to make it convenient for you though! You will not be grabbing a bottle of wine to have with dinner while you’re at the grocery store. NOPE! You need to go to an actual liquor store to buy your beverage. There are a lot of them, and they do tend to locate close to grocery stores, but it still annoys me. Hot recommendation for one of the best liquor stores I’ve seen- if you are in SW Minneapolis and want a great selection of micro-brews, craft alcohols, and wine stop into South Lyndale Liquors. The people there are super helpful and the variety is just amazing.


Everyone’s favorite word! And top of mind for me as we get close to April 15. I feel like I just did my taxes thanks to the extension that we were given last year.

heap of american money cash and vintage light box
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Sales Tax I’m not really much of a shopper (if you meet me you’ll notice my meager wardrobe), but even I had heard about the magic that is shopping for clothing in Minnesota! No sales tax on clothing here – the price is the price! Other items not subject to tax are groceries, prescriptions, and diapers. Everything else has a sales tax of 6.875%, but counties and municipalities may add taxes of their own. Harkening back to Chicago, it was about a 10% premium to buy a burrito after you had your beer in Chicago. (Can you feel the indigestion?)

Property Tax OK, I will continue to compare MN (favorably) to IL here. When we moved here people would frequently make complaints about property taxes. We were confused since the homes we were looking at were like twice the size and half the taxes. Lake County IL has an effective tax rate of about 2.83%, Hennepin county MN is at 1.28%, so you can see why we were thrilled! For a $300,000 home that’s a BIG difference! $8,490 year vs $3,840. The median home price in the Twin Cities metro area is about $309,000.

Let’s look at it regionally and at a state level. Here is a grid of how we compare to our immediate neighbors. We look pretty good!

National Average1.07%
North Dakota.99%
South Dakota1.22%

Vehicle Tax Sales taxes are applied when you purchase major items like cars. But the tax I’m thinking of here is the vehicle registration tax – when you get new tags each year in MN the least amount you will pay is $44. The minimum charge is $25 + other fees for cars over the age of 11. MN takes the MSRP of the car and reduces it by 10% each year to determine the tax for tax renewal, so if you buy an expensive car you’ll expect to pay a bit for tags as well.


Minnesota actually has FOUR international airports! Ranked by size they are:

Minneapolis/ St. Paul Airport in the Twin Cities. This airport is enormous. Nearly 40,000,000 people fly into or out of MSP every year, which is over 400,000 flights! 87,000 people are employed in some way through MSP. 11 major airlines fly into MSP, Delta, American, and United have major presences in Terminal 1, and Terminal 2 is largely dominated by Southwest.

If you have kids, there is a fun drive-up viewing area to watch planes take off and land, it has parking and picnic tables and can be an entertaining lunch time activity with (or without) kids.

Duluth International Airport Delta, United and Sun Country Airlines fly into and out of Duluth. If you fly out of or into Duluth, you’ll most likely be connecting in Detroit, Minneapolis or Chicago.

Greater Rochester International Airport United, Delta, American, Southwest, and JetBlue are major carriers that serve this airport. They have MANY flights in and out every day. I imagine that this airport exists in support of the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

Finally, the International Falls International Airport. International Falls is a smaller city and they have an international airport because they border directly with our neighbor to the north. They have daily connecting flights to MSP airport on Delta Airlines. I’m charmed by the fact that the web site touts that the airport has vending machines. It’s a small airport, but critical to that region of the state. I am a fan of small airports, because the hassle level is so much smaller, you’re treated like a person not a herd animal.


