deals – Real Estate Matters
Browsing Tag

deals

Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Aileen Halligan

aileenhalliganAcademic researchers who study social, behavioral, and organizational psychology have spent the previous decade studying how people make judgement about people they meet. Some of these researchers believe that your brain, specifically the emotional centers, work incredibly fast to make snap judgements about people, a trait that was crucial in our species history, when ascertaining friend from foe was often a life threatening decision. The common phrases for these experiences are “gut feeling” and “a hunch”, and contradictory to the general belief that these emotions are irrational, scientists are increasingly discovering that they are actually the product of an incredibly complex system of sensory analysis, memory, and a syntax that follows a precise logical argument. This insight becomes all the more powerful when one begins to realize just how accurate that gut feeling is when the situation is appropriate.

Considering the opening paragraph of this interview, it is without surprise that Ms. Halligan makes a significant first impression, worthy of the pretense. Very confident, driven, intelligent, well spoken, and conscientious  are the gut feeling(s) I experienced when Ms. Halligan began answering my questions. Aileen’s career, education, and goals are all reflective of these traits, and it would appear a solid bet that her future holds plenty of successes.

Continue Reading

Appraisal, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile- Lane Thor

DSC_5428“The (best part of the UST MSRE program is the…) whole package; having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and learning, first hand, their opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb.  These connections will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.”

Real Estate Matters has had the opportunity to sit down with several MSRE students in the graduating class of 2011 and get their impressions of the program, their plans for the future, and their advice to perspective students as their time in the MSRE program draws to a close. The first 2011 graduate, Lane Thor, has been working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office as an Appraiser. Lane was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

What is your background and experience?

I grew up in St. Paul, and have lived in Lino Lakes since 2006. I earned my undergraduate degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, where I majored in Political Science. I was fortunate enough to play football for Hamline while I was a student there, which provided a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about life, responsibility, and leadership.

So who do you route for in the MIAC?

I have to route for Hamline.  But I promise, I alway route for St. Thomas to win.  If they play Hamline I just hope for a tie…

Where have you worked since earning your undergraduate degree?

I am fortunate, in that my first job out of school is one I have really enjoyed. I began working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office in 2006.  My day-to-day duties involve the appraisal of real estate for tax purposes. I specialize in residential property and am currently one of 52 appraisers working for Ramsey County. The thing I like most about the job is the unique nature of each property.  Each property presents new challenges and opportunities for me every day. As an undergrad I was interested in getting into business law, but after a few law classes I changed my mind.  My passion for public sector work, especially the parts of the government that support the real estate industry, has remained which makes my current position a great fit for me. Also, my job affords me the opportunity to keep a healthy work-life balance, which is something that is very important to me.

Why did you decide to get an MSRE, and how did you choose UST?

I wanted to strengthen my skill set and knowledge of real estate issues to compliment my current background, with the goal of having more opportunities  in the field of real estate. Looking back on my time in the program I can definitely say that I have broadened my skill set and given myself many new and exciting options. Furthermore, my sophistication in real estate has increased two fold, (1) I have learned more about the theoretical aspects of the real estate industry than I ever imagined, and (2) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of practical knowledge I gained, with regard to the different aspects of real estate. I am certain that this experience will benefit me in any area of real estate that I get into.

I chose St. Thomas, because the program and the school is regarded in the Twin Cities, as the gold standard in real estate education. UST has an extensive professional network, including the real estate advisory board, which is basically all the heavy hitters in the Twin Cities real estate industry. I looked at a few other programs but ultimately chose UST because I wanted to have classroom experience – that personal level, face-to-face contact with my professors and peers is important for me. Because of this I have built life long friendships.  The small class sizes have allowed me to meet everyone and make valuable connections. The classroom experience and the relationships that stem from this structure is what brought me to UST.

What is the best part of the program?

The whole package – having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and getting first hand opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb and will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.

Do you have some advice for perspective students?

If you have a passion for real estate, this will be a great opportunity.  As with any graduate degree program, the workload gets heavy at times.  But, if you have taken the time to prepare for the program, taken the GMAT, etc. you will find a way to manage the out of classroom work. This program is great for people who love real estate.

What are your career goals?

