Monday, February 11, 2008

Where are the middle class highrises?

The Minneapolis housing stock is a curious beast. I've spent the past year reviewing the offerings of the condo market. I've found that there's an astonishing quantity of "luxury" condos and a so-so quantity of "non-luxury" condos. Where are the middle class highrises? Are there really so few people who want the advantages of non-single-family-home living but don't want: (1) Granite countertops (2) Viking ranges (3) Concierge services (4) Bamboo floors (5) High-end fixtures?

I'm really baffled by this. Surely there's enough latent demand in this market for condos around $220k (the median housing price in America). Or is there just so much single-family-home stock in this market that no one would consider an alternative?

4 Comments:

Blogger worldmatt said...

I really think it's language. "Luxury" has good connotations, as does "affordable," but there's no phrase in widespread usage that gives "middle-income" an exciting edge.

Here in New York, we've learned to ignore the signs advertising "luxury apartments" -- which adorn all new apartment buildings! Why would anyone not want to live in a luxury apartment (even if it's quickly, cheaply put together and badly designed)?

It's just like the "gourmet delis," none of which are for gourmets.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Generalissimo said...

1. Gourmet burgers & gourmet fries? They taste really good but on the ride home one thinks: I paid too much for a damned burger.

2. Middle-income is code for family. Families want yards for their kids. As such, I don't foresee high rises in their future; however, I do see a lot of High Life - Miller it tastes as good as its name.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Leif Pettersen said...

I'm shopping for a condo in DT Mpls right now (one bedroom, near LRT, on the decidedly cheap side of the spectrum, if anyone has any leads) and it only took 10 minutes of work to realize that my options are limited to about three different condo buildings in all. One of which was so outmoded, depressing and entangled in years long, association fee inflating expensive refurbishment (including replacing elevators – we waited 10 minutes for an elevator at 11am on a Wednesday morning) that I had to rule out the whole complex.

The ambitious prices of the new condos (Mill District immediately comes to mind) are so outrageous I don't know whether to laugh or cry (or slam them in my blog). I'm the furthest thing from a real estate expert, but a 650 square foot condo starting at 350k? Are you &%$#ing *%#*ing me?? At the end of the day, amenities aside, you're selling a box amongst a pile of other boxes. Get over yourselves. I say we all agree to let these guys sweat their empty luxury condos for three more years then start offering 1/3 the price. Except I need a pad this spring. Little help?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Ferocious J said...

You've hit me right where I (DON'T) live. We're a family of 4, with 2 elementary school kids, and we'd love to find a condo because (a) we're urban folk, (b) my wife is from NYC and is accustomed to condo/apt style living, and (c) I hate home repair, which I completely suck at.

We would love to find a condo that fits us, but here's what it's gotta have: it's gotta be in the Mpls school district (preferably downtown), it has to have at least 2 and preferably 3 bedrooms, it ideally would have more than 1 bath, and its gotta cost less than $350K. I would've thought there would be lots of those, but there are almost none. Anything that has more than 2 bedrooms is marketed as "luxe" and is $500K+, or is in the 'burbs.

Are we the only family that wants to live a middle-class, urban lifestyle?

12:16 PM  

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