This was a tough one for me, even coming from a northern state like Illinois. I love flowers and like to have home grown tomatoes. The lower third of Minnesota falls into zone 4a for gardening. We don’t plant anything til after the threat of last frost which is Mothers Day. That can feel like an eternal wait at times. So plan on controlling the urge to plant until middle to late May and know that mid September to early October is likely the latest that you can plan to see tender annuals survive.

pink petaled flowers
Photo by Joseph Yu on

If you decide to plant perennials, I would recommend that you be extra cautious and select a hardiness to zone 3. If you like home grown vegetables, and you’re thinking of things like tomatoes and peppers, plan to either start them inside or buy plants that have had a head start so they have time to produce for you before the frost. Of course, cool weather crops have a really happy life here – cabbage, hardy greens like kale and swiss chard do well. I’ve also had great success with herbs, even planted from seed.


country road during autumn
Photo by Alex Dayawon on

I’ve said it before, but one of the things that I truly love about Minnesota is that there are four TRUE seasons here! I love them all, but I’m usually ready for the next one when the time comes. The seasons are pretty prompt and take their place right on schedule every 3 months (even though sometimes a season can seem eternal – like a really harsh winter that doesn’t want to quit).

One thing to know is that while MN has a reputation for cold, don’t be surprised in summer when it gets HOT and humid. Spring turns to summer like someone flipped a switch. We have a pretty good stretch of days in the summer that are in the high 80’s and low 90’s. You may not need your AC ALL summer, but there are days when you’ll be very grateful to have it.

Natural Disasters

Sticking with the weather theme, what should you be prepared for? Other areas of the country have things that they are known for – California wild fires, hurricanes on the coast, but these aren’t concerns here.

white clouds over blue sea
Photo by Raychel Sanner on

Things that we worry about (and maybe hope for depending on how old your roof is) are hail storms, severe thunderstorms and tornados. I, personally, want to have a basement to hide in when tornado season is in full swing, and most homes here have them. If you don’t have a basement, head to an interior room without windows if possible. A bathroom with tiled walls work, get into the tub, and if you have a mattress of something that you can put over your heads to protect your head, even better.

In Minneapolis and much of Minnesota, we test our tornado sirens every month on the first Wednesday. This day is my dogs’s worst nightmare and it happens regularly. You should be aware of what day it is and know that we never actually have tornados at 1pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Or at least we hope not, because no one gets alarmed at that particular alarm.

Two sides of the same natural disaster coin are flood and drought. There isn’t much you can do about a drought, but knowing if you’re buying in a flood plain can be very helpful when you’re looking at property and knowing if you need to have flood insurance or not. Our multiple listing service gives us the flood status of lots, but if you’d like to check yourself you can go to the FEMA website and take a look.


Unlike South Dakota which basically has a sign at the border saying that the speed limit is 80, and don’t let us catch you exceeding that or you’re in deep doodoo, Minnesota has lots of different rules about how fast you can go and when.

photo of empty road in between grass field during golden hour
Photo by Josh Hild on

On rural interstates, the speed limit is 70 MPH, urban expressways and interstates it drops to 65. Other main highways are at 55mph, and when you enter an urban area you can plan on the speed limit being 30. Unless you’re on a neighborhood street in Minneapolis in which case you better know that it’s 20.

We have a lot of potholes here because of the changing weather conditions and you should keep an eye out for them unless you don’t mind getting a flat or having your teeth come down hard on your tongue. People joke about there being 2 seasons, winter and road construction, but there is really only one season – road construction.

We thought moving here would mean moving to a place that had a good handle on snow removal, but I’ve found that it varies widely. In the city of St. Paul it can feel like every man for himself. Suburbs and outer areas handled by the state tend to do a better job clearing with plows and salt or a salt/grit combo. I’m writing this in peak grit season as the snow has melted and it leaves behind the grit. LOTS OF GRIT. It’s unavoidable and annoying, but I appreciate the traction in winter. Hot tip – get an all wheel drive car that has some weight to it and you’ll probably be ok driving on our roads. 😉

Staying warm (or cool)

I’ve been in other parts of the country that seem to rely on electricity to provide heat, but here in Minnesota we primarily use natural gas and forced air furnaces. If you have a forced air furnace you’re also likely to have, or be able to easily install, central air conditioning.

