This is not just your problem, it is a problem across Duluth, across all income levels, all family sizes and ages!
Duluth has a limited amount of land. And as beautiful as Lake Superior is, it makes for daunting streets and difficult construction. The city has areas at lake level then quickly climbs over 750 feet all the while accommodating homes, streets, schools and a myriad of businesses.
To the north and south, we find wetlands, tributaries, ledge rock, and our neighboring communities. This topography creates a unique city. But the housing difficulties run much deeper than the cliff on which many of the homes are built.
According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in an article by Ed Stych (Jul.22/11) “Duluth has the oldest housing stock in Minnesota and has the 36th oldest in the nation.” He goes on to say, “The typical home in Duluth was built in 1959.”
The 2018 US Census Bureau reports that 59.8% of the homes are owner-occupied, with the median value of $152,300. Older home stock presents Buyers with difficult challenges. Concerns about lack of adequate insulation, lack of energy efficient windows, doors and siding, aging roofs, furnaces, cracking lateral and water lines all become a factor in the affordability of a home.
Rising real estate taxes play an enormous part in the monthly cost of homeownership. While St. Louis County is proposing to be at or below the tax base growth, the City of Duluth as of September 2018, by a vote of the City Council passed a resolution 8-0, setting the maximum levy for 2019. Even though we haven’t seen the final numbers the Duluth News Tribune reported that Duluth residents could see an increase of nearly 6 percent.
The aging housing market, high real estate taxes, construction costs and extreme permitting costs well above other cities of our same size are all factors in the current housing dilemma. The following is a brief look at the housing market for 2018. We will be providing a list of information links for more information in the near future.