Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Property Management

History of the Empire State Building: A Financial Flop for Nearly 20 years

By QuickLiquidity | Date: June 13, 2017 | Category: History

In the late-1920s, New York’s economy was booming and a competition to build the world’s tallest building was heating up. One man who was at the center of it all was Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation, who wanted to build the world’s tallest building as a monument to himself and American capitalism. Chrysler began construction of his monument, the Chrysler Building in 1928 at 405 Lexington Avenue. Despite the buildings name, the Chrysler Corporation did not pay for the construction of the building and never owned it. Instead Chrysler paid for it himself, with the hope of his children one day inheriting the world’s tallest building.

The architects of a competing building, 40 Wall Street, had devised a plan to prevent the Chrysler Building from ever becoming the world’s tallest building. Seeking the title for themselves, they planned 40 Wall Street to be 925 feet tall: 85 feet taller than the Chrysler Building had originally planned to be. When Chrysler found out about 40 Wall Street’s plans he decided to add a surprise 186-foot spire to his building. 40 Wall Street finished construction first in April of 1930, and held a celebration for being the tallest building in the world, without knowing that they were about to be surpassed. Less then two months later, the construction workers at the Chrysler Building hoisted 4 parts of the secret spire to the top and riveted them together in 90 minutes. At 1,046 feet high, the Chrysler Building became the world’s tallest building¹.

John J. Raskob of General Motors, a rival of Chryslers, also aspired to build the world’s tallest building. Raskob purchased 350 Fifth Avenue and began construction of the Empire State Building in March of 1930, only a few months before the Chrysler Building was completed. Raskob hired architect William F. Lamb, who finished the original drawings for the Empire State Building in only two weeks. In one of their first meetings Raskob had taken a jumbo pencil, stood it on its end and asked Lamb, “Bill, how high can you make it so that it won’t fall down?” Using over 3,400 laborers a day, the building went up in just over a year, well ahead of schedule and under budget at $40 million, which would be nearly $600 million today. During certain periods of construction, the frame grew a remarkable four-and-a-half stories a week. Not to be bested by the Chrysler Building, Raskob put the final cherry at the top of his building – a spire, making the Empire State Building a soaring 102 stories and 1,250 feet high. The Empire State Building was completed in May of 1931 and became the world’s tallest building, a title it would hold for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center was completed in 1970. While successful in beating the Chrysler Building in height, the Empire State Building was far from being the success Raskob had hoped.


Full Article:

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Real Estate Trends

Minnesota: Commercial Development Hub

A recent post by the New York Times blog, shows Minneapolis is among the leaders in urban development. One may ask, why and how does Minneapolis keep attracting people to the city? Simple, the city’s diverse population allows for vibrant restaurants and events, and municipal transportation creates accessibility to and from these destinations. Looking deeper, destinations and even housing were only possible through recent Minneapolis commercial development. You can see from almost any point in the city a construction crane or sign saying, “Opening Soon.”

Setting aside apartment and condo developments, the last 15 years has seen revitalization of major Minneapolis buildings. The old Sears building on Lake Street is now the Midtown Global Market which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year, and the Foshay Tower is now the W-Hotel. Recently, the Minneapolis Armory, also on the national landmark registrar, looks to be renovated into a venue hosting large crowds as an event center. The Armory was recently sold for $6 million dollars to Nedal Yusuf Abul-Hajj who has submitted plans to convert the 80 year old building.

Architecture & Design, Commercial Lending, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Housing Trends

Finance & Commerce: Will Minnesota law change revive condo development?

Original Article

Date: June 7th, 2017

By: Brian Johnson


A change in Minnesota law that makes it more difficult for homeowner associations to sue over construction defect claims may or may not revive condominium and townhome construction. But builders, developers and real estate agents who pushed for the change say it’s a good start.

House File 1538, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last week, requires homeowner associations to implement a preventive maintenance plan, go through mediation, and get the majority of association members on board before they can proceed with a construction defect lawsuit.

“None of us have a crystal ball as to whether any of this will change the market,” said Ryan Hamilton, associate legal counsel for the Minnesota Association of Realtors, which supported the bill. “It is an effort to improve the risk environment. We hope it does that.”

