Twin Cities Housing Prices Continue to Skyrocket Along Green Line

Rental prices on apartments near the light rail lines in the Twin Cities continue to rise, pricing residents out of areas they once could afford, especially in lower income neighborhoods.

Areas like the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul are seeing potential tenants routinely saddled with new requirements that used to be rare, reports the Pioneer Press. These include credit scores of 600 or above, background checks, and incomes of three times the rent rate.

Median sales prices have been going up since 2010, when the line had yet to even be finished reports the Pioneer Press. Median sales prices along the line hit up to a 120 percent increase in month-to-month comparisons, while the city as a whole saw less than a 40 percent increase over the same time. In late 2013, a year after the Green Line opened, median sales prices increased by over 80 percent, compared to 28 percent citywide. In the first quarter of 2015 prices jumped another 50 percent.

Increase in rent costs also disproportionately impact people of color as 75 percent of people of color are renters rather than homeowners, reports the Pioneer Press.

Many argue that the Green Line was an attempt at gentrification of the neighborhood and a way for the city to force out lower income individuals to clear the way for redevelopment of the area along the Green Line.

In 2010, a number of neighborhood advocacy organizations worked together to sue the Metropolitan Council for a number of issues related to the Green Line, including displacement and gentrification.

The case was unsuccessful. The Metropolitan Council argued their intention was for all to benefit, and St. Paul’s plan of incentives for builders and home ownership assistance convinced the judge of that.

This issue is not unique to the Twin Cities’ either. The Seattle Times reports similar issues along Seattle’s metro rail transit stations. Homes in the Seattle suburbs near a metro station have a going rate of $35,000 to $90,000 more on average then the region as a whole. In Seattle proper, it is up to $221 more per square foot.

Anders Koskinen