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Daily Real Estate News  |  July 6, 2006  |   Shorter Commutes Mean More Purchasing Power A recent study by the Brookings Institution and the Center for Trans-Oriented Development concluded that for every $10,000 saved in annual transportation costs, a household can afford to spend about $100,000 more on a home. Housing represents 20 percent of the average household budget, while transportation is 19.4 percent. Last year — before the dawn of $3 per gallon gas — more than half of Minneapolis-St. Paul households spent $10,000 a year in transportation costs. In cities where urban sprawl means many people have long commutes, builders say buyers shrug off commuting 30 minutes and many will drive up to an hour. But that could be changing. According to a recent survey of almost 14,000 employees by compensation consultant Salary.com, employees ranked a desirable commute as one of their top three factors for job satisfaction. The Minneapolis real estate market is responding to commuters’ concerns. The first phase of a 267-unit condominium complex built along the light rail line in Bloomington is 90 percent sold, and another large residential project has been proposed near the 38th Street station in downtown Minneapolis. Noah Bly, managing principal at UrbanWorks Architecture in Minneapolis, one of the firms working on the 38th Street project, said buyers are placing a desire for more time above other concerns. “Everyone feels harried and stressed out and unable to do all the things they're supposed to be doing.” Source: Star-Tribune, H.J. Cummins (06/24/06)

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