Older homes use radiant heat, either through baseboard radiators, radiant floor heat or the traditional style cast iron radiators that you may have seen. I’m a fan because it’s a constant warm heat rather than a blower clicking on and off all the time, but there are downsides. No ductwork available for the AC, and the air may get very dry in your home.

If you do have radiant heat and still want AC your choices are the old school window units or you can have an attic condenser unit and they will put round ducts in the ceiling for it, or what is called a “mini split” that is kind of a rectangle shaped AC unit installed on the wall. Retrofitting an old home for AC can be a little pricey and it’s important to think about that when you’re considering how you like to live in a home.

cozy fireplace in light minimalist living room
Photo by Rachel Claire on

Many people in Minnesota have wood stoves in their homes – we have one! They are a nice addition for mood and heat, but it’s totally an extra that we enjoy, not the way we heat our house. The beauty of a wood stove is that the heat stays in the home, and they are made of cast iron which retains and radiates the heat, so you get that glow and warmth without the heat loss that you can have with a regular fireplace.

What else are you curious about? How does this seem different from where you live now?

Home equity

Steps to building equity in your home…

What is equity?

Equity is your ownership stake in the house. If your home is worth $300,000 and it’s paid off, you have have 100% equity in the home or equity of $300,000. Most people do NOT have 100% equity in their home, they may have put a 20% (or if it’s an FHA loan 3.5%) down payment and then owe the balance (80% or 96.5%). But that isn’t the end of the story. Beyond whatever your original down payment is, you can build “equity” in a home by doing what you can to improve the value of the home as well.

Most homes will increase in value over time and that means that beyond paying down principal, equity will increase as the home’s value increases because the value increase is YOURS and nothing to do with any debt to a mortgage company.

To use a very simplistic example: If a home’s value increases at 3% per year and the home was valued at $100,000 when it was purchased, the following year it would be valued at $103,000. You owe less on your loan because you’ve been paying down the principal AND if you were to sell your home would it likely get $3k more than it would the year before, and that money is yours.

Here are some ways to increase the equity in your home:

Pay more than you need to on your mortgage.

This is a great option if you don’t have debts that carry a higher interest rate than your mortgage (pay off the highest interest rate debt first), if your home appreciates faster than your 401K or if you aren’t tight on money month to month.

Talk to your lender to make sure that extra payments will go specifically toward principal and then consider either adding additional money to your payment or trying to make at least one extra payment per year.

Here is an example of interest savings and reduction in the life of the loan by making an extra payment, or simply paying a little more each month from

Here’s an example of how prepaying saves money and time: Kaylyn takes out a $120,000 mortgage at a 4.5 percent interest rate. The monthly mortgage principal and interest total $608.02. Here’s what happens when Kaylyn makes extra mortgage payments:

Minimum every month30 years$98,888$0
13 payments a year*25 years, 9 months$82,870$16,018
$100 extra every month22 years, 6 months$70,944$27,944
$50 extra every month25 years, 8 months$82,452$16,436
$25 extra every month27 years, 8 months$89,864$9,024
*Extra $608.02 payment

Refinance to a shorter term loan.

People often only think in terms of a 30 year loan on a home, but you can finance a home for 15 years at a lower interest rate and pay off your home in half the time. Even better, those aren’t your only 2 choices – you can ask for any term that you like and that will make the rates work for you. Not every lender will have that flexibility, but the ones I work with have been offering off term loans as well.

One thing to consider with this option is that you will have a higher payment that you are obligated to make. You’ll be committed. In the first scenario that I mentioned where you pay a little more every month it’s voluntary and you can set it up to do so automatically so you don’t have to make that decision every month, but you can also stop it if your financial situation changes.

Renovate the interior.

Simple things like fresh paint and new light fixtures can go a long way to improving the value of your home and your equity in it. You don’t have to make it look like an HGTV star lives there – simply having relatively modern fixtures and a home that looks clean and well cared for goes a long way.

