Recently the National Association of REALTORS released a public apology for their participation in systemic racism. NAR recognized and apologized for their promotion and practice of racist practices such as steering, redlining and the support of racial covenants. They even went as far to admit their upholding of discriminatory practices in their code of ethics from 1924 to 1974. NAR has not only apologized but in January they unveiled their Fair Housing ACT! Plan linked here. This plan aims to right the wrongs and address ongoing forms of discrimination in Real Estate. What are some issues around race you think should be addressed in housing? If you’d like to learn more the full article is attached here.

Next Thursday ABC Realty will be participating in Give to the Max day! November 19th we will participate in a Quiz Bowl challenge hosted by our longtime collaborator the East Side Freedom Library. All donations will go to them during their Unmapping Saint Paul showdown. There will be two teams, relators vs.. local politicians, who will duke it out to see who knows more about Saint Paul. The event is 100% online and will be held on Facebook live. We encourage you to attend and donate if you can. The East Side Freedom Library has done a lot of great work on the East Side and throughout the metro. If you’d like to learn more follow the link attached here. We look forward to seeing you there!

The census is upon us again and this year Minnesota has a lot on the line. Minnesota saw a huge population decline after the 2008 Market Crash. The decline was so bad that this year we may lose one of our congressional seats. In the last decade however, Minnesota has seen an increase in population. From 2010 to 2019 we have grown by 300,000 people. Even though this isn’t enough to offset the loss of population we experienced in the late 2000’s it is still a good trend! The most fascinating aspect of this growth is where it is coming from. Of the 300,000 new residents 2/3rds of them come from natural population growth. Natural growth meaning births that exceed the amount of deaths in the state. The other third of the population growth comes from recent immigrants from Africa and Asia. Of the three forms of population growth, in state migration is the one we fall behind in. Although 2017 and 2018 provided Minnesota with a positive in state migration, it isn’t enough to offset the losses from earlier in the last decade. When we look at this data we should keep one thing in mind, immigration plays a huge part in Minnesota’s history and present day reality. As our state continues to become more diverse what are some things you think needs to change about our attitudes and culture in Minnesota?

With the big cities becoming more and more expensive we are seeing a trend of younger people moving to some unexpected places. This trend of young migrants shouldn’t be surprising as the cost of living in cities like New York and San Francisco have become frankly unaffordable. You may be asking yourself, where are these young folks moving to? It turns out that many are moving to Minnesota! Cities like Rochester and Minneapolis have seen huge a huge influx of young people looking for opportunities. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Minnesota has reasonably affordable rent, a blooming tech industry, and is often reported as one of the safest states to live in. If you are interested in learning more about this topic please follow this link to our friends at who have a deeper analysis!

In this continuation of our last blog post we will discuss potential solutions to the problem of policing, property, and racial inequality in Minnesota. For a quick recap, we discussed the intersection between Housing and Policing by looking at the history of Policing in the United States. Policing started not as a system to protect the citizenry but rather the property of business owners and later government institutions. If you haven’t already, please read part one of this series as we will be discussing potential solutions for the problems put forth in part one.

How can we as a community prevent something like the murder of George Floyd from occurring again? If you have been following the news surrounding Minneapolis city council’s plan to disband the police department then you know the current sentiments and arguments going forward. While it is important to acknowledge the role of policing in the betterment of Black lives in Minnesota we must also acknowledge the other facets of Black life here.

Here at ABC Realty we recognize the impact home ownership has on nearly all of the facets of life as highlighted by the NAACP. Having stable housing is necessary for future success. It’s known that a large portion of White-American’s wealth can be directly traced to home ownership. This makes sense because owning a home is an asset as opposed to renting a home. According to the NAACP’s report, In 2017 the median household income for White people living in the Twin Cities was $82,371, compared to $39,851 for Black residents. When compared to home ownership we can see a correlation where White Minnesotan’s own homes at 71.6%, which is above the national average, compared to 24% for Black Minnesotans, which is well below the national average for Black-Americans at 41.7%. If we look at rent payments we see they account for at least 30% of annual household income for more than half of Black renters (55%) and 43% of White renters. With the higher proportion of Black renters we can see that much of the wealth of Black Minnesotans is leaving their households.

