News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Prices Are Rising for New Homes, and the Land They Are Built On
Shaila Dewan / The New York Times / September 7, 2013
a few months ago, Michael N. Felix’s phone started ringing again after four years of silence. Mr. Felix is a land broker whose business dried up when the housing market crashed. But with home prices now rising faster than anyone expected, builders are again looking for what, in the land trade, is referred to as dirt.
Already, developers report that the cost of land in the most desirable areas is double what it was two years ago. At least three golf courses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are being carved into millions of dollars’ worth of residential lots. The race has even sent builders back to outer suburbs like Otsego, 30 miles from downtown Minneapolis, where bulldozers are laying the groundwork for four-bedroom houses with three-car garages, in subdivisions bordered by cornfields.
“Lot buyers and sellers!!!!!!!!” Mr. Felix’s Web site reads. “It is time to get moving again….!”
Or past time. The latest land rush is in full swing, as developers realize that they have failed to feed the zoning, permitting and mapping pipeline, which can take months or years to turn raw fields into buildable lots. They are realizing another thing, too: they have been sorely missed.
“For the first time, I’ve seen cities want to work to help figure it out, rather than doing us a favor all the time to let us develop,” said Scott Carlston of Hunter Emerson, a development partnership. Hunter Emerson won a victory when the city of Eagan, a suburb of Minneapolis, allowed Parkview Golf Club to be converted into a high-end single-family subdivision.