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4 Helpful Tips for Finding the Right Neighborhood

When looking for a home, finding the right house is only part of the real estate journey. What’s the main criteria?  Picking the right neighborhood. It all comes down to location, location, location.

The type of home, number of bedrooms and baths, and square footage are very important when buying a home, but the community within the area you are searching can make all the difference when purchasing a home.

Keep this in mind, this is where you’ll most likely entertain, shop, dine, exercise, and possibly where your kids will grow up and go to school. This may just be where you’ll put down roots and build your life (it all depends on the purpose of your home – whether it’s a 5 year plan, 10 year plan, or your forever home).

Ready to start your search? Here are 4 tips to help guide you to find the right neighborhood:

  • Start Researching Your Areas of Interest: Check into each community that you have interest in potentially living.  Look into school district ratings and look at homes nearby for their current value. See what else the community offers, by looking into any community activities, events, or even community centers.
  • Your Needs: Are you commuting to work? How long will your commute be? Do you prefer walking trails with many neighborhood paths to explore? Have you thought about homeowners’ associations?
  • Online Groups Provide More Community Information:  Look up neighborhood groups on social media (Nextdoor, Facebook, and other online communities). Do you get a sense that the online community seems welcoming and helpful? Another good source would be to check neighborhood newsletters or local newspapers (online or print).
  • Familiarize Yourself With the Area: Go on a self-guided tour. Check out the neighborhood at different times of day  so that you can get a feel for its character. Can you see visualize yourself living there? Is this somewhere you want to come home to each night, content that this place is your home? If you’re out of state and are planning to buy, Google Maps is a good source to take a virtual walk.

Once you’ve narrowed down the neighborhoods you can envision yourself living, get in touch with us to take an online tour or go see homes in-person. We’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you, to suit your budget and your needs.

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Review of the 2020 Real Estate Market

Despite the headwinds, 2020 was a record-breaking year for housing

 Tags: Market DataPress Releases

(January 26, 2021) – According to the 2020 annual report from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®, both buyer and seller activity in the 16-county Twin Cities metro last year outpaced 2019 levels. After a brief pullback following the onset of the pandemic—and aided by remote work, distance learning, historically low rates and a desire for more space—market activity recovered quickly and ended the year posting several new records across various metrics.

Seller activity rose a modest 0.1 percent from 2019 while closed sales were up 7.7 percent. That marks the highest sales figure since at least 2003 and the highest new listings count since 2016. Listing activity was constrained due to health concerns, remodeling activity, a lack of options and homeowners staying in their homes longer.

“Predictably, the result of record sales combined with ultra-low inventory meant rising prices and sellers accepting stronger offers in less time,” according to Tracy Baglio, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®.

Governor Walz’s shelter-in-place order paused market activity in April and May, which created pent-up demand that pushed the spring market into summer and the summer market into fall. Buyers were still more eager to purchase than sellers were to list, meaning multiple offers remained commonplace—particularly at the more affordable price points where the inventory shortage is even more pronounced.

“Despite several challenges, the Twin Cities housing market exceeded all expectations,” said Todd Walker, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “Inventory remained a hurdle, but homeowners have never had so much equity in their homes and buyers haven’t seen rates this low in 50 years, offsetting rising prices.”

The median sales price rose 8.9 percent to $305,000, a record high. On average, sellers obtained 99.8 percent of their list price—the highest since at least 2003. Homes sold quickly. Half the sales had accepted offers in under 18 days. Importantly, all areas, price points and property types are unique.

Signed contracts rose 10.0 percent in Minneapolis and 16.4 percent in St. Paul, suggesting core cities remain attractive. With prices slightly lower, market times higher and offers weaker, the condo market continues to lag other segments. Aided by favorable jumbo rates and a recovered stock market, sales of luxury properties ($1M+) have been soaring higher—up 25.4 percent from 2019.

One thing is clear: the housing market continues to outperform, despite several headwinds.


