Alexandria, MN’s Pull Factor…Ranks High for Pulling in Shoppers

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In the Friday, June 18th Echo Press there was a great article on Alexandria's Pull Factor. You can get more information on this statistical information as well from Jason Murray over at the Alexandria Area Economic Development office at 320-763-4545.
But in a nutshell, you can see that Alexandria's ability to pull shoppers is almost double over that of cities of comparable size.
Another great reason to live and work here.

Source: Alexandria Echo Press Newspaper

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The Aging of Douglas County

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In attending a meeting on the Knute Nelson Grand Arbor project here in Alexandria, I was provided with these numbers that I thought you may find interesting.

AGE 55 AND OVER:
In 2005, there were 10,220 citizens here
Estimated 2030, there will be 17,410 citizens here. A 70% increase

AGE 65 AND OVER:
In 2005, there were 6,210 citizens here
Estimated 2030, there will be 12,420 citizens here. A 100% increase.

No wonder they are spending $26,000,00+ for the First Phase to build that complex.

Think about the new economy and what the world will look like. It’s fun to look at the future, being an optimist is much healthier to the soul than the opposite.

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Foreclosures in Douglas County.Mid-2010

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Talked with Sarah today from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and she said that to date they have had 59 foreclosure sales. A SALE: is where a property owner is served notice that they are being foreclosed on, the sale date has been set and then the sale actually occurs. A lot of activity has been generated, numerous sales are postponed…we won’t know the final tally till the end of the year. But it appears that the actual sale activity may show a little reprieve this year. I had said that 2009 may be the peak…last year on Sept. 17th, we had recorded 99 sales. I’ll try to remember to check this year on September 17th to see how it stacks up. If you SEARCH for foreclosures in my blog, you will see a hornucopia of info on Douglas County foreclosures (Probably the best kept archive in Alexandria for information on the foreclosures in Douglas County). Keep an eye on my blog for the latest in Douglas County foreclosures. And you could ask a question or provide some feedback…this is a community forum:)

Source: Douglas County Sheriff’s Department

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Interest Rates! Can they Go Any Lower?

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Rate Sheet from 6.24.2010
The attached interest rate sheet was delivered to my office on June 24, 2010. I put it in my blog so that a couple of years from now we could go back and look at it. I can only say that this real estate environment is probably one of the best that we will see, maybe in our lifetime, for interest rates, product availability and prices.

Markets are led by the “herd”. Be advised that the best way to make money is to do the opposite of what the “herd” does. In other words, the masses are deleveraging, shoring up cash and selling their real estate. The opposite would be to leverage invest, buy real estate and move your cash into under-valued investments. (Disclaimer: Now I am not making investment advice here, each individual person has their own portfolio and personal needs to attend to. You must seek competent advice from a person qualified to analyze your own portfolio and personal financial situation before making any investment decision.) What I am saying is to look with your own eyes at where future opportunities lay. Think positive, there’s a lot of negativity out there. Watch where the herd is going, consider taking an alternate route. The “herd” may be headed for another cliff?

When the “herd” was buying everything and borrowing the money to do it, the opposite would have been to shore up cash and deleverage. Going into this recession with cash and little or no debt WAS the position to be in. Now look at the opportunities. So again, think and watch…and again be positive. This market is short-lived, there is a new market emerging. What will it look like? What will your position be in the new emerging market. It’s going to be very exciting.

Disclaimer: You must seek competent advice before making any investment decisions from a person qualified in that specialty area. This blog site is intended as a sounding board for those interested in the real estate market and the Alexandria market in particular. Markets can and do change, there are no guarantees, only risk. Be careful, have fun and pay attention. You can make a mistake, but they can never take away your birthday.

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Good Morning Alexandria, MN!

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Haven’t been here for awhile. Was gone to Maine…Cape Cod and New York City. Little roadtrip with the family.
Anyway, the inventory levels here in Alexandria and Douglas County are escalating again. Last year showed some signs of a repreive, this year now we have surpassed the levels once held. Here are the statistics:

RESIDENTIAL.Peak Inventory Dates in the Alexandria MLS
9.25.05 482 Listings
6.30.06 657 Listings
7.13.07 663 Listings
8.28.08 658 Listings
9.30.09 617 Listings
6.24.10 667 Listings

LAKEHOMES. Peak Inventory Dates in the Alexandria MLS
10.6.05 233 Listings
7.26.06 375 Listings
7.30.07 417 Listings
8.13.08 402 Listings
8.26.09 413 Listings
6.24.10 429 Listings

I’ll be reporting 2nd quarter sales statistics next week. We’ll see what they have to say for the year.

Source: Greater Alexandria Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service

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DOUGLAS COUNTY ASSESSED VALUES

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1999-2009 Assessed Values in Douglas CountyEnclosed are the values of real estate, as reported by the Douglas County Tax Assessor. This chart shows that in all of Douglas County in 1999, we had $1,715,323,400 in Taxable Market Value. In 2009, we had $5,209,785,300 in Taxable Market Value. Look at the percent change in Estimated Market Value…it was double digit increase 7 out of the 11 years.

