The Mullins Group

Real Estate Consulting & Sales | Residential + Commercial

Last weekend for Spring 2010 Parade of Homes!

Just a reminder the Parade of Homes runs through March 28th.  Most builders models are open from 12-6pm.  This is a great opportunity to tour new home communities throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area.  Although the number of models is down substantially from the heyday of the real estate market, there are hundreds of models to tour.   As a Realtor and home improvement DIYer… I recommend touring some homes for some great ideas for what’s in in today’s new homes.  Have Fun!

Tax-credit deadline is looming!

Just a reminder the tax-credit deadline for submitting all offers is April 30th with closing on or before June 30th.  With the spring market now in full-swing, we recommend viewing properties ASAP as many homes have been gobbled-up by buyers rushing to beat the deadline.  For more information regarding the tax credit click here:

Vacation Property in Puerto Rico

My family and I just returned from a much-needed vacation to Puerto Rico.  We’ve been there before, but believe its a “hidden gem” for its affordability and beauty.  We looked into going to Florida, but found real estate rentals to be much more affordable and on the white sand.  For instance, most hotels in Florida go for about $250+/night in the month of March (i.e. spring break).  Vacation rentals start at about $2,000/week inland at upwards of $5,000/week on the water.  By comparison, a person can rent an amazing condo in Puerto Rico for about $1000-$1500/week with amazing view of the ocean and Spanish Virgin Islands (Culebra and Visques).

As I was looking into condo prices, for as low as $200,000 a buyer can purchase in a premium location with all the amenities in the States.  When I talked to some owners, the majority of the units are rented out weekly for about 5 months of the year.  As a result, the units pay for themselves with rental income while providing the owner a place to stay for vacation, not a bad deal at all!  I think I will be looking into vacation ownership in Puerto Rico.. the benefits of the U.S. while being on “island time” and a cheap flight away.

Home Sizes Fall as Builders, Buyers Embrace Economic Reality

New-home buyers responded to the tough times in 2009 by opting for smaller houses, driving down the average size of a house built in the United States for the first time in 27 years.

Data recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found the average size of a new home that was completed in 2009 fell to 2,480 square feet from 2,520 square feet in 2008. The last time the average completed-home size fell by a statistically significant amount was 1982. Continue reading “Home Sizes Fall as Builders, Buyers Embrace Economic Reality”

Strategic Defaults and the Foreclosure Crisis Buzz up

Nearly a year after the Obama administration unveiled its ambitious housing rescue program, foreclosure tallies continue to break records. Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 2.8 million properties in 2009, up 21 percent from the previous year and 120 percent from 2007, according to RealtyTrac. With nearly 10 percent of mortgages now delinquent–which is also a new record–even more homeowners appear headed for foreclosure this year. ” Continue reading “Strategic Defaults and the Foreclosure Crisis Buzz up”

2009 Twin Cities Home Builder Activity – a late rally

Homebuilding activity in the Twin Cities declined for the 6th consecutive year.  This past year a total of 4,405 new housing units were constructed, a slight decline from the 4,405 units built in 2008.  During the heyday of the real estate boom, the Metro Area peaked at over 19,000 units in 2003! 

Builders did see some “encouraging” signs from the tax credit in late 2009 and are hoping this momentum continues.  The expansion of the tax credit is expected to carry some momentum into early 2010, but it remains to be seen how the industry will react after the tax credit expires.   If homeowners start to see more stabilization in the economy, these buyers will “get off the fence” and pursue new housing.  However if the economy continues to decline, we could be in for another year of stagnant new housing development.

2010 Twin Cities year-end housing numbers

According to year-end numbers from the Minneapolis Association of Realtors, 2009 performed better than 2008 on most fronts.  Closed sales increased, new listings were down, however the median sales price decreased by about 15% to $166,000 – the lowest level since the year 2000. 

The increase in sales and the decrease in the median sales price is largely attributed to first-time home buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit and the absorption of foreclosures and short sales.  The majority of these sales were priced under $150,000.   The median sales price of a lender-mediated property was only $124,000, compared to $204,000 for traditional sellers.