The pace of home construction is surging in the Twin Cities area amid Minneapolis pre foreclosures, based on reports from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

The number of new house construction permits issued by Twin Cities housing officials soared by 65 percent from February 2009 to 177 in February 2010, the sixth straight month that the number of residential building permits was higher in number year-over-year.

Gary Aulik, president of the home building association, said that the residential permits issued in February 2009 marked the lowest level for home builders in recent years. He said that the surge in permits for single-family houses started in the summer of 2009. The highest increases in the Twin Cities region occurred in Lakeville, Farmington, Maple Grove and Shakopee.

Based on MAAR data, the percentage of sales of Minneapolis foreclosures dropped in February, pushing the median price for homes to climb up to $159,000, a six-percent increase on a year-over-year basis. The pace of land foreclosures also slowed, enabling the Twin Cities housing market to be dominated by non-distressed properties.

In 2009, the increase in pace of Minneapolis pre foreclosures and in the flow of properties into homes auctions in Minneapolis was more than double the nationwide pace, but the rate was almost the same as the national rate.

More than 29,000 foreclosures were posted in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul-Bloomington area in 2009, marking a 58-percent increase from total postings in 2008.

Statewide, in February this year, foreclosure activity rose by 7 percent from January 2010. More than 3,000 houses across Minnesota were sent notices of default and foreclosure, including nearly 1,700 units already repossessed by the lenders.

Another construction project being pursued despite increased foreclosure filings in Minnesota is the 76-unit senior housing project in Edina. The Ebenezer Management Services unit of Fairview Health Services has started construction of the four-story complex, which will feature 47 assisted living apartment units, 15 memory care units and 14 care units. The complex will be connected to Ebenezer’s York community which was built in the 1970s.

The other senior housing project in Edina is the 150-unit project by Waters Senior Living, which set aside $40 million to develop the complex.

The 134-unit and 150-unit senior housing projects by nonprofit housing developer Ecumen are also proofs that housing construction projects in the Twin Cities area are being pursued despite the still high pace of Minneapolis pre foreclosures.

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