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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Census: 15,000 vacant housing units in Minneapolis

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Anonymous Finance and Commerce said...

Posted: 5:15 pm Tue, March 22, 2011
By Burl Gilyard


City posts zero population growth in 10 years

During the last decade, developers added many new condo and apartment buildings in the city of Minneapolis, particularly during the condo boom. The general perception has been that people are moving back into Minnesota’s largest city.

But the new official numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau tell a different story.

According to the numbers, the population of Minneapolis is unchanged in the last 10 years. The numbers show a drop of 169 people since the 2000 census. Statistically, that represents a zero percent change in the city’s population.

Meanwhile, the city has added 9,681 units of new housing since 2000, according to the census figures. At the same time, Minneapolis has about 8,500 more vacant housing units today than it did 10 years ago, a number that essentially cancels out the addition of new units.

“By the year 2010, our vacancy rate in the city of Minneapolis had doubled from 2000 levels,” said Mike Christenson, director of the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department. “A big part of that is the foreclosure crisis.”

The vacancy numbers are eye-opening and underscore that the city is still grappling with the hangover of the foreclosure crisis. Census figures report a total of 14,747 vacant housing units in the city. With approximately 178,000 housing units citywide, that translates to a vacancy rate of 8.3 percent among all types of housing. The vacancy rate in 2000 was 3.7 percent.

The issue is a sensitive one at Minneapolis City Hall. Mayor R.T. Rybak routinely touts growth as a key goal for the city. A spokesman for the mayor’s office said that Rybak had not been briefed on the census numbers, and that he was traveling and unavailable for comment for this story.

City representatives are cautious about saying too much about the census numbers yet, noting that they have yet to see detailed block-by-block statistics from the Census Bureau.

A recent study from Minneapolis-based Marquette Advisors showed the vacancy rate for market-rate apartment units in Minneapolis at a relatively low 3.5 percent. Marquette reported 471 vacant apartments in Minneapolis at the end of December.

A mini-building boom is under way for new rental projects in Minneapolis. A January story in Finance & Commerce tallied nearly 1,700 apartments either under construction or proposed in Minneapolis - a number that did not count more than 700 units of housing being considered for the Bennett Lumber site in south Minneapolis. Christenson said that in the current market, many people would prefer to rent than to own, driving a demand for apartments while some houses and condos sit empty.

“You have this growth in what are called urban lifestyle apartments,” Christenson said.

The census numbers reflect the current economic uncertainty, he said. “It’s a little different than anything we’ve seen in the city in the past.”

But he is not expecting the city to dispute the latest numbers.

“The census participation rate was excellent. My guess is we won’t be challenging the census,” Christenson said.

In 2000, the official census count for Minneapolis was 382,618 people. But the city challenged those results, and the population inched upward to 382,747 people. The new numbers tally 382,578 people, which would be a drop of 169 people from the revised 2000 total.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous story continued said...

The latest numbers were released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The overall population of Minnesota grew 7.8 percent, to 5.3 million people. Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, grew by 3.2 percent. St. Paul’s population declined less than 1 percent, to nearly 285,000.

The state demographer, Tom Gillaspy, said that core cities like Minneapolis are affected by declines in the average household size.

“What has largely happened is that the average household size has also been declining and that’s been a critical part of all this,” Gillaspy said.

And, he said, sometimes the numbers can be slightly deceptive. For example, Rochester posted a growth rate of more than 20 percent. While Rochester has seen true growth, he said, some of the growth has been driven by annexation of surrounding towns - something that Minneapolis cannot do.

“Rochester has done a lot of annexation,” Gillaspy said.

The Metropolitan Council, a regional planning agency, does extensive work on population estimates and planning. Slightly more than half of the state’s population lives in the seven-county metro area overseen by the Met Council. The new census numbers show that population grew 8 percent in the seven counties in the last 10 years, adding more than 207,000 people in the metro area.

Libby Starling, research manager for the Metropolitan Council, also said that smaller households are a factor for Minneapolis.

“A lot of the housing that they’ve been adding is multifamily condominiums, the type of housing that’s more attractive to smaller households,” she said. “They simply don’t have the space to be adding five-bedroom, single-family detached homes.”

Jim Stanton of Coon Rapids-based Shamrock Development has been a prolific developer of downtown Minneapolis condos. Shamrock has done seven projects since the last census. But Stanton says that many condo residents do not have children living with them in their units.

“There’s very few small kids,” Stanton said.

But the flat growth in Minneapolis is actually much better compared with other large Midwestern cities. The population of Detroit dropped 25 percent over the last decade, losing more than 237,000 people since 2000.

Census figures show that Chicago’s population dropped 6.9 percent, or 200,000 residents, in the last decade. The city still has a population of 2.7 million people. Milwaukee posted a drop of 0.4 percent in the census, losing about 2,100 residents. Milwaukee’s current population is about 595,000.

Census figures released last week also showed that 18 percent of the homes in Florida - approximately 1.6 million housing units - are vacant. Florida was one of the areas in the country with the most aggressive building during the condo boom. Later, it was among the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

Looking back at the national housing boom during the middle part of the last decade, observers now say that the number of homes being built was outpacing population growth.

“We were building 2 million new homes for 1.6 million new households [annually in the nation]. It’s going to be several years before we work through the backlog,” said John McIlwain, senior resident fellow with the Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute.

McIlwain said that raw population figures do not always reflect the changes that core cities may be seeing from neighborhood to neighborhood. He said that housing in downtown areas may be expanding at the same time that population is dropping in other areas of a city.

“Even in Chicago, where they’ve lost population, there are parts of Chicago that are doing quite well and have been growing,” McIlwain said. “There are submarkets and those submarkets are performing very differently.”

Counting down

382,618

Original 2000 census population for Minneapolis

382,747

Revised 2000 census figure

382,578

2010 census figure

Source: U.S Census Bureau

For more info:

U.S. Census Bureau

Metropolitan Council

Minnesota State Demographic Center

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just who gives a shit about any of these urban areas. They're all just a magnet for crime and full of gvoernment corruption.

11:05 PM  

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