While those statistics are jarring many of you may be asking yourselves how is home ownership going to stop the police from killing Black people? With stable housing and home ownership Black Minnesotans are provided one, an asset which has the potential to grow. Two, a stable housing not subject to the whims of a landlord. And Three, a stable address which is necessary for both employment, voting, and education. With the vote for dismantling MPD potentially coming to the ballots this November it is more important than ever for Black Minnesotans to have a say in this decision. This coupled with community based policing could very well change the landscape of the Twin Cities forever.

There are many hurdles preventing Black Minnesotans from becoming homeowners, from insensitive credit systems to unfair Unlawful Detainer laws. One immediate and often unrecognized issue showed its face in the reporting of the burning of East Lake Street. For those of you who followed the Burning of East Lake street, you may have seen pundits remark at how the protesters were burning their own neighborhood. Many of these one dimensional arguments neglect to highlight the fact that East Lake street is a neighborhood in the middle of being gentrified. Much like Payne Avenue in St. Paul’s Eastside, East Lake street was a neighborhood left by Minneapolis to fend for itself with little investment from the city up until recently. Within the last decade East Lake street has transformed from a primarily immigrant and lower income neighborhood to one that is seeing an overwhelming influx of high end developers and young professionals. While we advocate that a healthy neighborhood looks like one with a variety of incomes and backgrounds, it is obvious to see that East Lake is not veritable ‘jungle’ but rather a neighborhood with a rapidly changing ‘climate’. With the sudden investment and prioritization of new migrants over old tenants, old East Lake street is seeing many of its residents fleeing gentrification. Instead of affected communities staying in their neighborhoods and having a say in what happens there we see them unable to live there due to rising costs.

Again we come to the question of what can we do to combat this? With the ‘this’ turning into something resembling the mythological hydra as opposed to simple police brutality. The solution, at least the one we practice here at ABC Realty, is to get people into their own homes. Our realtors at ABC Realty reflect our community which is primarily of color and lower income. Between 85%-95% of our buyers are first time home buyers, 90%-98% are people of color, and our average sale price hovers around $240,000 compared to the median sale price of $295,000. By working within our community we are ensuring that the people that live here can make roots here and ensure that they continue to contribute to what makes this community attractive, whilst also holding our elected and appointed officials accountable for ensuring our safety.

That being said, we still acknowledge that home ownership is not the only solution nor is it realistic for everyone. That is why, through our work in East side Housing Justice, we have attempted to tackle housing issues from as many angles as possible through our film series’s to having representatives speak at panels. Having a place to call home is not exclusive to property owners and home ownership is just one facet for addressing housing inequality within the Twin Cities. If you are interested in learning more about other housing issues, follow East Side Housing Justice on Facebook and read this article about Minneapolis’ new zoning laws that allow for more gentrification to take place.

Why here? A question that has rung all over the twin cities in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. With the destruction of East Lake Street in Minneapolis many are asking why. 

In May Minneapolis became something none of us could have foreseen. The murder of George Floyd sparked not only outrage in the metro area but accross the nation and world. With protests and demonstrations still occurring globally the George Floyd protests are potentially the largest public demonstrations in recorded history. A common question floating around the now epicenter of the protests is, “Why here? Why Minnesota?” Minnesota is known as a progressive, welcoming, and safe state synonymous with “Minnesota Nice”. 

According to a report from the NAACP’s Minnesota and the Dakotas chapter, Minnesota is ranked among the worst places for Black people to live. In every facet of life Black-Minnesotans are severely behind, especially in home ownership. 

You may be asking yourself, what does home ownership have to do with the murder of George Floyd? He was killed by police officers, not some deviant group of marauding homeowners. While home ownership is not the catalyst behind this phenomenon it is still very important and is tied with policing in America. 

The first official police department in the United States was founded in Boston in 1838. Before that in the Northern US there were two forms of policing. The watch which usually consisted of citizens who were being punished for affronts to the community, and private security, which merchants and other tradesmen used. In the south the primary form of policing took the form of slave catchers, who’s name is pretty self explanatory. 