If you do choose to do a more extensive update, kitchens and baths are where you’ll see the biggest return. This assumes that you choose a style that is not super trendy or likely to appeal to only a small subset of buyers. Keep things relatively classic and as high quality as you can afford.

Add curb appeal.

Many buyers make their decisions within seconds of seeing a house. You may not be a gardener, but taking care of the exterior of the home goes a long way. No chipped or faded paint. Flowers in pots or well maintained beds. Make your entryway look inviting by having a fresh paint job on the door & quality fixtures. Keep trees and bushes pruned back away from the house and the lawn well cared for and not overgrown. It’s weird that free or inexpensive things like trimming trees and planting flowers can have an impact, but value is also about perception. Square footage is one thing, but condition is another.

Any deferred maintenance on the exterior makes alarm bells ring loudly to buyers and appraisers.

Why does equity even matter?

Well, it doesn’t, unless it does to you. One reason it could matter is if you’ve purchased a home with less than 20% down and want to get out from under PMI. If you are able to increase the value of your home over time or with improvements, you can have the property reappraised and potentially get rid of PMI. If you had an FHA loan you would be required to refinance, but the same theory applies. And, hey! If you had an easy time making your mortgage while paying PMI, pretend you still have it and throw that $100/month at your mortgage principal instead.

Some people want to be debt free, and home mortgages are typically the largest debts we carry. Ridding yourself of a house payment as soon as possible as well as reducing interest payments is a good thing if this is your goal.

Or maybe you use your home as a form of savings account in addition to whatever else you’re doing and plan to sell it when you retire and use the proceeds to buy your beach bungalow or cabin. Or you have kids that will be going to college and you want to be able to use some of the equity in your home to pay for it.

Whatever your goals are, these are a few ways to help you get there.

Home Buying · home selling

Buying and selling homes and Corona Virus…

I wanted to talk a bit about how to navigate buying or selling a home now that we have to contend with corona virus. It’s an uncertain time and we all want to remain safe, and fortunately people have been buying and selling properties at a distance for a long time and we are equipped to adjust our business to minimize close contact and reduce the possibility of contracting it for ourselves and others.

Some recommended steps:

  1. If you are selling your home – you can list it in a ‘withheld” status. This limits marketing to only agents within a broker’s offices, NOT the general public. My broker has 800 agents, and any buyers that they represent would then be able to match their clients with your home. So, it’s not AS many people, but they are qualified people.
  2. As a withheld listing you would not be able to hold open houses (general public), but when you want to avoid contact with people, open houses aren’t recommended. Consider having a virtual open house if you want one, with the use of a 360 camera you can allow buyers to navigate on their own virtually, and it can exist for viewing longer than the hours of an open would.
  3. Virtual showings… if you don’t want to see every property in person, your agent can video the property and see if there are odors, defects that aren’t evident in the photos, a view of the neighborhood, etc. It cuts down on seeing quite as many properties in person.
  4. I ask sellers to leave ALL doors open, ALL lights on to minimize the surfaces that would have to be touched in the home.
  5. I bring Lysol wipes to all showings – and I wipe down the key box, kets, door handle, light switches, railings, etc so that surfaces are clean.
  6. Continuing with sanitation – hand sanitizer on the way IN to a house and hand sanitizer on the way OUT of the house.
  7. Screen buyers with health and travel questions.
  8. Use a virtual broker like Keller Mortgage… they do great work and they save you money! no loan origination fee, low rate, $1000 credit at closing for loans over $150K
  9. About the “market” – the one you sell in is also likely the one that you will buy in. If your home loses a little on price, the house you are buying likely will as well.
  10. Finally – people stay in their homes for 7-10 years on average. Home prices trend UP over TIME, the daily market conditions are only relevant if you’re buying and selling daily!
  11. You don’t have to be present for MOST things – even closings can often be done remotely. We use e-signatures on documents regularly – it’s a standard way of doing business already.

Thinking about buying or selling and have questions? Let me know your thoughts!