  • Sellers listed 76,348 properties on the market, a 0.1 percent increase from 2019
  • Buyers closed on 64,479 properties, up 7.7 percent (65,770 pending sales, up 9.7 percent)
  • The Median Sales Price rose 8.9 percent to $305,000
  • Inventory levels fell 39.3 percent to 5,080 units
  • Months Supply of Inventory was down 47.1 percent to 0.9 months (5-6 months is balanced)
  • Days on Market decreased 12.2 percent to 43 days, on average (median of 18, down 21.7 percent)
  • Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
    • Single family sales were up 10.8 percent; condo sales fell 10.6 percent; townhome sales increased 3.4 percent
    • Traditional sales rose 8.4 percent; foreclosure sales were down 20.9 percent; short sales fell 25.9 percent
    • Previously owned sales were up 7.3 percent; new construction sales climbed 14.1 percent
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December 2020 Home Prices

Seven straight months of double-digit increases in pending sales

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 12, 2020) – Home sales in Minnesota continued to outpace normal trends through the end of 2020. Closed sales in December rose +21.9% versus December 2019 with a total of 7,300 transactions across the state. Pending sales were also riding high with 5,118 in the pipeline, up +19.2% over a year ago.

Although new listings increased in December 2020 by +14.9%, the number of homes for sale dropped -46.1% compared to December 2019. As buyers competed for scarce inventory, the median sales price increased +10.4%, and properties averaged 43 days on the market, down -21.8% or 12 days less than December 2019. The shortage of properties pushed the average sales price up +9.9% statewide to more than $320,000, with sellers receiving 98.5% of the original price, a +2.4% increase over last year.

“The strong finish to the year stands in stark contrast to the turbulent first quarter when the spread of COVID-19 disrupted the economy and greatly slowed the housing market. As the recovery got underway in May, many buyers were highly motivated to find more spacious homes after months of lockdown imposed by the pandemic,” said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. “Historically low interest rates fueled frenzied competition for diminishing inventory, making multiple offers the new norm. This level of activity has not been seen in Minnesota for 15 years.”

Overall, total pending sales for the full year 2020 totaled 94,474, up +10.6% over 2019. Closed sales reached 92,576 for the year, marking a +8.4% rise. The number of homes available for sale, however, declined -46.1% from the year before. And while new listings expanded to 106,873 properties—a +2.7% increase—they could not match demand. By the end of 2020, there were 8,403 homes for sale, which was -46.1% or 8,403 fewer homes for sale than 2019.

As market activity increased, so did the price range of homes. More than 9,700 properties sold for $500,000 and above, a +33.4 increase above 2019. By contrast, the percentage of homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range dropped by 14.1%, with only 6,810 homes sold.

“All the indicators strongly suggest that buyer demand will remain high well into the 2021 selling season. We anticipate that mortgage rates will remain low, and buyers highly motivated to find affordable homes,” said Galler. “The only thing holding the market back is consistently sluggish inventory. That is unlikely to change until we innovate an intelligent, market-driven response that meets consumer demand. It will be a win for everyone that drives our industry forward.”

December year-over-year summary:

  • Closed sales: +21.9% to 7,300
  • Median sales price: +10.4% to $277,00
  • Average sales price: +9.9% to $320,551
  • New listings: +14.9% to 4,086
  • Pending sales: +19.2% to 5,118
  • Days on the market: -21.8% to 43 days
  • Homes for sale: -46.1% to 8,403
  • Months supply of inventory: -50.0% to 1.1

2020 year-over-year summary:

  • Closed sales +8.4% to 92,576
  • Median sales price: +8.3% to $275,000
  • Average sales price: +8.3% to $315,348
  • New listings -2.5% to 106,873
  • Pending sales +10.6% to 94,474
  • Days on market -8.2% to 45 days

Closed Home Sales Across Minnesota by Region

With one exception, every region saw double-digit increases in year-over-year closed sales. Even the Upper Minnesota River Valley — where sales were down -11.8% in November —overcame the deficit and ended 2020 with a +2.7% increase. See chart below for more details comparing December 2020 to December 2019.

housing report graph

The seven-county Twin Cities region comprises Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The official Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan statistical area recognized by the Census Bureau consists of 16 counties, which is what MAR & SPAAR local associations report on.

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Budgeting For Home Remodeling In 2021

From budget and finance to dealing with any unforeseen issues, here are some of the key things to know about home renovations and maintenance as noted in Inman news 12/31/2020.

2020 was the year of renovations for many homeowners. There were many transformations including kitchen updates, converting a bedroom to an office, and updating indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces.

When creating a budget, base it off of a worst case scenario (where you may need extra materials, your choice of materials may be out of stock or delayed, or an additional contractor may be required to repair any unforeseen issues that came up during the renovation).

