Map of the Day: Metro Housing Price Changes over Time

Via the Washington Post, here’s a fun map of Minneapolis showing the percentage change in average home prices in Minneapolis (and other cities too). The map supports the basic “return to the city” argument, about how more people are moving into the urban core.

Here’s the 15-year trend:

mpls new home prices map


The article looks at a few different cities and picks Minneapolis as one its exemplars. Here’s the key point, citing a famous urban economist:

“This is really new confirmation about the shift in demand for the urban core of America away from the urban periphery,” says Harvard economist Ed Glaeser. “The thing about the resurgence of central cities is not that suburbia is dead – as much as people love that story line, it’s not true. What is true is if you look at places like New York in 1970, demand for those cites was quite low, and it’s radically different today.”

A recent Washington Post analysis of home price data since 2004 found a similar pattern particularly in the Washington area: Suburbs far from the center of the city fared relatively poorly over the course of the bubble, bust and recovery, as home prices in close-in neighborhoods boomed. The FHFA data, extending further back in time, shows a similar picture in Minneapolis and Portland, Chicago and Denver, Atlanta and Philadelphia. The same is true in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville. Even in Sunbelt cities such as Phoenix and Houston. (The FHFA has an interactive map here.)


Via Cushman-Wakefield, some Hip-O-Meter Measurements.

To me, a 15-year data set is pretty significant, so I find this map pretty convincing. I’d only add the caveat that, back in 1990, downtown didn’t have many housing units period. Or if there was housing down there, it was often subsidized.

For example, the townhomes along the North Loop waterfront date back to the mid-90s (if I recall correctly from my Judith Martin lectures). That’s a far cry from today, where the area is one of the “15 hottest” in the US, according to real estate developers.

(Also, check out where the declines are located: first-ring second-ring suburbs in the North Metro. That should be the subject of another post or two!)

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.