Why did we change from loose and decentralized policing institutions to centralized government controlled ones? Dr. Gary Potter has done research on this topic and notes that in the 1830’s the US was shifting from an agrarian society to an urban one. A running theory is that due to the rapid urbanization police forces were needed to quell the upsurge in violence. Dr. Potter refutes this with data that doesn’t support the claim. Rather, the cause for policing comes from the interest to protect capital. Two of the three aforementioned policing entities dealt with the protection of capital and are by no coincidence the ancestors of the United States police force.

Now that we have established that policing in the United States was not formed on the basis of public good but private property, let’s look at the George Floyd case. Mr. Floyd was apprehended because he was accused of violating the property of the US, it’s currency, through forgery. Police protect property, home ownership being an extent of that; Black-Minnesotans don’t own that much property. Minneapolis is the largest city in one of the worst states for Black-Americans to live so it is really no surprise as to why the uprising started here. 

Now that this tragedy has happened how can we address the inequality here? Next week we will discuss solutions to the problems Black-Minnesotans face in our blog post! 

Is now a good time to buy? With the advent of the novel Covid-19 Virus housing like many other industries has been affected.  According to data from Zillow searches have dropped by 40% but prices have stayed the same. What can we infer from the data we are acquiring from this early phase? Even though there has been a drop in the overall amount of buyers, it is still a seller’s market. According to MAR’s weekly market activity report we have seen a 22% decrease in new listings as well as an 8.5% decrease in pending sales. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the health of the market however! Homes are now spending 41 days on market as opposed to the 45 day average of last year. On top of that there has been a 3.3% median sale price increase. All in all the market is still in seller’s favor.

Now, any good statistician will tell you that is foolish to extrapolate data especially with something as fickle as the real estate market. One thing we can do now is look at current conditions and try to paint a vague picture of the future. With talks of a second stimulus check coming out there seems to be hope for a little more stability in the future. However, states are all over the place when it comes to lifting their emergency protections for renters and homeowners. This can spell disaster for both homeowners and renters who may now owe back payments on rent and mortgages. All in all, 2020 has been a wild and unpredictable ride and we will see where the market takes us next.

2019 was a big year for ABC Realty. From the construction and sale of our FRED homes to the launch of our Close the Gap campaign, we have had an eventful year. We’d like to take some time to look back at all that has been achieved. Early in 2019 ABC Realty and DBNHS partnered to construct six scattered site homes. These split entry homes were built all over the East Side keeping affordability in mind. Perhaps the biggest shift we made this year was the launch of our Close the Gap campaign. Our Close the Gap campaign seeks to close the racial housing gap between White-Minnesotans and Minnesotans of Colour. We have partnered with various groups to put on a film series, hold community conversations, and much more. In 2020 we seek to expand our campaign and continue selling affordable houses! Keep an eye out for phase 3 of Village on Rivoli this upcoming summer.

Here at ABC Realty, we love to support our local businesses. Today we want to highlight one of our favorite spots on the East Side: East Side Thai. Neighborhoods are like eco-systems. We need large and small businesses for a neighborhood to thrive. One of our favorite small businesses is this charming Thai food restaurant on Payne Avenue. If you’re looking for a locally owned Thai food restaurant on the East Side, East Side Thai should be your first stop. With heartwarming bowls of Tom Yum soup, sizzling plates of eggplant, and spicy green curry, you won’t find a better place to brighten up your winter day. The neighborhood around East Side Thai is great too! The Payne-Phalen neighborhood is just a few minutes drive from Downtown Saint Paul, Lake Phalen, and many other great spots in the East Metro. We are proud to serve the community on the East Side by helping our community buy the homes they love and sell their homes when they’re ready  for something new!

Hey, community! Last Tuesday we held the East Side’s first Housing Summit in collaboration with our community partners. We’ve been making a lot of good progress getting people excited around fair housing in East Saint Paul. Some of the takeaway themes from the community are that there isn’t enough affordable housing, that wages have not increased in accordance with the rising cost of housing, that elderly East Side residents are stuck in their homes due to the high cost of senior care and that rent control is necessary. What’s your housing story?


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