Right now, I am working on a couple of ideas that I have been formulating for a long time. I wanted to wait until I graduate before I really focused on one plan, as I needed to really see what was involved in each part of the industry, and where my passions really were. I think for the long-term, I would like to go into business for myself. . For the time being, I will continue to pursue high level positions in the public sector dealing with real estate or real estate related issues. After I get settled in, I would like to begin my own business, doing both at the same time, public sector and private. My private business will consist of a full service real estate company focusing solely on  niche markets that  have not been tapped. With good marketing and perseverance there is a lot of upside to  some areas that  remain untouched.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

At Hamline, my football coach told me to be successful you need to surround yourself with the right people. That means making the right connections, having the right network, as well as putting good people near you. At UST you get that, professors who are helping you and working so you succeed. My new network is due in large part to UST.  This alone has made my decision to enter the MSRE program a great one and makes me very excited as I look forward to my future career.

Real Estate Matters would like to thank Lane Thor for taking the time to share his insight and experience in the MSRE program. We would also like to congratulate him on his graduation and look forward to keeping track of his promising career. To find out more information about the UST MSRE program, please visit our website.

Development, Industry News, Real Estate Trends

Looking for a Victory? The Vikings May Want to Try Left Field…

Yes. Although we are academics and we spent more time reading through investment prospectuses and development plans than watching Sports Center, we are well aware there is no left field in football. However, after the lackluster performance of the Purple and Gold last year, Mr. Wilf and Co. may want to look to their peers on the other side of downtown (the ones who do have a left field). Despite the sluggish start for the Twins (there is still time!), one thing is certainly not subpar about Minnesota sports currently, and that is Target Field. By any standards, the eight acres that only five years ago was a parking lot, is now one of those landmark buildings that represents the identity of the entire state.  All good buildings, businesses, ideas, etc. start somewhere, with someone, and even though everyone probably has had thousands of big ideas, few people get to see them realized. That is the hard part about great ideas, plainly put, it’s really hard to turn them into anything. The men who came up with the idea for Target Field, Bruce Lambrecht & Dave Albersman spent years working on moving the Twins to, what is now Target Field. (for that story click here). lucky enough for the Vikings, the same two men are fired up and at it again. Lets just hope the Vikings, and the politicians who are responsible for this decision, decide to pay attention.

Proposed Stadium at the Farmers Market Site, courtesy of Bruce Lambrecht

Proposed Stadium at the Farmers Market Site, courtesy of Bruce Lambrecht

The similarities between the Viking’s current situation and the Twin’s search for a new home are eerily similar. The Vikings have, for several years, voiced concerns about playing in the Metrodome, and were fairly clear that they were not interested in renewing their lease at the Metrodome. The “fairly” was clearly removed on December 12th, of last year when this happened… During the offseason several plans have emerged, and sites proposed for development of a new stadium. Recently, the talk has been narrowed down to three sites, (1) Rebuilding on the current Metrodome property, (2) A stadium in Arden Hills, a suburb 10 miles north of St. Paul, and (3) Developing a site near Target Field, on what is now a series of small buildings, storage facilities, and the Minneapolis farmers market. Mr. Lambrecht and Mr. Albersman are the driving force behind the third option, and have begun the same arduous process that the probably swore they would never start again. Each of the three site has positives and challenges, and will undoubtably require a great deal of planning and foresight if anyone is going to become nearly as successful as Target Field.

The first major battle, and the one that causes the strongest emotions is who, how, and what will pay for this project. Two recent studies looked at the total cost of developing, building, and creating the infrastructure necessary for the project, Finance & Commerce reports,

An analysis from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission says the “hard and soft” construction costs for the Metrodome and Arden Hills sites are about the same – $825 million for the dome site, $859 million for Arden Hills. However, the Arden Hills location would require up to $339.5 million in highway, parking, pedestrian access and utility improvements, which brings the total price tag to $1.2 billion, the analysis said. By contrast, the Metrodome location needs a far more modest $29.9 million in such improvements, for a total cost of $895 million. Also on Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton released the findings of a separate analysis that says it would cost up to $240 million for the transportation improvements needed to accommodate the Arden Hills location. Dayton said any state contribution to the project would be capped at $300 million – including the cost of road improvements.