Builders and developers have been clinging to that hope for a while. In recent years, they have been hesitant to move forward with condo and townhome developments for fear of litigation, despite growing demand for such homes. Another barrier: Some still feel the sting of the condo bust in the previous decade, and the lenders do, too.

As Finance & Commerce has reported, state law allows a condo owner or association to sue project teams for “major construction defects” for up to 10 years after the unit or building was completed. The law was amended in 2010 to add commercial contractors to the list of liable partners. That 10-year statute still applies, said Minneapolis attorney Peter Coyle, who worked with the Housing Options Coalition.

Homebuilding has been on the upswing overall. More than 7,600 new multifamily units were added in the seven-county metro area in 2015, up from 2,329 in 2007, according to the Housing Options Coalition, which pushed for the new law. Coalition members include the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

But because of the liability issue, condos and townhomes represent a much smaller share of new housing units. Two years ago, 3 percent of new multifamily units were condos and townhomes, down from 23 percent in 2007, the coalition said.

Speaking to the demand side, Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas points specifically to downtown Minneapolis and the city’s North Loop.

Demand is solid for condos there, but “hardly any” units are for sale, said Tousley, director of real estate programs at St. Thomas. Still, he noted new ones are coming online, including developer Jim Stanton’s 374-unit Legacy Condos project at 121 12th Ave. S. in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

“I think you will see people moving in to fill that supply,” he predicted.

Abbey Bryduck, legislative director for AGC-Minnesota, hopes the change will encourage more development. In particular, the preventive maintenance requirement “goes a long way in making sure these buildings are maintained properly,” she said.

The bill, which was approved by a wide margin in the Legislature, had a Republican author in the House and a DFL author in the Senate.

Despite the bipartisan support, some language in the bill, including the requirement to get the majority of condo owners on board with a lawsuit, gives pause to David Hellmuth, an Edina attorney who represents homeowner associations.

Hellmuth said the requirement puts an “unnecessary restriction” on the association when legitimate claims need to be addressed.

A typical defense against construction defect claims is that the association didn’t do enough preventive maintenance. In other words defendants claim the association “caused their own problems,” he said.

“Whether or not that is true is debatable,” Hellmuth said.

Even so, housing industry advocates like David Siegel of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities expect to see more condo and townhome projects sprout up in the metro area and across the state with the changes in effect.

How far has townhome ownership declined?

A number of years ago, BATC held an event that showcased townhomes, condominiums and other for-sale multifamily properties. “We could not do any such thing today,” Siegel said, because the options are too limited.

“I think this legislation will lead to more condo development, and will similarly result in more townhome construction,” Siegel added.

The Builders Association of Minnesota also supported the legislation, said Remi Stone, BAM”s executive vice president.

Stone said it “improves the landscape” for builders and developers looking to produce condos and townhomes, which appeal to younger buyers just entering the market as well as empty-nesters. That goes for markets such as Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth, as well as the Twin Cities, she said.

Stone hopes the statute changes will spur more development. “This is one feature,” she said. “We still have issues of financing, we still have regulatory costs. But there is demand. And where there’s demand, the market will go.”

Architecture & Design, Development, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Former Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home Development Remains Postponed

If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis. 

The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.

While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.


Affordable Housing, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

University of St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis for April 2017: High Demand and Low Supply Continue to Put Upward Pressure on Sale Prices

Negative Equity – Continued Improvement in 2016 but Still an Issue

The number of homeowners with negative or near negative equity continues to decline but is still high by historical standards. Lack of equity is a reason that many homeowners are not willing or able to put their homes up for sale which is a contributing factor to the very low number of homes for sale in the Twin Cities. As can be seen in the table below about 1 in 5 homeowners in the metro area with a mortgage is in a negative or near negative situation.

