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Expert: Twin Cities Home Sales OK Despite Zillow Report

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Home and real estate website Zillow.com is reporting that 46 percent of all homeowners in the Twin Cities are underwater. That’s an increase of about 10 percent from last year. However, that news isn’t deterring everyone.

“Confident. Multiple offers over asking price. It’s going to be just like the old days with this house,” said Minneapolis homeowner David Mohr.

Mohr could care less about what Zillow is saying about home values. He’s putting his house in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood on the market, even though the market may be a little uncertain.

“Good landscaping, good updates on the interior and a good neighborhood. If you can check all those boxes, you can get top dollar for your house right now,” said Mohr.

According to one expert, Mohr may be right.

“At first glance it might look bad, but when you dig into the numbers a little bit it’s not necessarily as bad as it looks,” said Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas.

Tousley, who is director of the University’s real estate program, says the bad is that 56 percent of home sales were distressed in March — meaning they were part of a foreclosure or short sale. That number increased to 60 percent in April. It’s very high figure considering that during a normal market only about 3 to 5 percent of sales are distressed.

However, Tousley says foreclosures and short sales are hiding the fact that traditional sales are doing OK, and in some areas, beginning to recover.

“Traditional values are down a little bit,” said Tousley. “But they are not down nearly as bad as what the total numbers would indicate.”

He believes that in about 6 to 12 months foreclosures could begin to fade from the market, and in a year or two Twin Cities home values could start coming back. Either way, Mohr is going ahead with his plan.

“You have to believe in your future. You can’t worry about prices changing. You just have to put it out there,” said Mohr.

Experts say if you don’t have to sell and are happy where you are, the best thing to do right now is to stay put and the market will slowly but surely begin to work in your favor.

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