Create an initial budget, but be prepared to potentially set aside 3 times that amount just in case for those unexpected issues that may arise.

Kitchens are the most popular renovation project with the average cost right around $25,424. The price can vary depending on the size of the project, but can range from $4,000 – $60,000. A quarter of the budget would cover labor, with cabinetry & fixtures ranging about $6,000 or more,  appliances $3,200 or more, and countertops $2,300 or more.

Bathrooms are the 2nd most popular remodel with a price tag averaging around $10,718. For a smaller bathroom the price could be as low as $3,500, but a larger grand master suite bath could be as high as $25,000 or more. Half of the budget would go to labor, $300 – $3,800 for a vanity, $300 – $3,000 for a shower/bath, $200 – $1,800 for fixtures, $200 – $1,350 for flooring.

Home offices were another popular remodel during 2020, while offering a possible tax benefit (see your personal accountant on how to calculate any tax benefit there may be for you). The cost range for this was $5,000 – $22,000, and was based on whether there was need to build an addition, or renovate an existing room. Desks, cabinets, and built-ins ran $1,200 – $3,900, connectivity & hardware $100 -$3,000, and soundproofing $1,000 – $2,4000.

Backyard entertaining also saw an uptick. This included: pools, pool houses, decks, porches, sunrooms, and outdoor kitchens. For a full backyard entertainment oasis having a majority of those features, home owners were looking at a price tag starting in the 6 figures.

When homeowners properly budget for a renovation, consider the cost of materials and labor, while also adding on for any unforeseen maintenances issue that may come up during any home renovation project.


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November 2020 Home Sale Report

Despite pandemic, this year is on-track for record-breaking sales

 Tags: Market DataPress Releases

New Listings Flat, Sales Up, Price Growth Strong, Market Times Fast, But Supply Levels Extremely Low

(December 17, 2020) – According to new data from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®, the growth in buyer and seller activity in the 16-county Twin Cities metro continues to climb above 2019 levels. Seller activity rose 1.3 percent from last November while new purchase agreements were up 13.4 percent over last year. That marks the strongest November pending sales figure since 2004 and the highest closed sales since at least 2003.

This year, the fall and winter markets are behaving more like a spring market since activity was delayed from the spring and summer months. While sellers only listed slightly more units than last November, pending and closed sales were up significantly. Pending sales often act as a leading indicator of future demand while closings lag.

“The Twin Cities housing market continues to exceed expectations,” according to Patrick Ruble, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. “Despite record sales figures, the lack of adequate supply—particularly affordable units—continues to frustrate buyers.”

Historically low mortgage rates, shifting work and learning patterns, health concerns and other factors are driving this sellers’ market. While all areas and price points are unique, sellers are getting strong offers early on. On average, sellers obtained 100.2 percent of their original list price—the highest November figure since at least 2003. At a median of 15 days, homes went under contract in record time, and 48.3 percent faster than last November.

“It’s truly impressive that sales would reach new highs during a pandemic and an otherwise challenging year,” said Linda Rogers, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “That’s of course meant rising home prices, but luckily, ultra-low interest rates have been able to partly offset that.”

Sales were up 21.5 percent in Minneapolis and 30.8 percent in St. Paul, suggesting buyers are eager to quickly snap up any new listings. And the competitive landscape means those buyers are often going above list price. With prices slightly lower, market times higher and offers weaker, the condo market continues to lag other segments. However, sales of luxury properties ($1M+) have been soaring higher—up nearly 20.0 percent YTD. One thing is clear: the housing market continues to outperform, despite the many economic headwinds.



November 2020 by the numbers compared to a year ago

  • Sellers listed 4,035 properties on the market, a 1.3 percent increase from last November
  • Buyers signed 4,640 purchase agreements, up 13.4 percent (5,624 closed sales, up 18.6 percent)
  • Inventory levels fell 37.9 percent to 6,642 units
  • Months Supply of Inventory was down 42.9 percent to2 months (5-6 months is balanced)
  • The Median Sales Price rose 10.7 percent to $310,000
  • Days on Market decreased 33.3 percent to 34 days, on average (median of 15, down 48.3 percent)
  • Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
    • Single family sales were up 21.3 percent; condo sales fell 2.6 percent; townhome sales increased 20.6 percent
    • Traditional sales rose 19.7 percent; foreclosure sales were down 22.9 percent; short sales fell 18.8 percent
    • Previously owned sales were up 21.7 percent; new construction sales climbed 4.8 percent
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Happy Holidays!!

