Residents resisting itch to leave city despite summer’s unrest
The drone of helicopters fills the humid June air. Flames flare up as buildings are burnt to a crisp. Masses of people run rampant through the destroyed streets of Minneapolis, hammering through glass storefronts and graffitiing every wall in sight.
Households across the globe witnessed these events, but the civil unrest and rise in crime following the murder of George Floyd last May have had differing effects on Minneapolis residents’ thoughts regarding their real estate. All this despite Minneapolis remaining a very strong seller’s market. Some residents received an up-close view of the chaos caused in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and in some cases, it proved a major factor in their departure from city life.
“Living close to Hiawatha Avenue we hear a lot of the sirens all night and all day long,” said sophomore Colin Herkenhoff who’s family is moving out of Minneapolis and currently looking at houses in Chanhassen.
However, while some people have thought similarly to the Herkenhoffs and left the city after last summer’s chaos, the overall trend of Minneapolis being a seller’s market has continued in an overwhelming fashion.
According to the Star Tribune, “At the end of March there were just shy of 5,000 houses for sale across the metro, about half as many as last year and the lowest figure in nearly two decades, according to a monthly sales report from the Minneapolis Area Realtors.”
This shows that despite violent crimes in Minneapolis increasing by 21% in 2020, and a particular crowd of residents set on leaving the city, houses continue to sell rapidly. This begs the question, what are the reasons that people are moving into the city?
Bruce Hendrickson, a former Minnehaha teacher who now works as a real estate agent for Edina Realty, has witnessed the continued trend of city living being seen as appealing and desirable.
“People think that folks are moving out because of what happened on Lake Street. It’s the total opposite of that. I would say that people are dying to get in,” said Hendrickson.
The majority of Hendrickson’s dealings are in residential single-family neighborhoods such as Longfellow, Nokomis, Macalester- Groveland, and Highland, which he describes as “really sought after locations.”
“I think part of the demand to live in town is the convenience, the hospitals, the University of Minnesota, the public transportation if you want to rely on the bus or light rail transit. We definitely have seen the demand go through the roof.”
Eric Dahl, an ER doctor in Hudson, Wisconsin has witnessed the hectic nature of the Minneapolis real estate market firsthand. Dahl and his family lived in Hudson, but the pandemic and last summer’s unrest caused them to look for residences in the Longfellow neighborhood.
“In particular we want a community that is diverse in thought, background, and experience that we didn’t find in Hudson. Over the pandemic, and social unrest of George Floyd’s murder, we found the attempts at important community conversations either boycotted or protested. The lack of open communication from opposing viewpoints wasn’t an environment we wanted to raise our family in. We didn’t see room for progress if even conversation couldn’t begin.”
Dahl also expressed the desire for a more manageable home and access to healthier, more environmentally friendly transportation.
“We were driving to get to most places and missed walking or biking for transportation. We also wanted to live in a smaller, more manageable home that required fewer projects to free up family and travel time.”
Still, despite Dahl’s determination to move into Minneapolis, the bizarre state of the housing market, where bidding wars consistently send homes flying over their sticker prices, kept him from finding the right house. Dahl eventually bought a lot in the Longfellow neighborhood and plans to start construction this summer.
However, Minneapolis is a rare exception compared to cities around the nation that are experiencing a fleeing population during the pandemic.
According to the New York Times, “Among the 110 metros with at least half a million people in 2019, 29 lost people in 2020.”
Other data in the article shows that “the 10 with the steepest losses included the nation’s three largest metros – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – and all 10 lost more domestic movers than they gained.”
However, while the continued trend of Americans moving out of metropolitan areas remains, cities like Austin, Texas, and Boise, Idaho experienced significant growth in 2020.
Considering these statistics, Minneapolis is an interesting case, due to the fact that people are itching to get into the city, despite the overwhelming rise in crime following last summer’s unrest. With sky-rocketing prices and a constant wave of buyers, the MPLS train shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.