Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ December 2010

With all the white stuff that has been flying lately, December has been a slow month for green news in Minnesota. There are still a few stories worth noting.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has filed suit against the 3M Co., demanding that it pay the cleanup costs for decades of pollution caused by chemicals that have seeped into the Mississippi River and the drinking water of communities across the eastern Twin Cities metro area. The suit was filed in Hennepin County District Court after months of fruitless out-of-court settlement talks between the state and Maplewood-based 3M.

Forty-six new solar-powered parking meters went online in downtown Minneapolis recently. And quite literally. The meters are solar-powered and use Minneapolis’ Wi-Fi to allow credit card payments, but also accept quarters and dollar coins. In the future, even more older meters, which have been in use since 1992, will be coming down.

About $1 million has been awarded to projects...

A Perfect Storm Helps December Home Buyers

The weather outside might be frightful, but the climate of the Twin Cities real estate market is a day at the beach for well-qualified home buyers.

According to the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors, November's median home price in the 13-county Twin Cities metro area dropped 2.5% to $165,700 in November. Home sales declined 39.1% while pending sales, an indicator of future activity, were down 3.3%.

A report from Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors shows a small improvement on the housing supply front. It shows that while housing inventory levels are still increasing, the rate of increase has been tapering off. Active listings are down 9.6 percent from last year.

Additionally, the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index indicates Twin Cities home prices dropped 2.1% from August to September. Among the 20 cities the index tracks, that drop was the second worst. Cleveland had the biggest...

What $267,000 Buys in Blaine MN

Here is MLS # 3998015


This single-family houseis located at 913 104th Lane NE in Blaine, Minnesota. This 2-story home is a new construction home that will be completed in 2011. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 1,898-square-feet of space.


This beautiful home features a sleek gourmet Kitchen with granite countertops and Knotty Alder cabinets, maple hardwood floors, and ceramic tile. Large panels of windows and smaller windows in unique places allow for plenty of natural lighting in almost every room of the house.



Super-Sized Homes Are Out, Super-Small Homes Are In

The American home got supersized during the housing boom. In the era of the McMansion, a ginormous house was a symbol of status, but to current home buyers they are the epitome risk and high overhead. Today's home buyer wants something a little smaller.

After decades of expanding, the average size of new single-family American homes completed in 2009 dropped to a nationwide average of 2,438. That's about 100 square feet smaller than 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"There's so much more concern about very big homes," said Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West, University of Nevada-Las Vegas. "People used to buy as much house as they could afford. Now they're saying, 'Even if I could buy that, do I really want to?'"

The recession and the availability of money is obviously part of why homes have shrunk. Smaller houses cost less to heat and cool, with the added...