Renting or buying, local housing remains tight

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If you think the local housing market is no longer as tight as it has been, the experts say that would be an incorrect assessment.

Realtors and residents we’ve been talking to say Duluth and the greater twin ports area are still in an environment of runaway pricing in both apartment rentals and home prices.

Real estate sales executive, Kevin Kalligher walked us through a local home that’s currently for sale. “So, this a ranch rambler style home, three bedrooms, one bathroom, two-car detached garage.”

Kalligher said if a home is priced right, is in good condition and in a good location, it will likely sell within two to five days. He added that if homes fall into what he calls the market sweet spot, they move very quickly.

“Anything in that $200,000 to $300,000 price range, two or three bed, one bath, two car garage for example, this is a type of house that a lot of people go after.”

Demand remains high and Kallgher says with too few homes on the market, local home prices are still rising.

“I found last year the average sales price was $274,000. This year we’re at $302,000” he said.

One of the many people fighting the housing battle in Duluth, is Chloe Tirebuck. She’s lived most of her life in Duluth, only moving to the Twin Cities for a couple of years. But she said she loves Duluth, and moved back. She rented apartments for years and says the cost of renting in Duluth has simply gotten out of hand.

“I’ve been renting since I was 18 years old”, Chloe said. “Rent prices have slowly crept up and this year my rent was raised by 43%. The landlord raised it to $2,000 a month for my two bedroom rental, which is why I’m looking at buying now, if I’m going to spend that much per month.”

But trying to buy a home in the Twin Ports area has been an entirely new challenge for Chloe.

“It’s been very nerve wracking and stressful, because you’re almost like fighting people,” she said. “You’re fighting to get a showing, you are fighting to get an offer in, you’re having to waive a lot of things like no home inspection, it is very disheartening.”

She described her home buying experience as an emotional roller-coaster. “You would walk into a house, you would love it and be like, this is for me. Then you’d find out that 12 other people had offers on it, three of them were cash and, how can a person that doesn’t have $170,000 cash beat that? It kind of broke my heart a lot of times.”

Chloe said she knows other young professionals who want to stay in Duluth but just can’t afford the housing here.

“Duluth is a beautiful city” she said with a smile. “We have such good people and stuff going on here all the time. I hope others don’t give up. I had to take a day here and there to just be mad. When my offers were denied I was mad for a day, but then I would wake up the next morning and tell myself, okay Chloe, it’s a new day, with new things.”

And that new day finally arrived for Chloe, just last week.

“It worked out, yes! On our fourth offer we did get accepted and we weren’t even the highest offer, which was great, they just really liked our terms, so that worked out for us.”

So if you are navigating this tight housing market, the advice from both Chloe and Kevin Kalligher is, keep trying.

“It’s not an uncommon thing right now to lose out on a 1 to 3 properties,” Kalligher said. “But if you’re determined and the will is there, you will find a home, don’t give up.”