MnDOT Announces End Of Load Restrictions

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced the end of Spring load restrictions for the entire state of Minnesota

Spring load restrictions, which bar heavy trucks from state trunk highways, are meant to protect these roads from damage during the spring thaw. Local governments often adopt MnDOT’s spring load restrictions in order to protect county, city and townships roads. The spring load restrictions went into effect in early March for the southern third of the state and in mid-March for the northern two-thirds of Minnesota.

Spring Load Restrictions in the metro frost zone end Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The south and southeast frost zone restrictions end Friday, May 10, 2019. The rest of Minnesota's load restrictions in the central, north-central and north frost zones, end on Thursday, May 14, 2019.

For more load restriction information, visit www.mndot.gov/loadlimits.

Majority of Minnesotans Facing a Shortage of Affordable Home Options

Majority of Minnesotans Facing a Shortage of Affordable Home Options

Results of a recently conducted statewide survey show that a majority of Minnesotans are facing a shortage of affordable home options.

“Minnesotans at all levels of the housing ecosystem are facing an affordability challenge,” said David Siegel, executive director of Housing First Minnesota. “As we enter the final weeks of the legislative session, we are hopeful that the legislature and Governor Walz will show they are serious about addressing this problem.”

A majority of Minnesotans also stated that the best way to make Minnesota’s housing market more affordable is by reducing fees and costly regulations.

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Capitol Update: Plenty Hanging in the Balance

Capitol Update: Plenty Hanging in the Balance

As the legislature moves towards its planned adjournment in late May, several items remain in the balance of discussion and deliberation. Housing First Minnesota has had a successful session elevating awareness of the affordability crisis – which has reached a new level of interest among legislators. Beyond that core issue, several housing and business-related issues remain in the process, which will now begin to shift to floor discussions by the full House and Senate.

It is likely that we will be calling upon our housing industry members to reach out to their elected officials. If you aren’t already signed up for our grassroots network, CLICK HERE.

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Lennar Tops the List of Twin Cities Builders

Lennar Tops the List of Twin Cities Builders

Results from a recent survey by Housing First Minnesota show that Lennar - Minneapolis/ St. Paul was the region’s top ranked builder once again in 2018. Lennar has held the top spot since 2006. Rankings are based on annual gross revenue as reported by respondents for for-sale housing. Lennar reported gross revenue at $591,305,200 for 1,036 single-family homes and 341 multifamily homes closed in the 2018 calendar year.

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Housing Market Report

While the new year began with a dip in permits both statewide and in the Twin Cities, builder confidence remains strong and most economists are projecting that 2019 will be similar overall to the previous year for homebuilders. Data from Housing First Minnesota’s Keystone Report, supplementing this Census Data reported here, indicates a flat start to 2019, suggesting it will echo the previous year. The challenge with this is that housing experts have called for a massive uptick in production, citing the need to build 300,000 new units by 2030, in order to address growing demand and provide pricing relief.

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Through January, single-family permits were down 4.8 percent statewide and 14 percent in the Twin Cities. Rochester and Mankato saw year-over-year declines as well.

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Wage Growth to Help Housing Market

Wage Growth to Help Housing Market

Slow wage growth throughout this economic expansion has put a damper on the housing market as home prices have climbed much faster than wages. Nationally, only 48 percent of households can afford the median-priced new home. And that number shrinks much lower in many markets.

The lack of wage growth has perplexed many. With job growth having the longest stretch on record, experts have expected wage growth to follow. To date, that growth has been painfully slow.

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Conventional Loans Hit 10-Year High

For the first time since 2008 conventional loans make up more than 75 percent of new home financing. According to analysis by the National Association of Home Builders and data released by the Census Bureau, conventional loans accounted for 76.9 percent of new home sales in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 2.4-percentage point increase from Q3 2018.

According to NAHB conventional loan financing started falling in 2008 and bottomed out at 57.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The share has risen since then.

CHART: NAHB

CHART: NAHB

The share of new home sales financed with FHA-backed mortgages in Q4 of 2018 was 11.5 percent, less than half its high of 27.6 percent.

Cash purchases accounted for 7,000 new home purchases for 5.4 percent of total new home sales. Cash sales make up a much larger share of existing home sales. Roughly 23 percent of existing home transactions were all-cash sales in September 2018, according to estimates from the National Association of REALTORS.

According to NAHB the share of new home sales backed by Veterans Administration products increased 2.1 percent to 6.9 percent of the total.

Q&A with Rep. Shane Mekeland

Q&A with Rep. Shane Mekeland

Q: As a new state representative, what are some of your legislative priorities?

A: My priority is to reduce duplicitous, unnecessary regulations. A great plan to be instituted on a federal level is that for every new regulation, two must be removed. Return our health insurance back to the free market with the safety nets in place for those with pre-existing conditions and that are financially unable. Rising costs are forcing many small business owners to take jobs that offer insurance benefits. And finally, to put emphasis on teaching trades and tech in our public schools – all trades, not just housing/building – and to educate our next generation that it is okay to not attend colleges and universities.

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Minnesota Building Industry Takes in the International Builders Show

The International Builders Show hit a post-recession high in attendance at this year’s event in Las Vegas. More than 67,000 building professionals from around the world filled the exhibit halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the National Association of Home Builders’ 75th annual event in February.

New smart home technology shined at the show, proving that soon our homes will be more interconnected than ever before. Another hot trend was color. Bright color trends were seen in every element and product for the home, from deep purple bathtubs to bright floral appliances. Yet another trend was personalization, from interchangeable farmhouse sink fronts to a suite of changeable faucet wraps and accessories that give buyers a chance to update their look more easily.

More than 150 Minnesota homebuilders, remodelers and suppliers stopped by Housing First Minnesota’s happy hour at Chayo for a great networking opportunity at the International Builders Show.

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