Home Prices vs. Price Per Square Foot

If all you had to go on was the graph (above) showing median home sale prices, it would be easy to field the question, “Which suburb is more expensive, Minnetonka or St. Louis Park?”

Answer:  Minnetonka, where the median sales price of $340k (as of September 2018) easily eclipsed St. Louis Park’s $283,300 (note: Minnetonka is the blue line, St. Louis Park the red).

Ahhh, but good local Realtors know — and graph #2 (left) tells — another story.

Namely, St. Louis Park homes consistently fetch more per square foot:  $177 vs. only $160 in Minnetonka — a premium that dates back more than a decade, even as housing prices tumbled and then rebounded.

Apples & Oranges (Sort of)

The explanation for this seeming contradiction?

Minnetonka homes are bigger.

So, the median $340k home in Minnetonka has about 2,125 finished square feet; that $283k St. Louis Park home, only 1,600 FSF.

Thanks to David Arbit, MAAR Research and Economics Director, the Twin Cities housing market, for teasing out this statistical subtlety.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply