Home Building Activity Ticks Up in the Twin Cities

As consumer confidence and incomes rise, home building activity in the Twin Cities metro area continues to rebound. According to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), housing construction so far this year is up 23 percent from the same period in 2012, putting builders on a track for their best year since 2007.

homes in blaine mnDuring June alone, 496 permits were issued to build 912 units. Minneapolis led the top five cities permitting 380 units. Brooklyn Park and Woodbury were in the second position with 31 units, followed by Ramsey with 29. Construction of new homes in Blaine MN, Chanhassen MN and Lakeville MN tied for fifth place with 23 units permitted each.

So far this year, builders were issued 2,379 permits to build 4,204 units, a dramatic change from this time four years ago when there were only 1,633 units.

In the south metro, Lakeville continues as the busiest homebuilding market in Dakota County and one of the metro area’s most active. The city has recorded 172 permits since the beginning of the year through the end of June, up from 107 for the same period a year ago.

In the north metro, Blaine is closing in on Coon Rapids for the title of largest city in Anoka County. It was the ...

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.




The yard for this property includes sod and an irrigation system. The home has a two-car garage.

This new house in the new Blaine Haven Development could be yours for $267,000!

Browse more Blaine MN Real Estate


What $229,900 Buys in Blaine

Check out MLS # 3882821


This single-family home at 12552 Quemoy Street NE in Blaine, MN, is a new construction rambler with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,399-square-feet of space, and an additional 1,300-square-foot walk-out basement that could be finished.


This home features hardwood flooring, stone tile, hickory cabinets, granite counters and a gorgeous stone fireplace.

Located in the high-demand Legacy Creek development, this house could be yours for $229,900!

Browse more Blaine MN Real Estate.


Midwest Home Magazine's Twin Cities Luxury Home Tour

Midwest Home magazine has kicked off its 10th annual Twin Cities summer luxury home tour this month.

The tour features 15 upscale homes valued from $900,000 up to $5 million. Homes on the tour are sprinkled throughout the metro, from Blaine to Prior Lake, Minnetonka to Lake Elmo.

“No detail was spared to create these homes,” said Kori Meewes, Midwest Home publisher. “You’ll see everything from an impressive 1,500-bottle wine cellar to secret closet tunnels that connect the kids’ bedrooms to a unique siesta deck.”

Tour times are 1 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, June 18 and 25, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays (June 12, 19 and 26) and Sundays (June 13, 20 and 27). Tickets are available at Caribou Coffee locations and at the tour homes. All proceeds will help to support Minnesota Public Radio.

For further information on the luxury home tour go to


Greening Minnesota ~ April 2010

This is the Land of 10,000 Lake and millions of trees. We take our environment seriously. Read on to learn about environmentally friendly news that happened recently around the Twin Cities and Minnesota!

Anoka County Highway Department is working on ways to get fewer people driving on Highway 65 in Blaine. The county has received a $7 million Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration to improve mass transit on the corridor. With $1.5 million in matching money, the county has issued a request for proposals for consultants to help create a plan to ferry nine busloads of commuters from Blaine's northern edge into downtown Minneapolis and back.

Also in Anoka County, employees may have saved a few jobs by saving energy (and money). First, lights were dimmed. Utility costs at the government center were reduced by $58,000 in 2009. In 2010, the county is expected to save more than $65,000. Next, Facilities Management and Construction team is changing the heating and cooling set-points in county building from 70/73 to 68/74. That means the heat will kick in at 68 degrees rather than 70 in the winter and the cooling system will trigger on at 74 degrees rather than 73 during the summer. Each degree of change will result in a 3% savings to the annual utilities budget of $720,000. The facilities management and construction team also has turned off most of the government center's lobby lights. The idea is to use natural daylight for lobby activities.

Mulroy’s Body Shop at the corner of 39th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Southwest Minneapolis has the largest array of solar panels in the Twin Cities, generating 30% of the building’s power. The installation of the shop’s 174-panel, 40-kilowatt system was completed in early April as part of a project run by South Minneapolis-based Solarflow Energy. The company offers solar electricity leasing. The company is under contract with Xcel Energy for the project, which...

Twin Cities Real Estate Market Snapshot for January 2010

Even during the traditionally slow winter selling period, the Twin Cities housing market saw home sales prices increase slightly in January 2010 compared to last year. It is the first year-over-year increase in over 3 years. The number of houses sold remained essentially flat compared to January 2009.

"We've safely weathered the worst of the housing market decline, despite continuing worries about future home foreclosures," said George Karvel, a real estate professor at the University of St. Thomas.

The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors reported the January median sale price to be $157,000, a 1.3% increase. That was the first time since July 2006 that the median sales price was higher than previous year, according to the Realtors association. Though the 1.3% isn't a vast increase and it doesn't mean that the Twin Cities real estate market has for sure bottomed out or had a reversal, it is still welcome news.

MAAR indicated the rise in the median selling price was entirely due to "lender-mediated" sales, meaning foreclosures and short sales. The average lender-mediated selling price was up 3.3%, to $125,000, while the median value of traditional homes sales was down 7.9%, to $198,000.

