When Minneapolis lands at the top of national rankings, it's usually for things like literacy, per-capita theater attendance, or bicycle-friendliness. So it was a surprise this month when a real-estate website called Trulia.com declared Minneapolis the
all-time, record-breaking, national leader
in a seemingly less desirable category: percentage of houses for sale at reduced prices.
The figure, which covers homes for sale within the city of Minneapolis proper (not St. Paul or suburbs), is 42 percent. That is, 42 percent of Minneapolis homes on the market, as compiled in Trulia's considerable database, have asking prices that are lower than when the homes first hit the market.
"We've been surprised to see Minneapolis at the top of the list," says Trulia's Tara-Nicholle Nelson. Minneapolis had for three previous months held the top position at a steady 40 percent. The website has tracked cities' price reduction rates since April 2009.
Nelson doesn't take the numbers to mean the city's real estate market is "bizarrely overflooded" or "overly distressed." Things are bad all over, but Minneapolis can boast strengths such as an unemployment rate consistently lower than state
and national figures. So what makes the city special in this particular category? One theory Nelson offers (reinforced, she says, by locals she's spoken with) is this: "Sellers are very realistic and aggressive [and] are seeing the need to sell or want very badly to sell." A year ago
, when Minneapolis ranked fourth on Trulia's list, local mortgage banker Alex Stenback proposed another possibility on his website, BehindtheMonrtgage.com
: "Minneapolis home sellers are altogether too optimistic in the first place, but quick to recognize their mistake." Asked about this year's ranking, Trebak cautioned by email about reading too much into monthly data but said it suggests that "real estate has not yet bottomed-out."
Source: Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Trulia.com; Alex Stenback, BehindTheMortgage.com
Writer: Chris Steller