Photographs by Chad Holder and Caitlin Abrams
Sarah and Doug Crowther
Sarah and Doug Crowther
Snapshot: Sarah and Doug Crowther.
Where: A townhouse in Wayzata.
What’s to love: The Crowthers, who are empty nesters, moved from Orono to Wayzata 10 years ago. “We walk pretty much every day in downtown, and we love the nearby bike trails,” Sarah says.
Excelsior and Wayzata
“Excelsior is going to be the suburban Uptown,” says Realtor Judy Shields, noting the city’s brewery, new retail boutiques and restaurants, and a Kowalski’s, which opened last summer, all within blocks of Lake Minnetonka. Shields credits city planners for drawing newcomers from outside the area with new development. (The city’s average home value in 2015 was $502,500, an increase of 11 percent since 2014.) “There’s no question that our population is asking for not just a neighborhood in and of itself, but they want stuff to do out here, too,” she says. This western ’burb is seeing substantial new home construction, something that’s not as possible in Minneapolis neighborhoods where empty land is scarce. The story is similar in Wayzata, where condo development has been strong. Cassie Frick, who is based out of Edina Realty’s Wayzata office, says there’s a healthy market of homes selling here in the $700,000 to $850,000 range, many of them to young families and first-time homebuyers. “People who’ve had larger lots in the area are splitting them off and selling half of it,” she says.
As a whole, this first-ring Minneapolis suburb is experiencing an uptick, with the city reaching record prices in 2015. The average sales price for single-family homes in Edina reached an all-time high last year of $515,000, and median sales prices of homes have increased 16.8 percent since 2011. Longtime favorites in the city, like Country Club and Morning-side, haven’t lost any ground in sales. These areas are especially appealing to young families who can’t afford some of the tonier parts of southwest Minneapolis where taxes are higher and to empty nesters who are selling their large homes out west and downsizing to be closer to the city center. “Whether it’s the millennial or the baby boomer, they’re wanting a similar product, but they’re wanting it for different reasons. Morningside is the perfect combination of city living with Edina schools,” says Coldwell Banker Realtor Marcy Libby, who recently sold two houses in Morningside. Young families want the schools for their kids; retirees and boomers want it for resale, Libby says. “If Minneapolis buyers are going to cross over to the suburbs, that’s the most natural place to cross over in Edina because it feels like Minneapolis, but when you talk about it from a tax and a school perspective, then street borders make a difference.”
Scott Busyn, a custom home builder and president of Great Neighborhood Homes, says his empty nester clients are looking at these neighborhoods as an alternative to condo living. “They want something smaller, to be able to sit out in the backyard, have a small garden, and to be able to entertain grandkids at the nearby park,” he says.
Other pockets like Pamela Park, south of 50th & France and just north of Hwy. 62, are a hotbed of teardowns and new construction, with homes selling in the high $700,000s to more than $1 million. “There seems to be more demand for the ‘close-in’ parts of Edina, around the 50th & France area; a bit less so farther out toward Hwy. 169,” says David Arbit, director of research at the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. “It’s a very stable and mature inner-ring suburb offering some of the most elite listings in the metro and boasting some of the best schools in the state.”
Snapshot: Julio Acosta.
Where: A townhome in Golden Valley.
What’s to love: “I can ride my bike from my townhouse in Golden Valley to work at General Mills,” Acosta says.
Theodore Wirth golf course, Golden Valley
Close to downtown, major corporations, and the access to Theodore Wirth Park can’t be beat.
This leafy St. Paul suburb is getting even greener by investing $19 million into its parks system.
St. Louis Park
Minikahda Vista is one of SLP’s favorite ’hoods—close to shopping and Minneapolis.