Positive News For the Condo Market!

Curious about what the real estate market is really like these days? You are not alone. In fact, many organizations are examining multiple factors regularly to try to determine the status of the condo market.

According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) released on Friday, April 5, 2012, 101 areas throughout the United States are showing signs of growth, in thirty-five states. That is great news for condo buyers and sellers, as it means the real estate market is improving throughout the country. It is reassuring news if you are a condo buyer as well, as it may give you a better idea of the stability of the area in which you hope to buy a condo.
It is interesting to note that the NAHB/FA report is based on the following three solid factors remaining steady over a six month period, rather than simply market speculation.

  • Employment Growth Statistics (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • House Price Appreciation (Freddie Mac)
  • Single-family Housing Permit increases (U.S. Census Bureau)

According to David Crowe, chief economist at NAHB, “The IMI is designed to highlight markets that are showing consistent improvement.” Seeing that improvement as a great sign, Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company agreed stating,“The fact that the number and geographic distribution of improving housing markets continued to expand beyond the 100 mark in April bodes well for the start of the spring home buying season, and should be an encouraging sign for those who are considering a condo purchase.” You can view the current report here to see specific markets and their ranking in the IMI.

For further information and trends about the Minneapolis Condo Market contact Ben Ganje.

Posted in 5th Ave Lofts, Ben Ganje, Condos for Sale, Downtown Minneapolis Condos, Downtown Resource Group, Minneapolis Real Estate | Leave a comment

Technology Spotlight: QR Codes

Have you noticed the odd bar code boxes showing up on real estate signage and flyers lately? Do you recognize them as QR codes? Are you shaking your head wondering what a QR code actually is and does? Do you have a smartphone?

A QR code is very similar to a UPC bar code that is used in pretty much every store, from where you buy your groceries to where you shop for clothes. It gives detailed product information. In a matter of seconds, using your smartphone, you can get all the information you desire on the item at no cost and with less hassle.

With a QR code, you can read about the product, including a condo for sale, using your smart phone easily and fuss free. You can efficiently scan the “condo for sale” flyer you found on your doorknob or the for sale sign of the condo next door to your daughter and discover the details of the condo without having to make a phone call. You can be directed to a real estate website that will show you more condos and other resources, too, if you desire.
You can view pictures, videos, floorplans, community information and status – everything you want to know – instantly. I personally dislike having to wait for a call back when I want information, QR codes make sure you can find out what you need to know, when you want to know it!
So, please let me know what you think. I value your opinion and wanted to educate you on what and why those little fuzzy boxes exist. Do you love QR codes, too, or would you rather see my picture on a sign instead? Maybe both? :)

For further information on the Minneapolis Condo Market please contact Ben Ganje.

Posted in 5th Ave Lofts, Ben Ganje, Downtown Minneapolis Condos, Downtown Resource Group, Lofts, Minneapolis Apartments, Minneapolis Condos | Leave a comment

Short Sale at 5th Ave Lofts 401 2nd St #106

 Today a short sale came on the radar in the North Loop at the 5th Ave Lofts.  The unit is one of the smaller units in the building a 2 bed, 1 bath with 1 parking stall–but priced to go into multiple offers this week starting at $239,900.  Most short sales in the Minneapolis Condo market are by no means perfect in overall condition but this is move in ready.  
  The 5th Ave Lofts has an interesting history as well as a neighbor the adjoins the site called Security Lofts.  Both were developed by local real estate mogul Jim Stanton who has built more lofts and condos in downtown Minneapolis than any other developer.  The 5th Ave Lofts are new construction while the Security Lofts was a conversion–both of the buildings are under one homeowners association so the monthly dues are more than reasonable.  The buildings share fitness centers, 2 rooftop terraces on 5th Ave and parking located under 5th Ave Lofts.  
  What makes this short sale attractive is that it is one of the smallest units in a building where the average sales price runs in the mid to high 300s.  It’s a great position to be one of the cheapest units in the building.  If you have the patience to wait for the short sale process which can take anywhere from 60 days to well over 9 months this is solid deal.  For more information on 5th Lofts, the North Loop and this listing feel free to contact me anytime.

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What NOT to look for during your condo buying search

Before looking around for Minneapolis Condos there are a number of things to keep in mind. Don’t lose sight of the fundamentals of a great condo simply because there are a few minor items that could use some attention in the short term. The most common items buyers get hung up on are the cosmetic issues within a condo–its these items that can usually be quickly and inexpensively resolved.

With that said, here is a list of things that you shouldn’t concentrate on during your home search:

  • Paint colors – One of the hardest things for condo buyers to look past is the color of the walls. Unlike a house, a condo is smaller and so paint becomes a bigger item that can literally transform a room. So, although a condo may have bright red walls that are far from your preferred color palette, they shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
  • Furniture – Once again, a furnished condo may be hard to look past, but remember that the furniture in the condo won’t be there when you purchase it! Look past the furniture and instead concentrate on the room’s sizes and it features.
  • Lighting – Lighting is one of the most inexpensive upgrades you can make to a condo, so don’t let a few tacky light fixtures make or break a deal. In other words, it is important to look beyond the 80s style chandelier in the dining room and instead focus on the fixture you would like to see in the space.
  • Personal effects- Often times, it is hard for buyers to overlook the personal effects in a condo. Everything from family photographs to diplomas and collections of knick knacks can often distract buyers from the home itself, so it is important to make sure your thought don’t drift to the baby pictures on the wall while looking at a condo! Remember: it’s all about the “bones” of a condo not the details that have little to do with you or the condo in the long run.

