MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sales of vacation homes appear to be on the rise across much of Minnesota, driven by buyers who think land prices have bottomed out and are ready to rebound.
The largest increase was in the Arrowhead region, which includes the North Shore of Lake Superior and hundreds of secluded inland lakes. Sales there rose 8 percent during the first three months of the year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/Tj9FDd ).
Several buyers said they felt prices had hit rock-bottom and were going to start increasing.
Jason Martin, a farmer from west-central Minnesota, bought a lot on Lake Mary. He refinanced the mortgage on his house and paid cash for the lot, where he and his family go swimming or sit by a campfire.
"You have to take advantage of these low prices and low rates," he said. "It's by far a better place to park your money than in a bank."
Real estate agents across the state say they were especially busy in the first quarter, and that some listings that have been on the market for years are finally starting to move.
"This spring we have had a lot more sales and a lot more interest from buyers," said Dave Gooden of Lakeplace.com, an online vacation-home brokerage.
Mark Wessels, a real estate agent in Crosslake, said more buyers seem to be splurging on luxurious properties. On the Whitefish Chain of Lakes near Brainerd, for example, the hottest properties include homes priced at or above $400,000.
"A lot of people have been sitting on the sidelines and all of a sudden have jumped into the market, so they're eager," he said.
Popular locations include properties on well-known lakes that are within two hours of the Twin Cities. Sales in the state's north-central region were up 2.1 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Minnesota Association of Realtors.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com