“I support the project in either location up to that amount,” Dayton said. “If one project is more expensive than the other, the Vikings are going to have to make up that difference unless the local partner does.” To read the entire story click here

Although the Farmers Market site was not included in this study, Mr. Lambrecht has provided estimates that would place the total cost of the site in the same range as the Metrodome. It is also important to note that at this point in the search for a new Twins Ballpark, Mr. Lambrecht’s parking lot was barely even in consideration. The key behind Mr. Lambrecht’s plan is the same as it was for Target Field, in that an accessible urban sports venue is valuable to everyone in the state, even those who could care less about football. Mr. Lambrecht was right the first time, and has since quieted almost everyone of the many critics, who thought a new Twins stadium was too expensive, the site was too small, and any other reason imaginable. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope he is able to repeat history, and make lightning strike twice in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

This is the first in a series of stories about this topic, which is sure to dominate headlines in the sports, real estate, local/metro, and front page of the states newspapers (if anyone still reads them…) Check back for more.


Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate

Executive Insight Series- Dennis Doyle

Dennis-Doyle“My life is lived from the inside out. My principle values, experience and leadership come from the inside, and guide my life on the outside. It’s an inside job. It seems that everyone is wired differently. Some of us want to make a lot of money, while others want to save the world and help people. You CAN do both! Everyone needs to figure it out. Work is a huge part of it. If you find the right work and path, life can be a real joy and blessing.”

Dennis Doyle, Executive Chairman of the Welsh Property Trust, started his career in real estate as an adolescent who spent his summers working construction for his neighbor, George Welsh. During that period, Mr. Doyle’s passion for construction and development grew exponentially, part of the credit, according to Mr. Doyle, belongs to his older brothers who forced him to work harder to keep up. He left real estate briefly to attend college on a football scholarship, with the intention of becoming a coach, however Mr. Doyle soon realized that this was not his true goal, and returned home to continue his career developing and constructing buildings. In 1977, Mr. Doyle and Mr. Welsh (same childhood neighbor) entered into a handshake agreement, that formed the Welsh Companies, and has shaped the last 30 years of Mr. Doyle’s life. Reflecting on this story, and on his subsequent career, Mr. Doyle lamented,  “I love being able to put my personal touch on buildings, and am very fortunate to have found my life’s passions and being able to continue working in this field.”

Continue Reading

Business Valuation, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Industry News, Real Estate Trends

News Brief: CoStar Study Wins Top Academic Honor from American Real Estate Society

$11,000,000,000,000

How does one comprehend the above figure? It is a very large number with many zero’s, in fact, it’s so large even a fancy BAII+ financial calculator has to express the number as a exponent of the 10th power (11 * e^12). The name for this sum can vary depending on which country you are in, and unfortunately since the US and Britain saw fit to simply swap the names around, a trillion is 10^12 in the US, and in old english it is considered a billion (a trillion in the old system is 10^18, or a quintillion in the US). Since the definition of this figure does little to aide in the quantification of this figure, it is necessary to use tangible comparisons. 11 trillion dollar bills stacked on top of each other would be 737,000 miles high, in relation the moon is approximately 240,000 miles. Besides the United States and the European Union, 11 trillion dollars surpasses the GDP of every other nation in the world (according to the CIA fact book).

The attempt at quantifying this figure was done in the hopes of imparting the sheer magnitude of this number as well as the mind-boggling size of it, constructing a model that represents data and economic factors that are able to compute the necessary macro and micro forces affecting this figure is simply amazing. This is precisely what researchers at CoStar did in their comprehensive study of the United States commercial real estate market, with their findings and analysis published in the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management (JREPM). While this is undoubtably a very exciting study, there has never been a comprehensive valuation of the entire countries real estate, the data collected is far from novel. Having the ability to quantify and value one of the largest asset classes in the world (the only one larger that comes to mind is the US stock exchange at 16 trillion) will allow investors, developers, the government, and anyone else involved in commercial real estate a powerful new model for analyzing the macro effects of economic shifts on the entirety of the asset class. In recognition for their outstanding work, the authors received the best paper of 2010 by The American Real Estate Society (ARES).

The press release from CoStar is below, including a link to read the paper as published in the JREPM.

