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Twin Cities Real Estate Market Update for October by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  Well, the numbers have come in for the month of September, and so I’m going to go through a few graphs of showing you how the marketplace has changed.  Everything has remained very strong and very positive, even in different things that are going on in the marketplace.  The first chart I’m going to show you is the new listings.  And as you can see in the new listings chart that for the month of September, if you go back to 2011, it was slightly higher than 2012.  We had a 20% increase in listings that came on the market in September.  And over year to date, we’ve had a 10% increase in listings.

The next chart I’ll show is what’s happened because of the inventory of houses and how the properties are coming on the market.  Back in 2011, we had 22,000 homes on the market in September, and this year, we’re right around 16,000 homes that are for sale.  Now what that means on the next chart is how does that affect us in the months’ supply of homes to look at.  The buyers that were out on the marketplace back in 2011 had about a 7-month supply of homes to look at or 6.7 months of supply.  And it’s not dropped down to 3.6 months.  So there’s less homes to look at in the market, but there’s still a reasonable supply of homes that are on the market.

The next few charts are going to give you an idea of what’s going on in the sales area.  Our pending sales for September of this year are up 8% over last year’s sales of about 4,000.  And year to date for the Twin Cities Marketplace, we’re up by 10% in pending sales.  The next chart shows what’s gone on in closed sales.  And the closed sales were strong and show we had a very strong summer of sales with closings up by 14% in the month of September over last year.  But year to date we’re up right around 11% over last year.  And I think it’s good to go back to look at the worst market that we had and the lowest number of sales was 2011, where we had about 31,000 sales through September of that year and now we’re up by over 10,000 sales this year to over 41,000 sales.

The last three charts I’m going to show you are going to give you an idea of what’s going on in the pricing area.  The first one is showing the median sale price.  You can see that in 2013, the median sale price jumped in September from 174,000 last year to 195,000 this year, which is an 11% increase for the median sale price.  The next jump that you’ll see is in the area of the average sale price.  In 2012, we had a $217,000 average sale price, and this September, we had a 239,500 average sale price for the Twin Cities, which is a 10% increase for the year.

The last chart I’m going to show you is the price per square foot, which shows in 2012 we had $105 per square foot, and this year, we’re at $116 per square foot for September, which is about a 10% increase.  The other thing I want to show is that over year to date that we’ve had about a 13% increase throughout the marketplace in our price per square foot.  So overall, we’ve seen about a 10% increase really both in 2012 and 2013.  We’ve seen interest rates dropping slightly with the federal stuff going on in the marketplace, and so we’re seeing FHA rates in the high 3’s and conventional rates in the mid-4’s.  It’s a great time to be out looking in the marketplace, and prices seem like they’re going to continue to rise, though I don’t believe they’ll be rising as fast in ’14 and ’15 as they did in ’12 and ’13.  But we’re going to see continued pressure in the marketplace for increased prices.

Well, thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  Make it a great day.  Bye.

Steve Westmark shares his favorite Real Estate Apps!

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  As you know, the marketplace has changed significantly as we’ve added these smartphones to the marketplace like the Androids and the iPhones.  And I thought I’d share with you some of the apps that I think are really great that people can use as they’re out doing their home shopping.  Now in the Twin Cities Marketplace, I think the best one that we have out there, and we were one of the first ones to have an app, is 

Obviously, you go into your app store, type in Counselor Realty.  Once you open it up, it asks you if you want the app.  If you type in okay, then you get things automatically sent to you according to how you want stuff.  Also, when you click on it and you put in you want it text, e-mail, or phone, it comes directly to me by doing that.  And we can get you into properties immediately.  Now if you’re a national type of person and you’re looking throughout the country, the other app that I think is really good for searching houses is basically covers Alaska, Hawaii, and the whole 48 states below, and it’s quite amazing at what you can see at for every house in the marketplace.

Now here are some other apps that I think are really interesting.  Another one is called Wikihood.  Wikihood is if you’d like to learn about a neighborhood, you can get a minitour on any neighborhood in the world, and it’s just a really great app.  So it’s Wikihood.  The next one that I think is a great app is called Suburban Scout.  Suburban Scout, when you put that in, it allows you to learn about airports, landfills, sewer treatment plants, and more.   There’s a cost to it, but I think it’s a great idea to be able to look to see whatever the problems might be that surround a neighborhood.  The next one is called Safe Neighborhood.  Safe Neighborhood gives you information on if there’s any sex offenders or things that are around that neighborhood that you should be concerned about.

The next one is called Crime Stats.  So you go onto Crime Stats.  You put in crime stats as an app, and it’ll give you the stats for the crimes that are going on around the surrounding neighborhood.  And that way, you can compare house against house.  Another really interesting app, I think, is called Walk Score.  Walk Source shows you how close that house is to walking to coffee chops, grocery stores, whatever it might be.  But it gives a walk score for that house, and if you like efficiencies and effectiveness, obviously, if you were in downtown Minneapolis in a district like the warehouse district, the walk score is great for all kind of things, versus if you’re out, way out in Watertown let’s say.  Let’s say if you’re close to downtown Watertown, you’d have a better walk score than if you were out on a 10-acre hobby farm.

The next one is called Around Me.  Around me is one that also gives distances to key spots like banks, coffee shops, post offices, and those types of things.  Another one is called SiteWise, and it gives demographics to your perspective home that you’re looking at.  Now once you’ve purchased a home and you’re looking really hard at something—maybe you’re getting close—is another one that’s called Photo Measures. And Photo Measures is an app that lets you take pictures of the house.  And then you can put colors into it to see what would the house look like if it was your color.  And the last one is called ColorSmart with paint made from Behr’s ColorSmart app, you can visualize colors of your perspective home.

So these are great apps that you can use as a buyer and even as a seller, I’m sure you’d be interested in knowing how does your house show up against these different types of apps that are in the marketplace.  Well, thanks for watching my video blog this week, and make it a great day.

Steve Westmark receives the Emeritus Award in Real Estate!

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  I have Mark Allen who’s the executive officer of the Minnesota Area Association of Realtors, and thanks for coming on today.

MARK:  You’re welcome. 

STEVE:  I brought Mark because I’m really giving myself—well, I’m not giving an award, but I got an award.  And the award is—what is it?

MARK:  It’s Realtor Emeritus.  And congratulations, by the way.

STEVE:  Thank you very much.

MARK:  Steve has been a proud Realtor member for 40 years.  He’s one of about 1% of members that ever achieve that status.  And I got the privilege to work with Steve for a number of years directly in the brokerage business before I started working here.  And someone that I always looked up to and still do.  And very much appreciate what he’s done for the real estate industry, including serving in many leadership positions here at the association of Realtors and at the Multiple Listing Service.  So congratulations, and I will try to do this without causing any bodily harm, if I can.  Bear with me a moment.

STEVE:  And Mark came from a family of real estate.  His father is Bob Allen, who really close friend of mine.  Then I got to meet Mark and his brother, Chris—all involved in real estate and a great real estate family.  Well, thanks for watching my video blog.  I love my new Emeritus Award, and make it a great day.


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The Steve Westmark Team
RE/MAX Advantage Plus
14451 Highway 7 Suite 100
Minnetonka MN 55345
Fax: 952-241-1600