% of Home Owners in the Twin Cities with Negative or Near Negative Equity

County Negative Equity* Near Negative Equity**   County Negative Equity* Near Negative Equity**
Hennepin 8.0% 20.4% Scott 6.1% 20.1%
Ramsey 6.6% 18.7% Carver 5.9% 21.3%
Dakota 6.6% 20.5% Chisago 8.5% 22.9%
Washington 6.6% 21.1% St. Croix (WI) 7.9% 23.0%
Anoka 7.0% 23.6% Pierce (WI) 11.3% 27.5%
Twin Cities 7.3% National 10.5%

     Source: Zillow

* Negative Equity – Owes more than the house is worth

** Near Negative Equity – Equity is less than 20% of value

“The problem with near negative equity is that home owners are not actually underwater, but in many cases they do not have enough equity after they sell their home to pay for the costs of buying a new home, including a down payment, commissions and taxes” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas. In 2017, home prices are expected to increase about 5% – 6% in the Twin Cities, which will free many more homeowners from negative equity Rising prices and loan repayments will also continue to improve the equity position for homeowners, but this will be a slow process and we should be prepared for higher than normal negative and near negative equity to be a part the housing market for a long time to come.

 High demand and low supply of homes for sale continue to put upward pressure on sale prices in April. The overall median sale price jumped from $237,300 in March to $246,000 in April. The traditional, non-distressed median sale price is at a new all-time high at $250,000, a 4.2% increase compared to April 2016. On the supply side in April there were 10,969 homes available for sale, 19.9% less than April 2016. Again, the shortage is most acute in the low to moderately priced homes. See the table below.

Homes For Sale vs. Closed Sales –  Where The Action Is

Price Range Number of Homes For Sale % of Total Homes For Sale Number of Closed Sales % of Total Sales Months Supply
0 – $200,000 1992 18.2% 1449 30.7% 1.2
$200,000 – $400,000 4554 41.5% 2484 52.5% 1.9
$400,000 – $600,000 2270 20.7% 563 11.9% 4.2
$600,000 + 2095 19.0% 230 4.9% 8.5
       Total 10969 4726

The number of homes sold in April was 4,726 compared to 4,348 in March and 5,252 in April 2016. That is 10% less than the number of sales recorded in the same period a year ago. We believe that this is a reflection that extreme the low supply of homes for sale is beginning to impact the number of homes sold in April. This this the first time since 2011 that the number of closed sales has declined on a year over year basis. The number of new listings was 7,747, which is 8.3% less than recorded in April 2016. That decrease is a sign that the short supply situation is likely to continue for at least the next several months. We believe that the changes observed in April are the beginning of an indication that the supply and demand sides of the market are becoming slightly less imbalanced.

 The St. Thomas Indexes

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for April 2017. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures) started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

At a level of 1172 the April UST Residential Real Estate Traditional Sale Composite Index is up significantly, registering a 3.1% monthly increase compared to the level of 1137 that was recorded in March.

The UST Residential Real Estate Short Sale Composite Market Health Index was 1045 in April, up 3.1% from the 1014 recorded in March.

The UST Residential Real Estate Foreclosure Composite Index was observed in April at 924 a significant increase over the 901 recorded in March.

For more information, visit the Shenehon Center’s complete report for March 2017 at report is also available for free via email from Tousley at


Commercial Real Estate, Industry News, Retail Real Estate

Is the U.S. Over-Retailed?


When and where will we see the impact from the store closures?

Reposted from nreionline – Barbara Byrne Denham, Victor Calanog | May 15, 2017

When looking at the numbers, the story is not as bad as many have reported. The retail vacancy rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers was flat in the first quarter at 9.9 percent, the same as in the first quarter of 2016. Moreover, rent growth was positive, at 0.3 percent for the quarter. The mall vacancy rate only climbed to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent at the end of 2016 and rent growth was 0.4 percent during the quarter.

So when and where will we see the impact from the store closures?

First, many of the store announcements have yet to translate into actual closings. Thus, we should see more vacancies in the next three or four quarters. Second, a number of other retailers are expanding into retail space, we are seeing quite a bit of this in the properties we survey. Third, many of the stores closing are in less densely populated or more rural areas beyond the 80 primary metros that we track. Indeed, our tertiary market statistics show an aggregate retail vacancy rate increase to 13.5 percent from 13.2 percent at the end of 2016 and no rent growth.