Continue Reading

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate

Executive Insight Series: Boyd Stofer

Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

“No one was doing anything, I mean no one was even talking about starting a new project. Sure I was scared, we paid too much for the building during the worst real estate market in my lifetime. However, we needed to play offense, someone had to make the first move, and it was us. That got a lot of attention, and we were able to get the building 90% leased before we started renovation, that’s just unheard of, and it worked to our benefit.”

The quotation above does a superb job in summing up the career, strategy, and philosophy of Boyd Stofer, president and CEO of the Marquette Real Estate Group. Over the past 32 years, Mr. Stofer has helped United Properties (Now part of the Marquette Group) grow into one of the most successful and profitable real estate development companies in the country. Attending a lecture from Mr. Stofer is somewhat like listening to a Harvard (one of his Ivy degrees) Economics professor give a semesters worth of lectures fast forwarded to a speed that condenses the information into one hour. During his talk it appeared as if he continued to talk as he inhaled, and didn’t miss a beat or misstate a figure as he outlined the micro and macro forces that are effecting the national commercial real estate market. His charisma stems directly from his incredible intelligence and ability to conceptualize and connect the vast set of variables that made up the contents of his talk, ending with the weaving of details to present the Marquette Group’s current standing and plans for the future. It’s no wonder that the Pohlad Family entrusts Mr. Stofer with a significant share of their fortune, as very few individuals can impart their razor sharp intellect and cunning in such a succinct and complete manor. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the room (full of real estate professionals, academics, and students) walked out questioning Mr. Stofer’s understanding of the real estate market, actually, it highly unlikely that anyone who meets him ever has doubtful thoughts.

Biography |

Mr. Stofer’s educational credentials mimics his career as nothing short of top tier. In 1971 he graduated from the Cornell School of Engineering, and followed it up with an MBA with Honors from Harvard. Immediately following his MBA program, Mr. Stofer was hired by Hines Interests, a national real estate development group based in Houston. After three years in Houston Mr. Stofer left and came to Minneapolis to join United Properties, then owned by the Hamm family. Since his hire, Mr. Stofer has led the companies development initiatives, and has amassed an amazing portfolio of work. In 1996 he was named president and CEO, since that time Mr. Stofer has grown and merged United Properties into what is now the Marquette Group. Today, the combined entities of the Marquette group employ over 1,000 people, has assets around $750M and services more than $40B worth of real estate loans. The current operational structure of the Marquette Group is the culmination of Mr. Stofer’s vision for a vertically integrated property firm that is unique in the services that it can provide. The vast array of real estate products that Marquette Group is far from novel, in fact it is probably the firms best financial hedge, in that the organization is prepared and capable of earning revenues in any market and any economic climate.

Continue Reading

Commercial Real Estate, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Uncategorized

From Finance & Commerce: Minnesota Senate passes a cut in business property tax bills

The current political theater in the United State regarding the federal deficit, taxes, the budget (etc.) is one of the most important debates taking place right now and the outcomes from forthcoming legislation will have far reaching implications for the country playing a major role in defining who we are as a nation. Unfortunately, the only thing that lawmakers can agree on is that their is a tremendous problem, and a lack of action will have devastating effects on the US economy. Furthermore, many of the proposals and news stories that emerge from the medias coverage of this topic is little more than political gamesmanship, and insults the intelligence of the electorate by turning a complex subject into a handful of talking points, which use misleading statistics, irrelevant information,  and worst of all, fear mongering to appease the most extreme groups on both sides. By moving further away from the middle, which statistically and practically represents the average attitudes of Americans, politicians are jeopardizing the economic future of the US.

taxratings.stateThat said, when a news story is reported on the subject regarding a well reasoned and genuinely honest effort to ease some of the financial burden our government is facing, any educated and reasonable American must put their personal politics aside and objectively assess the merits of the proposed plan. In the April 5th edition of Finance & Commerce, Mark Anderson reports on a recent Minnesota State Senate bill that would phase out the state tax on commercial property. Currently, Minnesota is ranked 43rd by the Tax Foundation, a public policy think tank, on it’s overall business tax climate. This is a critical problem for the states economy, since 31.38% ($7.48B) of the states tax revenue comes from business taxes. Furthermore, Minnesota businesses are hiring new employees at a slower rate (.6%) than the national average. Attracting businesses to the state, who will hire Minnesotans and increase the states tax revenue is a priority that fortunately rises above politics and is one of the major goals of the current legislative session. The bill passed  37-26, representing a straight party line vote with Republicans voting for and Democrats against. The plan would reduce the statewide commercial property tax burden by $115M for 2012 and over the course of the next 10 year completely phase out the tax that will bring in an estimated $775M for the state this year (a conservative forward estimate, with 2.5% inflation and 2% economic growth for the state, would put the 2022 tax revenue loss at $1.204B).

