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John Murphy's Trulia Blog

Real Estate Insight and Analysis for the Minneapolis Area

By John Murphy - 763-443-9821 | Agent in Plymouth, MN
  • No New Housing Market Subsidies in President Obama's State of the Union Speech

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Quality of Life in Minneapolis, Market Conditions in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:59 AM  |  1,826 views  |  No comments

    Has the National Association of Realtors lost their power and influence?  President Obama announced lots of new initiatives, strategies and reorganizations, but there was no mention of helping housing except perhaps to consolidate 5 government agencies that have some involvement in housing.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think there should be any new initiatives for housing other than figure out what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are still big problems that at some point will have to be addressed by our lawmakers.

    One of the things the National Association of Realtors could do is to encourage a change to accounting rules and allow investors to be able to accelerate their depreciation for investment real estate.

  • Will All Twin Cities Highways Eventually Become Toll Roads?

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Quality of Life in Minneapolis, Traffic & Public Transportation in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:57 AM  |  422 views  |  No comments

    The State of Minnesota continues to have a major budget crunch.  Transportation doesn't stand a chance when it has to compete with education, welfare and healthcare in this state.  The transportation budget crunch should cause homeowners and future homeowners to give thought to where you live.

    If you follow this story out from MinnPost to its logical conclusion, is it that far fetched to think that at some point, every major highway and interstate freeway in the Twin Cities metro will eventually have a toll?  If you don't want to pay the toll, take city streets for public transportation.

    If the State of Minnesota engaged this policy, they would be able to have tremendous control and influence over where people live.  For example, there could be a digital toll installed at the entrance ramps in Monticello, MN on I-94 and it would calculate what you owe when you get off the freeway in Plymouth, or Minnetonka, or Minneapolis.  You could charge an escalated rate for those who live further out.  As that rate could be increased every year like property taxes, eventually you could force people to move in closer and abandon towns such as Monticello, Albertville, St. Michael etc.  You could easily fill up all the vacant housing in the center city and first and second ring suburbs.  What happens to those towns abandoned would be open to discussion.

    Just to clear up any confusion, I would be against this plan.  But what do you think of my idea of installing toll roads on every highway in the metro?  I'd love to see your comments.

  • New Home Sales Improve Unexpectedly

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Home Buying in Minneapolis, Home Selling in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:50 AM  |  372 views  |  1 comment

    New home sales rose unexpectedly in the month of December. sales improved by 17.5% over November but were still down by 7.6% compared to December 2009.  Reuters calls it a surge.

    Check out this graph that Forxtrad's Blog has posted regarding new home sales inventory.  It looks like the inventory build has been completed cleared.  By the looks of that chart, new construction should start to find some footing.  It's never going to be like it was, but at least the battle with too much inventory is over.

  • Foreclosures Drop in 2010 for the Minneapolis Area - RealtyTrac

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Market Conditions in Minneapolis, Foreclosure in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:42 AM  |  448 views  |  No comments

    RealtyTrac published its year end foreclosure numbers for 206 metropolitan areas across the U.S.  Foreclosures decreased by 3.85% in 2010 compared to 2009.   However, foreclosures are still up by 51% compared to 2008.

    It looks like the Minneapolis area is about the middle of the pack when it comes to foreclosure activity.  We certainly aren't the worst, but we aren't the best place either.

    Minneapolis is ranked 76th - slightly worse than Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Ann Arbor.

  • Out of Work Contractors - Should You Become a Home Inspector?

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Market Conditions in Minneapolis, How To... in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:23 AM  |  308 views  |  No comments

    Everyone has to make I buck I guess.  Real estate transactions, at least for the Twin Cities, are at 20 year lows and yet this company has been advertising on the radio like crazy lately trying to recruit contractors to get trained as home inspectors.  There aren't enough transactions to keep the existing supply of home inspectors busy.

    In 2010, the Twin Cities only completed 37,600 residential home sales (single family, townhomes and condos).  That's 20,000 fewer homes than what was sold in 2004.

    It appears that tuition starts around $1,000 or so at a minimum.  I guess at the end of the day if you can spend $1,000 or $2,000 that might not be so bad especially if you can make $300-$350 per inspection.  But do we really need more inspectors?

    If this company is successful, I wonder if we'll see the price of inspections start to come down.

  • Google Gives Up on Real Estate

    Posted Under: General Area in Minneapolis, Using Trulia in Minneapolis, Tech Tips in Minneapolis, How To... in Minneapolis  |  February 7, 2011 7:10 AM  |  486 views  |  No comments

    Google announced that they are getting out of the real estate business for now.  The competition is stiff with Zillow and Trulia and of course, Realtor.com.

    Google has a cool feature where listings show up on Google Maps, but they are not getting enough traffic to justify putting resources against this.  Google Base also will no longer support uploading of listings.  It will be interesting to see if they eventually get back in to real estate.  If I had to guess, they will just buy Zillow or Trulia.  I think they should buy Trulia.

    Here's the official announcement from the Google Lat Long Blog.

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