We are seeing consistent results in the employment numbers. That is, only 14 of 82 primary metros tracked by Reis show a year-over-year loss in retail jobs, but 35 tertiary markets show an employment loss as of the first quarter. It should be noted that nearly all of the retail losses at the national level are in “general merchandise” stores that include department stores as well as supercenters. It should also be noted that the U.S. added retail jobs in April, yet the media stayed mum.

 Still, anyone looking at this industry will say the same thing: we are over-retailed. Retail development exploded in the late 1980s through the 1990s. It has subsided in this last cycle as many developers and lenders got burned in the recession. But there are likely still more stores than we need. And with the overwhelming growth in e-commerce we probably need fewer than we currently have in a number of markets. But where to start?

A good way of measuring what markets may be over-retailed is to compare retail employment to population. The table below shows the markets with the highest and lowest ratios of retail employees per 1,000 people and the respective growth in retail rent over the last four years.

As the tables above show, there is a pretty wide gap between the metros that have a high retail employment per population ratio and those that have a low ratio (39 to 66). What’s more significant is the differences in the range of rent growth rates between the top and bottom tables. That is, those with a high ratio had persistently slower rent growth than those with a low ratio. In fact, for the 80 metros tracked by Reis, the correlation coefficient for the four-year retail rent growth and retail employment per 1,000 residents is -22.3 percent. In other words, markets that look to be over-retailed (i.e. with a high retail-employee-to-population ratio) have generally seen lower retail rent growth than those that seem to be relatively under-retailed.

While this correlation coefficient is negative as one would expect, it is still pretty low. This suggests that far more variables are impacting retail rent growth. In fact, the correlation coefficient between population growth and retail rent growth was significantly higher: 42 percent. Thus, population growth drives retail rent growth more than the saturation of the retail industry.

 While the numbers show that the retail industry could in fact be over-saturated, the impact of this saturation on the real estate industry may not be as troublesome as many would presume. Again, other businesses are expanding in formerly empty stores, especially non-traditional tenants such as yoga studios and urgent care medical centers. In sum, while the media may overreact to the next jobs report as doom and gloom for the retail industry, it is important to consider what is likely not being reported in the press, which is that the retail industry is performing better than many would assume.

Barbara Byrne Denham serves as an economist and Victor Calanog as chief economist with Reis, Inc, a provider of commercial real estate data and analytics.

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Economics, Executive Insight Series, Housing, Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Programs, Real Estate Trends, Think Outside The Box, Twin Cities Real Estate, Upcoming UST Events

Real Estate Executive Insight Speaker Series Bob Lux – Inside the Mind of A Developer


Real Estate Executive Insight Series

Bob Lux – Inside the Mind of A Developer 

Event Details Tuesday, March 28th 2017 5:30 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus Schulze Hall, Room 127

A candid conversation with industry leader Bob Lux, Founder Alatus LLC

Quality real estate development requires innovative thinking. Bob Lux, founder of Alatus LLC, has been in the real estate development and investment business for over 30 years. His company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions and high quality projects by wisely using his team’s talents and strengths to achieve the client’s vision and form a better community.   Lux will discuss the challenges, opportunities and trends in developing residential and commercial real estate in the Twin Cities. Lux will also share his views on the condo market and as the largest private owner of parking facilities in Minnesota Bob will outline his expectations for future parking and infrastructure needs in the downtown area.

Agenda 5:30-6 p.m. Networking 6-7 p.m. Presentation by Bob Lux

Register Today
Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis: More Twin Cities Homes for Rent Means Fewer are Available to Purchase

The growing number of single-family rentals is contributing to a chronic shortage of moderately priced homes on the market.

More and more single-family rental homes — a trend that has been developing locally and nationally since the start of the Great Recession in 2008 – means there are fewer and fewer single-family homes available for purchase. According to the most recent market analysis by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, this increased percentage of rental homes is yet another factor contributing to a historically low supply of homes for sale in the 13-county Twin Cities region. In earlier reports, the center examined other causes that contribute to the shortage: low or negative equity during the recession, concerns about job or financial situations, and a trend of keeping homes longer than in the past. Earlier this year, the center predicted that the persistent low availability of homes for sale, coupled with strong demand, will result in a 5 percent increase in the median sale price of Twin Cities homes this year.