On behalf of all of us at Cushman Realty, we wish you a joyful holiday season!!

May your celebrations be filled with peace, love, and joy!!

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Fall Market 2020 Heading Into Winter 2020

Sales outpacing supply, prices accelerate, core cities remain strong

New Listings And Sales Up, Price Growth Accelerating, But Supply Levels Extremely Low

(November 19, 2020) – According to new data from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®, buyer and seller activity in the 16-county Twin Cities metro continue to outpace 2019. Seller activity rose 8.4 percent compared to last October while buyer activity was up 21.8 percent, marking the strongest October sales figure since at least 2003.

Buyers are motivated by expectations of working and spending more time at home and are also buoyed by historically low interest rates. That has resulted in a highly competitive marketplace where sellers get strong offers—sometimes above asking price—in record time and often with multiple offers. It has also caused inventory levels to plummet, frustrating many buyers.

“Buyers are still out in force, which is fairly unusual for this time of year when things typically quiet down,” according to Patrick Ruble, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. “But the shortage of inventory and fast pace of the market are still keeping some waiting in the wings.”

Record-low mortgage rates, a desire for more space, a shortage of listings and Millennials aging into homeownership have all led to record-setting demand and rising prices among other changes. This is unusual during a recession, which impacts people differently. The mid-market move-up ranges and luxury segments have been performing better as salaried professionals have been spared much of the hardship. Conversely, many would-be buyers in the most affordable price points have been sidelined as they’re more likely to be impacted by job or income loss.

Still firmly in the driver’s seat, sellers, on average, accepted offers at 100.5 percent of their original list price—matching a high for any month going back to at least 2003. At 35 days on average, homes across the metro sold 23.9 percent quicker than last October.

“Despite some earlier challenges, Minneapolis and St. Paul are still seeing strong sales growth,” said Linda Rogers, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “They’re still quite competitive.”

For example, new listings rose 35.5 percent in Minneapolis and 22.8 percent in St. Paul while sales were up 47.4 and 28.9 percent, respectively. Demand in the core cities is once again outpacing supply. Downtown condos are still an area of weakness, but metro-wide sales of homes priced over $1M are up over 98.0 percent from last October.

October 2020 by the numbers compared to a year ago

  • Sellers listed 6,816 properties on the market, an 8.4 percent increase from last October
  • Buyers signed 6,249 purchase agreements, up 21.8 percent (6,674 closed sales, up 22.3 percent)
  • Inventory levels fell 34.5 percent to 8,080 units
  • Months Supply of Inventory was down 40.0 percent to5 months (5-6 months is balanced)
  • The Median Sales Price rose 12.5 percent to $315,000
  • Days on Market decreased 23.9 percent to 35 days, on average (median of 14, down 44.0 percent)
  • Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
    • Single family sales were up 24.07percent; condo sales rose 8.6 percent; townhome sales increased 17.6 percent
    • Traditional sales rose 22.3 percent; foreclosure sales were down 20.4 percent; short sales fell 6.7 percent
    • Previously owned sales were up 20.1 percent; new construction sales climbed 43.4 percent

All information is according to the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS based on data from NorthstarMLS. We serve the Twin Cities 16-county metro area and western Wisconsin.

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Real Estate has been considered an Essential Business, by the Governor of Minnesota, during the COVID-19 crisis. Cushman Realty continues with day to day operations, with some modifications out of concern for our clients and the community in general.

Here are some of the modifications you can expect:

  • Open houses will be allowed based on the decision of our clients and their Realtors. There will be specific guidelines in place for the health and safety of our clients, our Realtors, and the general public viewing the open house. This will be placed outside on the door of any open house Cushman Realty holds.
  • Only the specific clients on contracts are allowed in properties for showings (along with their respective agents).
  • Masks should be worn.
  • Hand sanitizing is a must.

As we learn to navigate the real estate market during COVID-19 and beyond, please know that Cushman Realty is following the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, State and Federal government recommendations, as well as adhering to our real estate governing bodies which oversee the industry (local, state, and national). Rest assured that no matter the real estate market conditions, we will weather this storm while providing you the best customer service that you’d expect from your Realtor.