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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Global Warming & the (MN) Housing Market

Minnesota: Global Warming Winner

As Minnesotans enjoy a record-warm early November, one can at least daydream about what shorter, milder winters might mean for the local housing market (local farmers can already attest to the delayed frosts and earlier thaws -- this year's first hard freeze in the Twin Cities was late October!).

Here are three foreseeable, long-term consequences:

One. Busier January's, and less seasonality generally.

Traditionally, the Spring market -- liberally defined as February - May locally -- is by far the most active time for the Twin Cities housing market.

Some of that is due to the dominance -- or at least preponderance -- of family home buyers, who like to buy in Spring, then close in Summer with enough time left over to be ready for Labor Day and the beginning of school.

However, at least some of Spring's pop is due to demand pent up by the preceding frigid weather.

Two. Higher population growth due to in-migration.

If Minnesota ever loses its reputation for bone-chilling winters, people fleeing so-called "sand states" (FL, CA, AZ) may start considering it.

Three. Fewer Minnesota "snowbirds."

The flip side of higher immigration is less emigration -- specifically, older, more affluent Minnesotans who now spend part of the year in warmer climates (and tend to move away permanently as they age).

Who wants to bake in Florida or Arizona heat when Minnesota is increasingly temperate?

P.S.: with a mean elevation of 1,200 feet, and more than 1,000 miles from the closest ocean, Minnesota isn't exactly threatened by rising sea levels.

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