“On a national and local basis we have seen the formation of companies and funds such as Blackstone’s Invitation Partners and American Homes 4 Rent that are buying large numbers of single-family homes for investment purposes,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university. “Blackstone is the largest of single-family investors; they currently own about 50,000 homes across the country,” he said. “Their strategy was to purchase single-family homes at deeply discounted prices during the recession, rehab the property, and then hold the property longterm as a rental property. Even though home values have increased since the end of the recession, many of these companies are still actively buying. “Institutional investors have largely figured out how to maintain and efficiently operate ‘scattered-site single family rentals’ on a professional basis. Most of these homes are in established neighborhoods. Renovation and a regular maintenance schedule preserves the housing stock and maintains the quality of the surrounding neighborhood,” Tousley said.

This is a trend that is not only occurring in the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it is happening all across the Twin Cities metro area. The total number of single-family homes being rented in suburban neighborhoods has increased from 12,000 in 2000 to over 28,000 in recent years, according to data compiled by the Metropolitan Council. Of the 93 cities that were tracked, all but 32 saw their single-family rentals grow by at least 100 percent between 2000 and 2013.

Where are the Single Family Rentals in the Twin Cities?         Top 5 Cities by %

City Single Family Homes as Rentals in 2000 % of Rentals in 2000 Single Family Homes as Rentals in 2013 % of Rentals in 2013
Minneapolis 5864 8% 10278 14%
St Paul 3976 7% 7416 13%
Brooklyn Center 193 3% 867 12%
Columbia Heights 153 3% 610 12%
Anoka 177 5% 449 11%

Meanwhile, the number of homes available for sale that are priced between $150,000 and $350,000 has been steadily declining since 2008. Tousley said that homes in this price range are very attractive to the large institutional investors because they make good rental properties that provide a good return to their investors. However, homes in that same price range also are the most attractive to first-time homebuyers and first-move-up buyers. “The homes that are purchased by the institutional investors are going to be held longterm as rental properties so they in effect would be ‘off the market’ and will not be available for sale for a long period of time. The institutional ownership of large numbers of homes as single-family rentals is a relatively new development in the housing market and it is one more factor that is contributing to the chronically low number of homes available for sale,” he said.

February Market Summary

The housing market in the Twin Cities continued on its normal seasonal pattern in February. As expected the overall median sale price was essentially the same as January at $223,000. The traditional, non-distressed median sale price was $230,000, a 4.2 percent increase compared to February 2016.

The number of homes sold in February was 2,696 compared to 2,814 in January and 2,716 in February 2016. The percentage of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) ticked up slightly in February at 9.2 percent, however that percentage should continue to decline to pre-recession levels as we move into the spring selling season.

As noted earlier, the continued shortage of homes available for sale continues to be an issue. As buyers become more active in the spring-summer selling season, the shortage will create additional upward pressure on sale prices.

“The concern is that if this continues over a long period of time … where median sale prices are increasing faster than wages and income … it will begin to create affordability issues especially if interest rates begin to rise,” Tousley said.

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for February 2017. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.


  • The February 2017 index score for traditional sales was 1,114, down 0.4 percent from January 2017 and up 4.1 percent from February 2016.


  • The February 2017 index score for short sales was 993, down 2.5 percent from January 2017 and up .1 percent from February 2016.


  • The February 2017 index score for foreclosures was 842, up .2 percent from January 2017 and up 7.5 percent from February 2016.


More information online

The Shenehon Center’s complete online report for February can be found at:

The report is available via email from Tousley at

Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate Index, Economics, Industry News, Office Real Estate, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Twin Cities Real Estate

Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Outlook Showing Few Changes Following Election, says University of St Thomas Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey

The December 2016 University of St. Thomas/Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey, taken entirely after the November 8th election, shows few changes in commercial real estate leaders outlook. The biannual survey projects a two-year-ahead outlook for Minnesota’s commercial real estate industry and forecasts potential opportunities and challenges affecting all commercial real estate sectors.