I guess this is why I love real estate…and in Douglas County.

Source: Douglas County Assessor’s Office

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Lake Home Inventory-Alexandria, MN

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Current MLS inventory on lakehomes stood at 418 listings as of this morning. That surpasses the one set on July 30, 2007 of 417 listings. Of those 418 listings, 246 are in Douglas County. The highest number that I have posted for that Douglas County statistic was August 26, 2009 when Douglas County lake homes was at 251 listings and 413 total in the MLS.

Source: Greater Alexandria Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service

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City Assessed Values-Alexandria, MN: (to Date)

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I have received the Alexandria City assessed valuation and since 2004, it appears that the Alexandria City’s tax base has increased about 36%. Not bad, considering a lot of people say that things have gotten worse…must be a mindset as the numbers don’t seem to be pointing in that direction. Now there was some annexation that took place and if you look at the data closely you will see that Alexandria Township fell about $120 million in 2009 and Alexandria City gained about that amount. But if you deduct that amount from the $398+ million that was gained, you still end up with a 27%+ increase since 2004 till 2008.

Alexandria City Assessed Values.2010

Source: Alexandria City Assessor

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Douglas County…Good News Again

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Reading Celeste Beam’s article in the Echo Press on June 4th, I was elated at the great news for the county. Celeste said that the news was mixed, I didn’t see any “bad” news. Sure some of the sectors are down, such as employment in construction, but compared to what? Overall, Alexandria and Douglas County have come a long way. The migratory pattern of people will continue to trend towards Alexandria, hence, some of the outlying communities will continue to struggle for eternity to hold on to their populace, with very little success. The Alexandria area however, is solid, despite what is going on in the rest of the world. Here’s what was in the article:

West Central Initiatives representatives discussed the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which is a 5-year region wide plan that incorporates economic development strategies throughout the region into one document. CEDS is designed to be a tool for counties and municipalities and take a look at such things as population, unemployment rates, wages, income and poverty. Here are some of Douglas County’s statistics as reported by Celeste:

~ The population in 2008 was 36,258
~ The unemployment rate in 2008 was 5 percent
~ Many of the communities in Douglas County experienced growth since 2002. However, there were a few exceptions – Brandon (-0.2 percent), Evansville (-0.1 percent), Forada (-2 percent), Millerville (-0.8 percent) and Nelson, which saw the greatest decrease (-9 percent). MOst of the communities lost only one person, but Nelson lost 17. Alexandria on the other hand , saw an increase; it grew by 40 percent since 2000.
~ The labor force has grown steadily since 1995 and although there was a steady decrease of the unemployment rate from 1985 to 2000, since 2000, the rate has increased by 1.3 percent.
~ The current unemployment (March 2010) for Douglas County was at 7.8 percent, which is still lower than the state and nation, and is one of the lower unemployment rates in the region.
~ The 2008 median family income for Douglas County was $58,801.

Source: Echo Press

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Tax Credit Hangover

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Reading a couple of reports (Wells Fargo Securities) about the data from the tax credit, I will share…
Housing Data Wrap-Up May 27, 2010: “Once the tax credit program ends, home sales are likely to retest the lows hit following what was originally thought to be the end of the first-time homebuyers tax credit last fall. Mortgage applications for the purchase of a home fell 9.5 percent during the first week of May, 27.1 percent during the second week, and 3.3 percent this past week. The slide in purchase applications has been sharper and more immediate than it was last fall, suggesting the pullback in sales and new construction could be greater than many currently expect. PUrchase applications have tumbled a cumulative 36.3 percent over the past three weeks, falling to their lowest level since 1997. By contrast purchase applications fell around 34 percent last fall.”

Then on June 4th, there was this to say: “If there was any doubt about whether we would see payback from the homebuyers tax credit, that doubt has been all but erased over the past few weeks, as mortgage applications for purchasing a home have plunged. After surging to 291.3 on April 30 from 196.8 on February 19, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s purchase index has since dropped 39 percent to 178.0 for the week of May 28. That is the lowest reading since the week of April 11, 1997, and comes despite a 30-bp drop in mortgage rates since April 30…Now that the sugar high from the homebuyers tax credit has passed, it’s time to get back to reality.”

I was not a fan of the tax credit policy. There were a lot of better options that could have been implemented that would not have cost the taxpayers any money. Why the tax credit was used, is beyond me. The problem with tax credits is that they come to an end and so therefore the artificially induced marketplace. I believe that the marketplace is going to be just fine here in Alexandria, once we get back to “normal”. I was saying to my clients, that May’s sales were down which is unusual…but this year we had the demise of the tax credit to deal with. Oh well, it sure keeps my life interesting:)

Source: Wells Fargo Securities, Mortgage Bankers Association

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