MAR will be closed on Monday, May 27 in honor of Memorial Day. Regular hours and service will resume Tuesday, May 28.

POTW | Prior Lake







Keep heading south on the upgraded State Highway 13 past Savage and you’ll soon find yourself in lovely Prior Lake. Home to about 25,000 people, Prior Lake is situated in rapidly-growing Scott County in an area some call “South of the River.” This community is just a 25 mile (30 min) drive to downtown Minneapolis.

Based on the market-wide median sales price, it appears that home prices are at all-time highs in the city. But because new construction plays a larger role in this area than other areas and in the region as a whole, it’s worth isolating previously-owned properties.

In fact, once we apply previously-owned and single-family filters, we can see that home prices aren’t quite back to 2006-7 levels (when this market peaked), though they’re pretty close.

Values in Prior Lake tend to hover above those in the broader Scott County. It also appears as though the gap is widening.

But at least part of that is due to the fact that larger properties are selling in Prior Lake. Note the preeminence of the 2,501+ square foot range. That segment comprises roughly 45.0 percent of all sales activity in Prior Lake, compared to 32.0 percent in Scott County.




Get to Know President Judy Shields

 Get to Know 2016 MAAR President, Judy Shields


Judy was recently inducted as the 2016 MAAR President. She is excited to be president and is ready to represent the real estate community and govern the association. We wanted everyone to get a chance to get to know Judy a little better so we set up an interview with her and asked a few questions.


 How would you describe yourself?

Energetic, passionate, eager to help and a good listener. I’m a REALTOR® on the street who has the same concerns that other REALTOR® members do.

What is advice that you would give a brand new agent?

Be patient. You are starting your own business. A lot of money has to go out before money comes in.

How do you meet clients for your business?

I have a Facebook and LinkedIN Page. I do a lot of networking. I have served on the Uptown Association Board, East Calhoun Neighborhood Board, volunteer at Gilda’s Clubhouse and I started my own business networking group called PNG West.

Can you tell us about your three ‘Cs’ emphasis during your presidency: Communication, Collaboration and Creativity? 

The three Cs fit into what I wanted to focus on this year at the association which is to open doors across committees, brokerages and associations.

Tell me about someone you really admire?

My Grandmother. She was a strong woman who lived with my family in Chicago Heights starting when I was in high school. In many ways, she was before her time. She worked as a 5th grade teacher and insurance agent when most women were not working outside the home. She actually helped me with research for some of my college papers.  I cherish those years we spent together.

Living in Uptown you have so many places to eat. Do you have a favorite restaurant?

Lucias is my favorite restaurant because it’s convenient and they offer sit down, a wine bar and deli. I always say if my husband Michael didn’t cook, we wouldn’t eat. So, when we stay home he is our chef. Our backup is to call Bite Squad.

Do you like to travel?

I love to travel. I would go on a trip every year if I could. My favorite trip was a cruise from Rome to Barcelona. I am planning another trip to Croatia soon.

 What do you do in your free time?

My top two favorite activities are yoga and biking. I’m training for the MS150.


January Real Estate Stats Release

List Prices Reach New Record High as Buyer Activity Remains Strong

The year got off to a mostly strong start with buyer activity and home prices rising even though seller activity was lackluster. Pending sales rose 3.5 percent to 3,033 signed contracts; new listings decreased 7.2 percent to 4,167 homes. In light of that, it’s no surprise that inventory levels fell 22.2 percent to 10,065 active properties—the lowest figure on record since January 2003. Prices continued along their upward trajectory. The median sales price rose 10.3 percent from last January, landing at $215,000. But the big news came by way of median list price, which rose 6.1 percent to $259,900, a record high. The price per square foot rose 7.2 percent to $126.

MAAR-January-2016-Stats-News-ReleaseBuyers wrote offers that were more in-line with asking prices, as the percent of original list price received at sale was up 1.5 percent to 95.0 percent. Furthermore, sellers tended to accept those offers in shorter amounts of time. Cumulative days on market declined 15.8 percent to 85 days, which is a brisk pace for January. Absorption rates tracked closely to inventory levels as months supply of inventory fell 32.3 percent to 2.1 months—also the lowest figure on record. Generally, five to six months of supply is considered a balanced market. While the metropolitan area as a whole is favoring sellers, not all areas, segments or price points necessarily reflect that.

“We’re starting the year in the same low inventory environment in which we ended last year,” said Judy Shields, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) President. “Record sales and rising prices should encourage sellers to list their home. That said, it’s critical that buyers have more choices as the year progresses.”

It’s important to assess specific area and segment performance, since no single property spans the entire metro area nor all market segments and price points. The percentage of sales that were foreclosure or short sale fell to 13.9 percent while traditional sales rose 27.3 percent. Single-family homes continued to dominate sales volume, even though townhomes had the strongest year-over-year gain. Previously-owned home sales increased at a faster pace than new construction, but not by much. Sales activity in the $150,000 and below range declined nearly 18.0 percent while activity in all other price ranges is rising. Edina, St. Louis Park, Plymouth, Hopkins, Uptown and Southwest Minneapolis all saw record prices in 2015.

Recent jobs and wage data has remained mostly positive. Wages are growing at their fastest pace in six years—an encouraging sign that should offset declining affordability brought on by rising prices and interest rates. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area had the second lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area at 3.1 percent compared to 4.9 percent nationally. Mortgage rates are still below 4.0 percent compared to a long-term average of about 8.0 percent. Rates actually went down after the Federal Reserve’s December hike, though marginally higher rates are expected this year. The normalization process will be slow and incremental and shouldn’t disrupt the recovery.

“This year’s spring market started earlier and stronger than in past years,” said Cotty Lowry, MAAR President-Elect. “It should also offer some insight into the impact of rising home prices, changing interest rates, an election cycle and a volatile stock market.”