January 19 Minnesota KTOE Newscast

Published On: January 19th, 20242.2 min readCategories: Local News, News

Industry group says prospects improving for homebuyers in MN

The average long-term mortgage rate in the U-S has dropped to its lowest level since May — good news for buyers in a market that’s been plagued with an undersupply of homes for sale. president Geri Theis, president of industry group Minnesota Realtors says:

“We definitely saw a lot less sellers wanting to put their house on that market, in that fear that they wouldn’t be able to find another house.”

…because of interest rates higher than on their current mortgage. But Theis says new listings in December increased for the third month in a row which, coupled with lower interest rates, is bringing more buyers into the market. And she says it’s still a great time to sell:

“We still have an undersupply of housing, which keeps the home prices up.”

Theis says they’re hoping for a better year than 2023, which had the lowest level of closed sales in more than a decade.

St. Cloud Working to Create City’s Own Green Hydrogen, 1st in the World

St. Cloud continues to work toward being the first city in the world to create its own green hydrogen. The city received a state grant in June 2022 of nearly $1.1 million to test the idea and is currently in final negotiations for another $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Public Service Director Tracy Hodel says the project will use solar and biofuel generated to produce a carbon-free fuel source, basically turning a small amount of water into gases.

“For example, put it into perspective, what it takes to fill someone’s hot tub – about 400 gallons of water – can produce enough electricity to power an average household for an entire year.”

Hodel says Metro Bus and New Flyer would be potential users of the green hydrogen gas produced at the facility. She says other potential uses include using it on-site to feed the boilers, or selling the energy to Xcel Energy as a heating source.

Minnesota Gains Jobs

Minnesota employers added 800 jobs in December. DEED’s Labor Market Information Director Angelina Nguyen (new-en) says this is a smaller gain compared to previous months and is primarily due to 1,700 local government jobs being lost:

“It could be because we had a much warmer December. Like all the activities that the local government is responsible for in terms of snow removal, plow trucks clearing roads, and de-icing”

Minnesota’s unemployment rate ticked down two-tenths of a percentage point to 2.9%, this compares to the national jobless rate of 3.7%. Nguyen says this is the sixth straight month of job growth in the state.

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