Letter: New housing developments could affect sellers’ market

North St. Anthony Park is about to experience more new residential construction in the next two or three years than it has in the 35 years that I have been working in the real estate business in the neighborhood. Almost 300 new housing units could be built in the next few years, starting with the 24-unit apartment building being built on the Healy Building site next to the gas station on Como Avenue, and continuing with a 50- 60 unit senior co-op proposed to be built on the Luther Seminary grounds.

Already the phone calls have started coming in, and the same question seems to be on everyone’s mind: “How will all of this affect my property’s value?” Most often, a home’s value is determined by supply and demand. I don’t believe demand will fall off, but supply may increase.

The last major housing development in St. Anthony Park was the 19-unit Luther Place condo building in 1984. Many of the folks buying into Luther Place were trying to sell their homes, and there were other folks trying to sell at the same time for different reasons. At one point in 1984, there were 44 housing units on the market. It took over two years for the number of homes for sale to fall back to normal levels. To put that in perspective, normally north St. Anthony Park experiences about 35 sales per year.

So, even if just half of the first new units being built are rented or purchased by current north St. Anthony Park residents eager to grasp a new housing opportunity for themselves, there could be a surplus of homes for sale for the next couple years.

Homeowners in north St. Anthony Park are likely to experience some short-term ups and downs in their property’s value over the next few years and some careful planning is advised.

Home values could be affected by several factors over the next few years:

• First will be the anticipation of the changes inherent with new construction as people wonder about how the buildings will fit into our community. Selling during this time of uncertainty, especially in the immediate vicinity of the new building, may be difficult. The unknown is always a bit frightening.

• Next will be the construction phase, when trucks start coming in and out of the neighborhood, the dust starts flying, the roads get torn up for utility purposes and the building begins to take shape. Less uncertainty, but kind of messy. Again, selling a home in the immediate vicinity may be problematic. No one else should be affected.

• Finally, the impending completion of the first building (probably the 24-unit rental) will mark the time when residents start making plans for moving into their new homes and begin to attempt to sell their current homes. That is likely to occur next spring, when timing of the completion of the building can be more precisely determined and moving plans can be made.

Next spring might see an increase in the number of homes for sale in the neighborhood, and smart sellers will need to sell next spring should be planning for this. Good things to do:

• Get your home freshened up, repaired, repainted and uncluttered right now.

• Take photos now of your home with a green lawn and beautiful trees. The photos may be helpful in marketing homes early next spring before the snow is all gone.

• Seek the advice of a local realtor.

The timing of the 50- to 60- unit senior co-op will be a repeat of the same process, but because of its size, the impact on the supply of homes for sale in the neighborhood may be even more dramatic.

It should also be interesting to see if there is increased demand for commercial spaces within the neighborhood. All of these new residents will probably demand more places to dine and shop for food, pharmaceuticals, hardware, gifts, toys and other essentials. These folks will also be looking for services such as health and dental care, eye care, wellness services and auto repair. I’m guessing that our little commercial district will thrive in the future, as there may be as many as 300 to 400 new residents (shoppers!) within walking distance of the commercial center.

There is no reason to panic, but there may well be reason to plan. And if you don’t need to sell in the next couple years, don’t worry. All of this bodes well for the long-term future of St. Anthony Park.

Steve Townley and Chris Deming

St. Anthony Park realtors

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