Republicans argue that the tax savings will go directly into the hands of small business owners, providing the necessary free cash flow to hire additional workers, and reinvest in their business. Furthermore, Republicans are arguing that a reduction in the tax burden for businesses will help attract more businesses to the state. Democrats agree that it is necessary to promote Minnesota as a business friendly state, however they are suspect of the motives behind this legislation, as well as its implications for the state  budget and the programs that will be cut to offset the tax cut. According to John Marty, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Tax committee,

“Tax cuts do help job creation, but the revenue we’re losing would lead to job losses, too. It means layoffs of state and local government workers, and it hurts a number of things that support jobs. Revenue lost in the first two years of the phase-out, for instance, is nearly equivalent to cutbacks proposed in subsidies for sliding-fee child-care programs. That probably means child care businesses will close, but it also means that many workers won’t find affordable child care.”

Despite the bill clearing the Senate, the prevailing viewpoint at the capitol is that Governor Dayton will veto the legislation, and demand more concessions from the Republicans. However, Governor Dayton has surprised many conservatives and the business community by taking a pro-business stance on several major issues early in his term. At this point it is unknown how Mr. Dayton will respond to the legislation, but he is certainly interested in finding ways to improve the states economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit. By focusing on these issues, and working with the legislators in office, Governor Dayton will doing his constituency a great favor.

To read the entire article click on this link

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized

Executive Insight Series: Bob Lux and the 14 Million Dollar Question About Block E

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

“So, what is the plan for Block E?”

A simple question that was definitely on every attendee’s mind at the most recent Real Estate Executive Insight Series. However, the answer isn’t so simple, and if it were not for Bob Lux’s (principal at Alatus LLC) charisma, intelligence, and experience in leading major, press-worthy development projects the answer might not have been as well received. As any gifted public figure would, Mr. Lux skirted the question, but in his sidestep, alluded to several important things concerning the future of Block E, as well as the kind of person Mr. Lux is. Before his answer can be assessed properly, it is important to understand Mr. Lux’s history, professional accomplishments, and his philosophy on development (and life).

Mr. Lux grew up in a Long Prairie, a small community in central Minnesota, a town that most likely does not have a building higher than the many crop silos that dot the agrarian landscape. Like many young men from small towns, Mr. Lux left home in search of success and the experience that can only be found in the “big city”. After earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Lux returned to Long Prairie with the intention of starting a home building business in the area. He purchased a lumber yard with his father and began building farmers homesteads in the immediate area. Although this was quite different than the projects he would eventually oversee, Mr. Lux quickly learned the importance of adding value to differentiate his product, otherwise it would simply be a commodity.

After a short time at home the urge to return to city life became to great to resist, and once again, Mr. Lux left Long Prairie for the Twin Cities. His first employer, The Dominium Group, was developing high-density suburban real estate, which faced major issues surrounding obtaining approval from the community and local government for the rezoning of  land for this use. Suburban homeowners are very protective of their communities, and the amount of space that each homesite has was a reflection of the owners desire for privacy and quiet living. Mr. Lux’s first assignment was in Eagan, MN, where he faced opposition form the mayor as well as landowners surrounding the proposed site. To change the attitudes of the landowners surrounding the site, who were a critical stakeholder in the success of the project, Mr. Lux used a mixture of logic, emotional appeal, and financial acumen to reach out to each of the parties and work with them to develop a compromised plan that met the needs of everyone. In the end this project was approved, and through it, Mr. Lux learned one of the key lessons that has helped him throughout his career. During the lecture, he repeatedly cited the ability to listen to, and connect with people as the most important skill he has, and the main reason why projects fail or succeed.

