POTW | White Bear Lake

By David Arbit on Monday, September 12th, 2016










As these two vintage prints suggest, White Bear Lake is one cool place to be. Serving as the backdrop in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams surely didn’t hurt that image. But the cool factor didn’t stop there. When the heat was on, several prominent Prohibition Era gangsters—Ma Barker, Pretty Boy Floyd and Al Capone (or at least his gunman)—all hid out in White Bear Lake. Today, the area is home to the active White Bear Sailing School, a charming main street with unique shopping and many beautiful lakefront properties.

In stark contrast to the once-sinking water levels in the lake, White Bear Lake home prices are steadily on the rise. That said, the area as a whole has historically been more affordable than the rest of the metro, which is great news for first-time and entry-level home buyers looking for some extra space in a quiet community outside the bustle of the core cities.

However, sometimes the median sales price can deceive us because it is skewed higher as larger homes grow in popularity. Larger homes tend to fetch higher sales prices. To account for that, we simply look at the cost of 1 square foot in various communities. That way, we’ve eliminated the size of the home as a factor in its price. Through this lens, White Bear Lake home prices have in fact historically hovered above those of the rest of the metro. So once we’ve accounted for differences between the type of homes that sell, we are left with a more apples to apples comparison.

 At 2.0 months supply in the city versus 2.8 months supply in the metro over the last 12 months, the White Bear market is tighter than the metro. Demand is outstripping supply more so in the city than in the metro. To be fair, that’s the case in most markets, but to varying degrees.

It makes sense, then, that White Bear homes tend to sell after a median of 27 days on the market while metro homes tend to sell after a median of 34 days on the market. Hopefully that’s enough time for Capone’s boys to head back to Chicago to sort through the latest shipment and be back by closing time!


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