Barker And Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ February 2011

With all eyes looking towards spring, there have been some environmental developments happening around the Twin Cities and Minnesota, particularly in regards to parks and natural areas. Here are some of the community-related green news and stories that broke in February.

All over the Twin Cities metro, registration for local community garden plots has begun or starts quite soon. Community gardens are popular right now, due to tough economic times and a desire for chemical-free, home-grown produce. People applying for community plots include homeowners, apartment dwellers, senior citizens, immigrants, people who are trying to save money on food and gardeners looking for green-thumb fun. The size and cost of renting a plot varies from city to city. In most locations, plots range from 10 by 15 feet to 20 by 20 feet and cost between $15 and $35 for the summer.

Workers have finished installing new pollution control equipment on the 58 older buses in Robbinsdale district's 114-bus fleet. The $87,000 project didn't even cost the school a single dime. The equipment and installation were funded through Project Green Fleet via the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Environmental Initiative. Green Fleet funnels grant money from such sources as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to retrofit the state's school buses and other diesel fuel-burning vehicles. The vehicles get new mufflers designed to cut down emissions coming out of the exhausts. The new mufflers can reduce diesel particulate matter emissions by 15% to 30%. They can also reduce emissions of hydrocarbons. The idea is not only to contribute to cleaner air in general, but to more specifically improve the health of student passengers.

Butch and Ruth Rechtzigel of Inver Grove Heights are protecting the habitat they love by selling 66 acres of land to a state nature preserve. The sale has been about a decade in the making and connects two other protected parcels within...

U.S. Homeownership Declining

The homeownership rate within the United States declined to the lowest rate in 13 years during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. At 66.5%, the home ownership rate was 0.4% below the third quarter and down 0.7% compared to the previous year.

Across all measurements, statistics for homeownership rates are down. The largest decline happened in the West, where the number of owners fell 1.3% from the previous year. The homeowner housing vacancy rate rose to 2.7% as foreclosures continue to afflict real estate markets, up from 2.5% the third quarter. The South and Midwest tied with 2.8% of homeowner housing stock left vacant. Statistics for the South represented a 1.0% decline from the year before, while the Midwest’s number was unchanged. The West and Northeast showed vacancy rates of 2.7% and 2.0% respectively.

As homeownership rates sank, rental activity has gone up. Rental vacancies reached the lowest reading since the beginning of 2003, at 9.4% in the fourth quarter, down 1.3% on from a year ago. The South has the largest percentage of rental vacancies at 11.5%, but also saw the biggest year-over-year drop with 2.2%. The West and Midwest also saw modest declines in rental vacancies, while the Northeast saw a small increase of 0.3% from the year before.

The mistakes made by financial institutions, the high unemployment rate and a glut of foreclosures are the three main culprits behind home ownership rate reductions and increases in rental activity.

Source: Homeownership Reaches 13-year Low as Vacancies Rise

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What $239,900 Buys in Minneapolis MN

Here is MLS # 4011520

house_500

This charming single-family house is located at 4137 Harriet Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This two-story home was constructed in 1913 in the Kingfield neighborhood of the city. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and 1,100-square-feet of space.

kitchen_500

This home features a bright, open floor plan with coved ceilings, newly finished hardwood floors, and new furnace & central A/C! It also has a detached 2 car garage.

living_room_500

Just a short walk from Lake Harriet, this house could be yours for $239,900!

Browse more Kingfield Minneapolis MN Real Estate
Browse more Homes for Sale in Minneapolis MN Communities

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Minnesota Foreclosures Continue to Drag on the Real Estate Market

The foreclosure crisis is far from over. Last year there were 25,673 foreclosure sales in Minnesota, an 11% increase over 2009 and the second-worst year on record.

According to a new report from the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, more than half of all of the foreclosure sales in the state last year happened in the Twin Cities metro area, where sheriff’s sales rose 9%. In greater Minnesota the number of sales was up 16%.

Foreclosures have been a drag down the housing market, pushing prices down and leaving an excess in available housing inventory. The situation was particularly bad in some of the communities north and northwest of the Twin Cities. Anoka and Hennepin Counties had the highest foreclosure rate statewide last year.

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7th Annual Lake Home & Cabin Show in Minneapolis

Though summer is still a ways off, people who are yearning for a weekend on a (thawed) lake can get a taste of the sunny season at the Lake Home & Cabin Show in Minneapolis, February 11 through 13.

At the secenth annual event, more than 250 exhibitors from across the country will be showcasing everything related to the lake home and cabin lifestyle, including the latest trends in decor, design, remodeling and landscaping. This year's special events include a live bat display by bat expert Rob Mies, an exhibit on loons, an exhibit on loons, and a Saturday appearance by actor/environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. Of course, there will also be the latest and greatest lake toys and recreational products.

The Lake Home & Cabin show will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Avenue South in Minneapolis. The hours it will be open are 2-8 p.m. February 11, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. February 12, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. February 13. Admission is $10 for adults, $4 for ages 5-15, and free for ages 4 and under. Discounted adult admission coupons are available online. For more information, check out www.lakehomeandcabinshow.com....

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