While other industries flounder, real estate takes off during pandemic

Something strange is happening in the Minnesota housing market, and, not surprisingly, the pandemic is the reason.

More people in the Twin Cities metro area are seeking houses away from the urban core, where they can have more space, and access to amenities, as our stay-at-home lifestyle drags on.

On top of that, lots of first-time buyers are out searching for houses — and not finding many. Sellers are getting multiple offers, often over the asking price.

At 11 a.m. Monday, host Angela Davis is joined by two industry experts who can explain what it’s like to buy a home right now, especially as prices soar and middle- and low-income people are further shut out of Minnesota’s housing market.

And as she does every Monday, she will check in with MPR News senior economics contributor Chris Farrell on the state and national economy.

We want to hear from you, too. Have you looked for a house during the pandemic? What has been your experience? Call 651-227-6000 during the 11 a.m. hour or tweet @AngelaDavisMPR to join the conversation.


Read More

Evanston Real Estate Market Heats Up Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

EVANSTON, IL — More Evanston homes were sold in 2020 than any year in over a decade, with two residential sales exceeding last year’s top most expensive sale.

Sales of Evanston condos, townhomes and single-family residences have been so hot the median sales price surpassed the median listing price for the final five months of the year.

By December 2020, the median closing price reached $450,000, according to Realtor.com listing data, more than 23 percent above the price tag of the median listing.

Properties in Evanston have also been selling faster since the start of the pandemic, with the median days spent on the market declined from a 2020 peak of 111 days on the market in February to just 62 days on the market in December.

According to the North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors, more units were sold in Evanston in 2020 than in any year since 2004.

A total of 573 residential units in Evanston changed hands last year, up from 311 the prior year and twice the number sold in 2018. The mean average of sales prices in the city rose by more than $100,000 to $666,709, the highest level since 2007.

Realtors say buyers have been

Read More

Cedar Rapids area restaurants rely on loyal customers, new ideas to survive pandemic

By Dorothy de Souza Guedes, correspondent

Jennifer Goodlove’s business got a boost from an unexpected source during the pandemic — gnomes.

“The gnomes and takeout are what saved me last year and this year,” Goodlove said. “We’re talking thousands of gnomes.”

She stocks decorative gnomes for every season and occasion at Farmer’s Daughter’s Market, a restaurant, market and gift shop at 495 Miller Rd., Hiawatha.

“We have a lot of repeat customers. What we saw this year, last year was people picking and choosing who they want to support,” Goodlove said. “They go out of their way.”

2020 was challenging for restaurants and bars that had to start thinking outside the box once the pandemic hit and restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were put in place.

For Goodlove, new ideas increased sales, but not everyone was as lucky. January was a record-breaking month for the Farmer’s Daughter’s Market, the best in 13 years — and up 23 percent over 2020.

Goodlove, who spent years in human resources before returning to Iowa from Chicago, thinks that because she had no preconceived notions about what’s not possible, she’s been more willing to try new ideas.


Read More

Realogy Exec: 3 Ways the Pandemic Changed Real Estate for Good

Realogy expansion brands released a new 27-page oral history of the pandemic and how it has altered the industry.

From the early days of the pandemic and through the housing market explosion, the real estate industry has been moving fast, leaving little time for reflection.

Sherry Chris | Photo credit: BHGRE

But a new undertaking from Realogy’s expansion brands portfolio — which encompasses ERA Real Estate and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate — attempted to catalog what’s taken place over the past year and the lessons learned.

“We really wanted to capture what had taken place over the past several months in the hopes that — and this is exactly what happened — some best practices would emerge that we would be able to share within the Realogy expansion brands, and with the industry as a whole,” Sherry Chris, the CEO of Realogy expansion brands, told Inman.

Chris and the team at Realogy decided who better to tell the story than those who lived it? The result is a 27-page oral history, with interviews and insight from more than a dozen broker-owners under the Realogy flag, titled, Real Estate in the Time of COVID.

Chris, in compiling the

Read More

Demand grows for inner-city gardening plots as Covid-19 pandemic ravages U.K.

It may be a small plot in Osterley, west London, but it has provided Karen Peck’s kitchen with row upon row of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fava beans and garlic.

But Peck, 60, gets far more out of her allotment than just fresh food.

“It’s so tranquil. I have a favorite robin who comes to visit, then the blackbird turns up, and there are wrens in the corner,” Peck said in a telephone interview late last year. “You appreciate the birdsong and the tiny little brown mice, hedgehogs, urban foxes.”

Karen Peck on her allotment in west London.

The connection with nature had been especially nice during the coronavirus pandemic, she said.

Allotments — small pockets of urban land sectioned off for city residents to grow fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers — were once common in British cities, particularly at the height of World War II.

As German U-boats laid waste to supply ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Britons were urged to grow their own food, and the “Dig for Victory” campaign was embraced with vigor.

By 1945, well over a 1 million allotments were supplementing peoples’ meager wartime rations.

That changed in the decades that followed, when the urgent need

Read More

Pandemic dims growth picture for interior design sector – Economy, Law & Politics

Two years of employment gains in Metro Vancouver’s interior design industry have been wiped out undercut by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, average employment fell below 2018 levels and by 12.7{ac967ad544075fb2f6bcea1234f8d91da186cac15e616dc329e302b7c7326b8c} to 16.15 employees from 18.5 in 2020, according to data collected for Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Interior Design Firms in Metro Vancouver list (biv.com/lists).