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Paul McCartney to play in Target Frield near 5th Ave Lofts

Recent developments have Paul McCartney to play in Minneapolis. More importantly at Target Frield blocks away from 5th Ave Lofts in the North Loop! Pretty exciting

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401 2nd St N #117 Minneapolis MN 55401

Well maintained 1+den on the market at 5th Ave Lofts!

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FHA Condo Loans in Minneapolis Become More Valuable

As mortgage interest rates gradually make their accent I have been running across this scenario more often with buyers now which is: Can the assumability of a FHA loan offset the high mortgage insurance premium? The value of assumability is as high as it is ever likely to be because of the broad consensus that interest rates in future years will be higher than they are now.

For the most part, FHA loans are the only assumable mortgages; conventional loans, with a few exceptions, are not. That means that a home buyer who finances the purchase with an FHA-insured loan and who sells the house later, when interest rates are higher, will be able to offer a potential buyer the right to assume his low-rate FHA loan.

After approval of the buyer by the FHA, the buyer would assume all the obligations of the mortgage upon the sale of the property, and the seller would be relieved of liability. It would be just as if the loan had been made to the buyer.

The major force behind assumptions is the ability of buyers to get financing at an interest rate lower than that currently charged by lenders. If the home seller has a mortgage with a rate below the market rate, having the buyer assume the seller’s loan can be better for both. The buyer enjoys a lower rate and avoids the settlement costs on a new mortgage.

Say, for example, that a home buyer today taking a $200,000 mortgage on a $250,000 house is offered the choice between a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5 percent, with no mortgage insurance required, and an FHA loan at 5 percent, with mortgage insurance and, of course, assumability. The FHA has an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.5 percent of the loan amount and a monthly premium of 0.5 percent. The purchaser expects to have the house for five years, at the end of which, when it is time to sell, the mortgage balance will be $183,657. Let’s suppose for the moment that the market rate at that time will be 10 percent.

Posted in Downtown Minneapolis Condos, FHA Condo Loan | 1 Comment

401 2nd St #323 on the market

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A Casino not far from the North Loop?

Recent reports of the owners of Block E are considering a casino inside the complex in downtown Minneapolis. To make this a possibility would require a major policy shift–under current law casino ownership is limited to Native-American Indians. Details

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5th Ave is only blocks from Target Field!

The first week of April 2011 will mark the 2nd season the Twins will call Target Field home! While some Twins fans remember baseball games outdoors at Metropolitan Stadium, others have only rooted from the Twins inside at the Metrodome. In April 2010, for the first time since 1981, the Minnesota Twins opened a new chapter in their history as baseball is played outdoors again, this time at Target Field. The battle to build Target Field lasted over a decade, as the Twins struggled to receive funding for construction from the State of Minnesota. Talks of contraction of the team, relocation and passionate support from fans finally led state legislature to approve financing of a new ballpark in May 2006. Under the State of Minnesota’s authorizing legislation, the county’s share of financing the ballpark was $350 million. This covered construction and infrastructure costs. The Twins organization contributed $130 million. Nearly one year after state approval, the Twins officially unveiled plans for their new ballpark. On September 15, 2008, the Twins announced they had reached an agreement with the Target Corporation to name the ballpark Target Field. Financial terms were not released, but the partnership lasts for 25 years.

The Minnesota Twins played and won their field game at Target Field against the Boston Red Sox on April 12, 2010. Target Field is located in downtown Minneapolis, in the Warehouse District. The ballpark reflects Minnesota’s dynamic blend of urban sophistication and outdoor vitality. The facade of the ballpark consists of Minnesota limestone and a canopy that covers much of the upper deck seating. Most Twins fans will enter the ballpark through Target Plaza, a park-like gathering area located outside the right field entrance gate. This landscaped area features a 1,500 pound bronze glove, player statues of Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett; a wall tribute to Minnesota ballparks, and the Metropolitan Stadium flagpole. Once inside Target Field, it is apparent that it is one of the best ballparks in baseball. Target Field features just under 40,000 seats, 18,500 seats in the lower deck, with the main three tier grandstand extending from the right field foul pole to home plate and to the left field foul pole. Between the upper and lower decks are 4,000 club seats, 60 luxury suites and the pressbox. A double decked grandstand is located in left field with additional seating in right field. Located in the northwest corner of the ballpark is the Budweiser Roof Deck that features a fire pit, bar, 150 bleacher seats and standing room for 150 fans. It provides fans with views of the Minneapolis skyline and Target Field.

One of the most unique features at Target Field is the home run celebration feature. Located in centerfield, this large feature is the Twins original “Shaking Hands” logo from 1961-1981. Twins characters, Minnie and Paul light up when a Twins player hits a homerun.

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