A needle in the haystack: Floundering to find affordable family homes in Jordan

It took Liz Momyer about a year to find a three-bedroom house for less than $250,000 when she moved to Jordan from Shakopee with her two children.

In that year, Momyer found just three homes in her budget.

“With the ones we did find, like two of them were off the market in like three days, so you had to go look at the house and literally even if you hated it, put in a offer just in case you didn’t find anything else,” she said.

In 2005, 1,100 homes were for sale in Scott County, compared to 600 homes today, making it very difficult for home buyers when demand is high, but supply is low.

In 2009, Scott County homes would stay on the market for about 160 days on average, but that has dropped to less than 60 days, Scott County Assessor Michael Thompson said.

The median Jordan home price was $218,200 in 2007 and $222,400 this year, so prices are climbing to pre-Great Recession prices.


Family sits on the couch

Left to right, Liz Momyer, her daughter Olivia Hanson and husband Brady Christian found a home in Jordan after looking for over a year.

In April, the city approved new developments Bridle Creek and Stonebridge to add over 100 homes. However, those homes will cost $280,000 and up.

“We needed a three-bedroom, like most starter families would need, and minus the fact that Bridle Creek and Stonebridge and all of those were $280,000 and above and that was kind of a ridiculous budget for us,” Momyer said.

What’s with the high prices?

Edina Realty real estate agent Yvonne Perkins advises new home buyers to prepare for multiple offers on homes and realize they’ll go fast.

Minneapolis is the fourth worst city for millennial home buyers, according to Realtor.com. And that tough market ripples out to suburbs, and even outlying towns like Jordan.

For the past 25 years, nationwide, average home prices for new homes were 15 percent above prices for existing homes. But since the recession, prices for new homes have increased, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

In Scott County, homes prices increased on average by 7.1 percent this past year.

Building costs are more expensive and fewer construction workers are available, specifically skilled trade contractors like carpenters, electricians, plumbers and bricklayers. When the recession hit, thousands of constructions workers left the industry and since the housing market recovered, older workers are retiring with fewer young people to replace them, according to the Fed.

On top of that, there is a high demand in general for homes and less supply, so buyers have to bid high to get a home.


Home in Jordan

Liz Momyer’s home in Jordan. Home prices in Jordan could be higher than pre-recession prices by next year.

“What we do know based on the general principle of supply and demand, if there’s not enough of something it increases the prices,” the assessor, Thompson, said.

And since building costs are high, builders have more of an incentive to build larger homes with more amenities.

Turnover is rare in Jordan — when people move to the city, they tend to stay, Momyer said.

“At the same point it’s like ‘Oh my gosh could someone just pass away already so I can buy your house?,’” Momyer said. “It’s a horrible thought to have, but it speaks well to the community.”

On the verge

Jordan Mayor Tanya Velishek wants to change the conversation with developers. Instead of developers coming in and telling the city what it plans to build, she wants city officials to tell developers what the city needs — such as affordable starter homes — and have developers come in and build them.

Velishek said the city won’t turn down developers because Jordan wants development, but it needs to focus on what type of housing it needs.

Momyer was frustrated that many family homes were not affordable during her search.

“I was like ‘Are you looking for a very specific type of family to move into Jordan because you know there’s just not a lot of housing that is, quote, affordable’,” Momyer said.

The Jordan City Council has discussed building smaller homes on smaller lots to make homes more affordable in Bridle Creek and Stonebridge.

City Administrator Tom Nikunen said Jordan is looking for a developer to build affordable starter homes.

“We need a developer that’s interested in building that type of home,” Nikunen said. “These other developments — Stonebridge and Bridle Creek — those are planned out with these larger houses and they’re not going to build a $200,000 house in those developments.”

In September, the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency plans to discuss future housing plans, and Velishek expects them to talk about grants for incoming residents.

Momyer did find a split-level home between the cemetery and Jordan Middle School for $242,000. Momyer moved in in September.


Skeeter and Olivia play

Olivia Hanson plays with the family dog, Skeeter.

“We want to be in a smaller town and this is what happens when you come to a smaller town,” Momyer said. “I don’t want it to be Shakopee so I’m kind of grateful that there wasn’t a lot, but I was just like jeez Louise do we have to like win the lottery to live in Jordan?”

This article originally appeared here via Google News