In all 12 surveys the same group of 50 industry leaders have been polled on their expectations for future commercial real estate activity in six categories: rents, occupancy levels, land prices, cost of building materials, rate of return, and equity requirements. Their responses are used to create index scores that can be compared over time. Scores higher than 50 represent a more optimistic view of the market over the next two years; scores less than 50 represent a more pessimistic view.

The panel is expecting to see a continuation of the favorable market conditions for commercial real estate that we have been experiencing for the last two to three years. The results of the November 8th presidential election does not appear to have significantly changed their outlook for the next two years

Observations from 2016 have recorded few major changes in expectations from before the election compared to after the election. “The natural cycle in commercial real estate appears to be running its course somewhat independent of the presidential contest” says Herb Tousley, Director of the Real Estate Programs at the University of St Thomas. “While the forecast for 2017 still looks good, the increase in online shopping, higher interest rates, and the continued redefinition of the office environment will remain major factors in the performance of commercial real estate in 2017.”

Here is a look at the panel’s responses for each of the questions.

Rent Expectations

An outlook that rents will continue to increase at current rates. The index for rental rates has increased from a highly optimistic 60 to a slightly more optimistic 61. This is an indication of an expectation of continued rent growth over the next two years and that the economy will continue to grow and that business conditions will continue improve.

Occupancy Expectations

A moderately positive outlook on expected occupancy levels. The index for occupancy levels increased moderately from 52 to 54. This indicates the panelists continue in their belief that occupancy levels will increase slightly over the next two years. This is a continuation of a trend that began 1 ½ years ago that reflects their expectation that business will continue to expand and will need more space.

Land Price Expectations

Increases in land prices are expected to moderate. The panel’s outlook for land prices reveals an expectation that land prices will increase at a slower rate between now and fall 2018. The land price index has increased (become less pessimistic) for the fourth consecutive survey moving from 40 last spring to 46 this fall.

Building Material Price Expectations

Increases in the price of building materials are expected accelerate.  The index for the price of building supplies took a sharp turn downward, moving from a strongly negative 32 to an even more negative 29. This reflects the panel’s strong belief that rate of increase in building material prices will accelerate over the next two years.

Return on Investment Expectations

Investors return expectations are expected to increase slightly over the next two years. The index for investor’s return expectations has decreased slightly moving from 48 to 46. This slight decline indicates that investors will be looking for higher returns. The consensus among survey respondents indicates that investors will be seeking higher returns due to their expectation of increasing interest rates over the next two years.

Lending Expectations

More equity is expected to be required.  The index for the amount of equity required by lenders decreased significantly, falling from 42 in to 36. This indicates the panel’s strong belief that credit will be available for good projects but lenders will be more risk adverse by increasing their equity requirements in the coming two years.

 More Information

Additional details can be found on the Shenehon Center’s website:

Affordable Housing, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Multifamily, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas real estate analysis for July: Tight market is the result of several long-term trends that won’t change soon

Current trends, including the low number of moderately priced homes, are expected to continue through the end of 2017.mortgages

Current real estate trends in the 13-county Twin Cities region, including the historically low number of moderately priced homes available to purchase, are the result of several long-term trends that are expected to change slowly over time. That’s the conclusion reached by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. The center examined the Twin Cities’ long-term trends, expected to continue through the end of 2017, in its monthly analysis of metro area real estate data. “The historically low-supply-of-homes-for-sale situation has been with us for the last several years although it has been most acute since mid-2015,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university.

He cited five statistics that illustrate the housing supply-and-demand situation in the Twin Cities:

  • Days on Market:       It was 53 days in July. That’s 15 percent less than a year ago and the fastest turnover since 2007.
  • Month’s Supply: It was 2.9 months in July. That’s 24 percent less than a year ago and the lowest 12-month average since 2005.
  • New Listings: It was 7,522 in July. Down 14 percent from June and 6 percent from a year ago.
  • Closed Sales: It was 6,030 in July. The annualized number of homes sold has increased 59 percent since early 2011.
  • Homes for Sale: It was 14,457 in July. The annualized number of homes for sale has decreased 48 percent since early 2011.