The median employment of the companies on the list sank an even greater 18.8{ac967ad544075fb2f6bcea1234f8d91da186cac15e616dc329e302b7c7326b8c} to 13 employees in 2021 from 16 in 2020. This suggests that smaller companies lower on the list suffered greater employment declines than larger companies, higher on the list.

Over the past five years, the growth in median employment for the companies listed has lagged behind average growth. This suggests that smaller companies lower on the list had weaker employment growth before the pandemic to buffer against an even greater post-pandemic decline.

Three of the top five largest interior design firms experienced no employment loss in 2021: No. 1 SmartDesign Group, No. 2 Kasian and No. 4 CHIL Interior Design.

There was no employment change in 2021 compared with 2020 for 11 companies on the list.



Only two companies posted employment growth in 2021.

No. 6 Bob’s Your Uncle Design Ltd.

Read More

Boston-area restaurants are offering subscriptions to keep their kitchens busy during the pandemic

Restaurants have been trying everything they can think of to stay afloat throughout the pandemic. One of the latest ideas arrives fresh from the farm.

a close up of food on a table: The contents of a vegetarian subscription box at Oleana in Cambridge.

© Lane Turner/Globe Staff
The contents of a vegetarian subscription box at Oleana in Cambridge.

Chef Ana Sortun, of Oleana, Sofra, and Sarma, believes so deeply in serving local, seasonal produce that she fell in love with the farmer growing her vegetables. Her husband, Chris Kurth, owns Sudbury’s Siena Farms, named for their daughter. The farm is known for glorious sunflowers, a vibrant presence at local farmers’ markets, and CSA shares stocked with high-quality produce.

Project Takeout | Devra First: Get takeout. It’s your civic duty

CSA stands for “community supported agriculture,” and if you haven’t yet participated in a program, you’ve probably heard of the concept. Consumers invest in a local farm, purchasing a share of the season’s harvest. The benefits are many: The customer receives regular boxes of just-harvested local produce, the farmer gets paid upfront, and both participate in a relationship that connects the parties to the land and one another, enriching the transactions of buying and selling food.

The pandemic has been a boom time for community supported agriculture,

Read More

Pandemic Amplifies Desire for Cleaning, Drying, and Convenience in the Kitchen, Study Finds

  • A new Bosch and Reckitt Benckiser dishwasher study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic found increased demand for cleaning, drying, capacity and convenience
  • The study also found that a thoroughly clean home is now expected, especially in the kitchen, with consumers cleaning more and 65{ac967ad544075fb2f6bcea1234f8d91da186cac15e616dc329e302b7c7326b8c} taking extra steps to ensure a hygienic clean
  • Bosch meets demand with award-winning Bosch dishwasher portfolio as well as new ADA compliant models and offers four tips for efficient dishwasher use

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bosch home appliances, the award-winning market leader in dishwashers for over a decade, today announced the expansion of its dishwasher portfolio alongside new research in partnership with Reckitt Benckiser conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amplified by more cooking, experimenting and time in the kitchen, followed by months of rigorous dishwasher use, the study found increased demand for cleaning, drying, capacity and convenience in this category as Americans seek a deeper, more hygienic clean throughout the home and kitchen.

Always keeping consumer needs at the heart of its innovations, the 2021 Bosch dishwasher line aims to revitalize consumer confidence in the kitchen and simplify cleanup with its innovative drying technologies, intuitive connected solutions and quality performance features

Read More

Private And Public Measures To Combat Pandemic Risk In Commercial Real Estate

Polk Properties offers over 30 yrs of Real Estate Vision and Expertise you can trust and depend on. We focus on long-range portfolio value. 

As we ponder the fate of business enterprises going forward, I believe in order to relieve the public’s concerns, ensuring the safety of properties is paramount. It is possible that as businesses open and optimism builds, another outbreak could create a similar experience to what we’ve seen with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Among my functions in real estate is to procure tenants for real property. This is always a challenge. You have to present a lease transaction that has a great likelihood of success for the duration of the lease term.

We have all quickly adapted to changing social norms, and we have an abundance of clean hands to show for it. So if a pandemic should happen again, we might not be caught so unawares next time. In the meantime, we are in unknown territory now that tenants are navigating new and ongoing safety protocols with some confusion as to where the authority for these protocols lies. It is a combination of authority on local, state and federal levels. What often develops out of confusion

Read More

Pandemic Pivot: Vending and catering company launches ghost kitchen

Torpedoes Sub Shop is slated to be the latest of several restaurant concepts Trolley Eats will offer when the sub shop goes live in mid-January. The ghost kitchen, which launched in December, plans to add more concepts to its lineup in the future. (Images courtesy of Trolley Eats)

As all three wings of its business have been getting shellacked by the coronavirus pandemic, a local vending company is looking to the ghost kitchen concept to ride out the storm.

Trolley House Refreshments, which provides breakroom and vending refreshments for workplaces, launched Trolley Eats in mid-December. Trolley Eats operates a handful of restaurant concepts without a physical dining space, a relatively new culinary concept known as a ghost kitchen. The model relies strictly on delivery service, and it has become increasingly popular in the Richmond area in recent months.

Trolley House owners Scott Halloran and Michael Calkins hit on the ghost kitchen idea to create a new revenue stream tailor-made for times that are less friendly to their other ventures. Trolley House also owns and operates catering company Groovin’ Gourmets and Parterre Restaurant at The Linden Row Inn downtown.

“We’re kind of in the bull’s eye of COVID across

Read More