Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ July 2010

Summer is in full swing in Minnesota. That means the news is filled with stories about our lakes, our parks, and our farmers markets. of course, all of those are topics we love to cover in Greening Minnesota.

Earlier this month, Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famous late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, visited Powderhorn Park on July 4 to promote an effort called Expedition: Blue Planet and to film a segment for it. Minneapolis was the first stop for the project’s film crew and biodiesel bus on its 14,500-mile tour across North America to investigate water issues and educate the public about water conservation. Some local organizations were there to help, too, like Blue Thumb, a clean-water program started by Rice Creek Watershed District that now has many chapters in Minnesota, and Metro Blooms, whose mission is to promote eco-friendly gardening that beautifies neighborhoods and protects the environment.

To help people recycle more when they're not at home, Ramsey County officials are setting aside $1.3 million to buy nearly 2,000 recycling bins to give to cities for use in public areas. It will be a three-phase program over three years. First, cities would put the bins in parks, along trails and in other recreational places. Second, cities would put the bins along streets. Third, the county would offer the containers to school athletic facilities. The goal is to have the same kind of container in every public park in the county. Ramsey County has already put about 400 containers in its parks and ice arenas.

A patch of grass along Nicollet Avenue past Burnsville's Civic Center campus is brown and dead for good reason: The City is turning the one-acre site into a field of native prairie grasses and wildflowers. It is the first step in the city's plan to cut maintenance costs and reduce negative impacts on the environment. Between $8,000 and $10,000 will be devoted to the project, Jacobson said, adding that it will pay for itself...

Money Magazine: Eden Prairie is #1 Place to Live

Money magazine recently announced its annual list of the 100 Best Places to Live. Topping this year's list, as in years previous, is yet another Minnesota city. This time, it is Eden Prairie, Minn., the family-friendly town with a population of 64,000 located southwest of the Twin Cities.

Eden Prairie is ranked at the top not only because it is a great place for families, it has a resilient economy. At 5.1%, its unemployment rate is nearly 1 percentage point below the rate for Hennepin County and more than 4 points below the national average. It's not hard to understand why that is, with 50,000 jobs located right in town. Major companies in Eden Prairie include the headquarters of Supervalu, ADC Telecommunications, MTS Systems Corporation, and the Minnesota Vikings, whose practice facility and front office are here.

Eden Prairie MN isn't all work with no play, though. Eden Prairie residents enjoy swimming in the summer and skating in the winter at 17 lakes. The City has more than 1,000 acres of active use parkland. Bikers, hikers and walkers enjoy Eden Prairie's nearly 200 miles of sidewalks and trails.

Four other Minnesota cities also cracked the top 20 list of America's best small cities.  Plymouth ranked #11th, Woodbury ranked 13th, Eagan came in at #15, and Apple Valley rounds off the list at #20. Eden Prairie has been ranked somewhere in the top 100 “Best Places to Live” in America since 2006.

Minnesota cities consistently rank high in these lists. Last year, Money Magazine listed Chanhassen as the #2 Best Place to Live. In 2008, Plymouth was listed as the #1 Best Place to Live.

View the rest of the Top 100 Places to Lives.

Related...

Two Minnesota Ultra-High-End Homes Discussed by Forbes

Some spectacular Minnesota homes were recently mentioned by Forbes. The topic of discussion? Ultra-high-end homes on the market for tens of millions of dollars in unexpected locations. What are they doing there?

The first Minnesota home mentioned is a $10 million gated compound called the Brentwood that has all the amenities a high-caliber home should: a three-tiered screening room, a billiards hall with a wet bar, master bathroom with a fireside Jacuzzi and 10-spigot shower, guest homes, a lushly wooded lot, tennis court, and, like all the best Minnesota homes, a boat dock. Sounds like a Lake Minnetonka home, right? Wrong. It is located about 2 hours away from the Twin Cities in Big Chippewa Lake, Minnesota.

In many parts of the U.S., even the most expensive homes cost less than $10 million. Our listings are full of multi-million dollar homes that don't add up to that price-tag. Most of them are located in the Twin Cities. However, some extremely rich families choose to settle in places that have sentimental value to them instead of living in the most obvious luxury neighborhoods. This results in extravagant homes that stand out not only from the landscape, but from other homes on their real estate markets.

It doesn't have to be a high-end mansion in the middle of Minnesota's sticks, there is at least one outsized home up for sale right here in the Twin cities. As stated before, there are many multi-million dollar homes listed on our site. But you will not find a listing for the $53 million, 13-acre Southwest estate on Lake Minnetonka in Orono, Minnesota. It was designed in 1916-1918 by Harrie T. Lindberg and was used by the Pillsbury family until the early 1990s. The estate includes seven structures including a caretaker's cottage/greenhouse, garage, pool complex, smoke room and tea house.

It went onto the market in 2007. When it didn't sell for two years, it was put up...

Trulia Says Cheaper to Buy Than Rent in Minneapolis

Is it cheaper to buy a home than it is to rent a home? In some cities, renting is more expensive than buying!

Trulia.com recently released its new Buy vs. Rent index, ranking the top 10 cities in the United States where buying a home makes most financial sense. Minneapolis (and by close relation St. Paul and most of the metro area) has landed on that list. Though Minneapolis didn't see the same huge spike in real estate prices that other communities experienced during the housing boom, once prices started dropping, home ownership became really cheap.

In Minneapolis, the average listing price for a home placed on the real estate market is $153,844. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage for that amount locked in at the rate of 4.638% APR would result in a monthly payment of approximately $768. The average monthly price for renting a home in Minneapolis is $1,700. Other cities where it is cheaper to buy than rent include Miami, Fresno, Phoenix, El Paso, and Las Vegas.

Curiously, Minneapolis is the only northern city which landed on this list, while quite a few landed on the list where it's much cheaper to rent than buy. Cities where it is cheaper to rent include Portland, Seattle, Omaha, Cleveland, and New York.

Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent is up to an individual or family's financial situation. Though homeownership enables people to build equity over the long term, the costs of paying for a home go beyond the monthly mortgage payment. Though no equity is built by renting, sometimes personal lifestyles may make renting a better choice.

Considering buying a first home? Contact the Twin Cities Realtors at Barker & Hedges o see how they can help you determine if buying a home is the right step for you!

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