The shortage of homes is most pronounced for homes selling for less than $200,000 and for those selling between $200,000 and $399,000.

For example, in July there was only a two-month supply of homes selling for less than $200,000 and a 2.6-month supply for homes selling between $200,000 and $399,000. However, there was 5.2-month supply of homes selling between $400,000 and $599,000 and a 10.5-month supply of homes selling for more than $600,000.

Also in July, 56.3 percent of homes available for purchase were under $400,000 while 81.7 percent of homes sold were under $400,000.

The median price for homes sold in the Twin Cities in July was $239,000. That’s down $6,000 from the all-time high median sale price of $245,900 that was set in June. However, it still is in record territory; the previous high was $238,000 set in June 2006.

Supply Side Trends

The Shenehon report cited these long-term underlying trends on the supply side of the Twin Cities market.

  • Americans are keep their homes longer. CoreLogic reported recently that the number of years homeowners owned their homes increased by three years between 2007 and 2013 and it has increased an additional year since then.
  • The homeownership in the Twin Cities, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, was 68.6 percent in the second quarter of 2016. That’s the highest rate of any major metro area in the nation. Nationally, the rate is 62.9 percent.

“Since we have a very high ownership rate and homeowners are keeping their homes longer, the result is fewer existing homes being listed and a shortage of homes available for sale,” Tousley said.

Demand Side Trends

According to this month’s Shenehon report, “On the demand side the simple answer is that people want to live here.”

  • The Twin Cities population has been increasing and is expected to increase for at least the next 10 to 15 years. This is mainly due to migration from rural areas and other parts of the country, and immigration.
  • Housing is affordable. According to a recent Bloomberg News report, the Twin Cities area ranks fourth in the top-10 list of most affordable places for people between the ages of 24 and 44 to purchase a home.

“These people are going to need a place to live here,” Tousley said. “Our diverse economy, strong job growth and high median income attracts people to the area.

“Favorable economic conditions coupled with historically low interest rates and an increasing number of potential home buyers will continue to create strong demand for single-family homes.”

How long will the shortage last?

According to the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities region had 1,176,600 owned or rented households in 2015, up almost 59,000 since 2010. During that time, however, only 43,000 housing units were added. The remaining 16,000 new households moved into existing housing, and that in turn reduced the vacancy rate. “This growth pattern is expected to continue for at least the next five years,” Tousley said. “It is unlikely that we will be able to build our way out of this situation in the near term. “Single family home builders have not yet returned to pre-recession production levels. Over the last several years there has been a great deal of multi-family construction but much of this new product has been high-end luxury units, beyond the financial reach of many households. “For the housing market to become more balanced between buyers and sellers we are going to have to add a significant number of affordably priced rental and for-sale housing units. “These units need to be affordable to households who earn the area median income in order to keep up with the expected population growth in the Twin Cities market area. As this happens the market should begin to slowly come back into balance. “However, this is a process that is going to take a number of years and until then we should expect similar market conditions to what we have experienced over the last couple of years. “In the meantime, expect to see solid annual price appreciation for existing homeowners. As you can see from the table below in the past year the supply of homes for sale has become even tighter, especially for homes are priced at less than $400,000

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for July 2016. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

  • The July 2016 index score for traditional sales was 1,192, up .3 percent from June 2016 and up 5.7 percent from July 2015.


  • The July 2016 index score for short sales was 1,031, up 2.1 percent from June 2016 and up 5.9 percent from July 2015.


  • The July 2016 index score for foreclosures was 875, which is unchanged from June 2016 and up 7.1% from July 2015.

For the third consecutive month, the score for traditional sales set new record highs. “Although the increase was small in July, it is the result of a continuing tight supply of homes for sale couple with very low interest rates,” Tousley said in Shenehon Center’s July report.

 More information online

The Shenehon Center’s complete online report for July can be found at:

The report is available free via email from Tousley at