The Realtors association also pointed to future risk factors in the housing market, including unemployment and foreclosures., Though foreclosures were down in 2009, it's still too soon to tell how many are in the pipeline for 2010. Additionally, the end of the federal home buyer tax credit could affect the home sale rate. If the credit isn't extended again, it will expire on April 30. It's getting to be crunch time, so if you want to take advantage of the first time home buyer credit, you need to be into the process by now.

In related news, the extension and expansion of housing tax credits has likely contributed to an increase in building permits in January. Residential...

Twin Cities Home Builders Optimistic About 2010

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, there has been some activity in the local Twin Cities home building industry in 2009, making home builders more optimistic about the industry’s recovery. Though the uptick in activity is moving slowly, it could pick up some speed in 2010.

According to the Keystone Report, which tracks permit activity in the 13-county metro area, residential construction in the Twin Cities declined for the sixth year in a row  in 2009 as measured by planned housing units. Metro area cities doled out 2,599 permits for 4,405 new housing units, a far cry from the peak of 11,472 permits for 19,000 units in 2003.

But builders are encouraged by 2009's strong finish. In the last two months of 2009, the Twin Cities saw 523 homebuilding permits for 997 housing units, up from 365 and 644 in the comparable 2008 period. Residential permits issued in just December 89% higher than in the same month 2008.

Shakopee was the Twin Cities metropolitan-area leader in both the number of permits issued and the number of units approved in 2009. The city issued 304 permits for the year and approved a total of 328 new units. Over 92% of Shakopee’s construction was single-family.

“Owning a home with a yard is still the dream of the majority of families, and we expect single-family homes will continue to gain strength,” said BATC 2010 President Gary Aulik. “Shakopee was the region’s top growth city in 2009, and more than 92 percent of its construction was single-family.”

Blaine was second in the number of permits issued in 2009 with 203,  followed by Maple Grove with 197, Woodbury's 181, and Lakeville at 140. For the number...

Battling the Emerald Ash Borer

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has awarded $1.9 million in grants to cities and organizations to arm themselves in the fight against the destructive emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer was first found in May in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. It has since been discovered in Falcon Heights and on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. More than 100 infested ash trees have been destroyed so far.

St. Paul will get $723,000 to help manage infestation in the city. The University of Minnesota will get $200,000, and Falcon Heights will get $77,400 to fight the pest. The Agriculture Department also awarded $875,000 in grants to 15 cities and agencies to prepare for infestation, including Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Roseville and St. Louis Park.

The St. Paul City Council recently adopted an ordinance declaring the emerald ash borer a public nuisance, which gives the city the authority to inspect trees on private property and the power to order the removal of infested trees.

Blaine MN, taking a cue from cities in the east that became ash-less in the 5 years following the discovery of an infestation, is taking a more agressive approach. The city of Blaine has a new plan to remove all ash trees from city-owned land before they're hit by the emerald ash borer. The move is meant to spread out the emotional pain of losing mature trees and the financial pain of replacing them. The city has already started looking for distressed trees to be targeted for later removal.

The Chinese bug was discovered in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002. It has destroyed tens of millions of trees in the Midwest. The pest's larvae kill ash trees by burrowing into wood and feeding on nutrients, effectively starving the tree.

Unfortunately, the ash tree was the preferred replacement for elms after Dutch elm disease hit in the 1970s. Additionally, it is a predominant tree throughout...

Twin Cities November 2009 Building Permits Up

The number of residential building permits issued in the Twin Cities during November 2009 grew 28% over November 2008. According to numbers released this week by the Builders Association of the Twin Citiies, permitted units were also 37% higher. So far this year, building activity is down 11.5% from 2008. Construction is still far, far below numbers from 2007 and the precedeeding years.

Minneapolis had the most building activity for the month with 218 units, 175 of them for a single building project. Lakeville MN came next with 45 units. Blaine MN, Savage MN, and Maple Grove MN pulled permits for 41, 29 and 28 units respectively.

November saw the highest number of units permitted for any month this year; total permits in November were the third-highest in 2009. Permits tend to increase in November because builders want to get foundations down before the ground freezes.

The numbers come on the heals of reports that home prices and sales in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area increased in September and October. Prices in the Twin Cities have shown the greatest increase among many metro areas. Our real estate market here in the Twin Cities seems to be quite resilient.


Two New Parks in Family-Friendly Blaine MN

It is two years later than expected but in Blaine MN, two new parks are nearing completion. They will open next spring.

The Blaine Athletic Complex is a 22-acre park with four lighted tennis courts, a half-mile of new trails, two baseball fields, a basketball court and a freshly seeded field for football, soccer and lacrosse.

Lakeside Commons Park features 170-acre Sunrise Lake, a 14- to 18-foot-deep man-made lake that was dug by Emmerich Development Corp. of Andover in 2003 as the namesake and top amenity of the 1,045-acre housing development.

The park features a boathouse that will include watercraft rentals, a 50-foot dock, a beach house with restrooms and changing facilities, a 100-person picnic pavilion with a large, built-in grill and electrical outlets, a playground, jogging and biking paths around the lake, and "splash pads" with motion-sensored water jets that come up from concrete squares.

Before the man-made lake, Blaine didn't have one. Now it has a 300-foot sand beach and swimming area. The parks are a major expansion of Blaine's parks and recreation offerings. The $2.4 million parks were funded largely by park development fees from the Lakes housing development collected since 2003 when the housing boom was still in action.