Continue Reading

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized, Upcoming Industry Events, Upcoming UST Events

Block E: A Deal Alatus Could Not Refuse

blocke7The short history of the building currently occupying the 600 block of Hennepin, know commonly as Block E,  in downtown Minneapolis is a staggeringly accurate metaphor paralleling the last decade of the greater real estate market. According to Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, the original cost of developing the site in 2001 (less the $36.25 million spent on the Graves Hotel which did not change ownership) was $105.75 million. When Alatus Development purchased the development in July, 2010 they paid a paltry $14 million, or roughly 13.23% of the original price. At the risk free rate of return (based on the 10 year T-bill which average 4.42% over the period) the investment in Block E would be worth $162.973 million, resulting in a savings of $148.973 million for Alatus in todays value. This investment appears to be a no brainer, but it is not without risk. Since opening, Block E has lost most of the anchor businesses that originally signed leases in the space including: Borders Books, Game Works, The Hard Rock Cafe, Applebees, and Hooters. The space which Game Works and Borders occupied is still vacant, presenting Alatus and Bob Lux, the lead developer on the project, with significant challenges in their attempt to turn the site into a successful retail operation. That said, the final price tag for the site was too attractive to pass on.

One significant factor that helped persuade Mr. Lux to move forward with the deal is the 550 heated underground parking spaces beneath Block E, at $25,455 per spot is inline with other parking structures around the city. Looking at the deal from this perspective, Alatus paid market rate for the parking, and got a deal sweetener that is quite impressive, approximately 213,000 sq/ft of retail space. Pricing it the other way, at $66 sq/ft, the retail space was purchased at a price that is almost inconceivable given Block E’s location at the heart of the downtown district and within walking distance of Target Field, The Target Center, and many of Minneapolis’s theaters and restaurants. Despite the obvious advantages in location, the previous owners at Block E have had serious difficulty maintaining profitable levels of business. Trying to figure out what to do with this space will certainly keep Mr. Lux up at night, until a solution that provides long term tenants can be derived. Continue Reading

Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Uncategorized

Weekly Update

Enjoy this list of articles and resources to ensure that you are up to date on the stories that are making headlines in the real estate industry

From Calculated Risk | Census 2010 Housing and Occupancy Data- The Census Bureau has released occupancy data from the 2010 census for 42 of the 50 states. This information is useful to gauge the extent of vacancies on a national and state level, and provide a trove of information for time series analysis. The article has an xls file of the data, as well as links to the Census website for more research. Finance and Commerce has a follow up to this story, in which they report exclusively on the vacancy and occupancy rates in the Minnesota market.

From Project Syndicate | Bubble Spotting- An interesting article by Robert Schiller  (cofounder of the Case-Schiller index) who shares his predictions of the next equity bubble, even though he points out several times in the article that predicting such events are nearly impossible. Despite this, he outlines several well reasoned arguments and points out some interesting correlations in market behavior.

From WSJ and NAR

From WSJ and NAR

From The Wall Street Journal | Discounts Expected in Spring Market A nationwide drop in housing sales and median home prices is not great news for the real estate market. However, looking at a more positive repercussion of this trend is enticing potential buyers off the fence with low borrowing rates, and prices that match the market realistic valuation of the property.

From Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors | Weekly Market Activity Report- Get the latest numbers on the twin cities housing market, as well as trends and analysis from MAAR.

From Finance and Commerce | Troubled Assets ‘Still Quite Plentiful’ in CRE Market- Finance and Commerce reports on the high volume of CRE inventory classified as distressed debt. Although there are many challenges for buyers and sellers in this market, there is also tremendous upside, due to the deep discounts available. With the right strategy, and enough equity to qualify for bank financing, investors have a huge opportunity to earn strong returns in the market.

From the NYT and HSH Associates

From the NYT and HSH Associates

From The New York Times | More Borrowers Are Opting for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages- Pinpointed as one of the major causes of the record breaking number of foreclosures over the past three years, ARM’s have been shunned and avoided by recent home buyers. However, this trend is reversing, as banks are beginning to offer more conservative ARM’s that do not include any of the gimmicks that enticed unqualified buyers to borrow too much money. The shift towards marketing ARM’s as a prime investment option for high credit borrowers is a positive sign that lenders and buyers appear to have learned some lessons from the last crisis.