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Minnesota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2003  | September 2003 issue

More people in downtown Minneapolis own their home than rent, a recent report found. The study, undertaken by the Downtown Denver Partnership, a Colorado nonprofit business association, examined and compared the downtown conditions of 10 similar-sized cities from around the country: Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

The group found that of the 10, only in Minneapolis and Denver—both with an ownership rate of 53 percent—were there more homeowners than renters living downtown. The two cities' rental rates (47 percent) stand in striking contrast to those of downtown Portland, Seattle, Baltimore, Phoenix and Dallas—where housing is all at least 80 percent rental. Many see Minneapolis' high rate of downtown homeownership translating into both private and public economic benefits: For individual citizens, homeownership builds private equity and prosperity in a way that renting does not; for the urban community, housing that is owned—rather than rented—creates a more stable and retail-attracting downtown. Indeed, the report found that Minneapolis also had the lowest downtown retail vacancy rate—5.2 percent—of all 10 cities in the study.

Benjamin Knelman