Unique communities offer attractive choices with more to come
Jay Jewson leads a double life. Nothing nefarious is going on here, just an enviable existence that involves Jewson, a personable Realtor, living and working in two places at once: Rochester and nearby Wabasha. While he enjoys his semi-commuting lifestyle, other Rochester residents are finding themselves at home in their own special ways, whether in one of the newer apartments and townhouses scattered around the city, or in a rambling historic house near Pill Hill, or in a three-bedroom rancher in a newer subdivision.
Thanks to steady growth over the past decades and the promise of a continuing strong economy, Rochester real estate is diverse – and hot. So hot, in fact, that the demand for housing has somewhat outpaced supply.
“I would say the real estate market in Rochester is amazing if you’re a seller,â€ says Karen Becker, CEO of Southeastern Minnesota Realtors and SEMR MLS. “Unfortunately it can be frustrating for buyers, but they can succeed if they’re prepared financially and are working with a professional. They should never go it alone – in this market the negotiation process can be tricky.”
While Rochester-area homes can range from under $200,000 to well past $1 million, with the demand highest in the $200,000-$250,000 range.
“We’ve got a very strong real estate market,â€ says Jay Jewson, president of Southeast Minnesota Realtors. “But when a house comes on the market, you had better go look at it right now. And while our housing prices are comparatively low, average sales prices are at 100 percent of listing prices.”
While the current market offers both opportunities and challenges, Rochester boasts a variety of neighborhoods and types of housing, with something to suit nearly all tastes.
The city is divided into four quadrants: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest and Southwest. They are roughly divided by Broadway, which runs north-south, and Center Street, which runs east-west. The divisions are important, and each has its own appeal.
“Northwest is a very desirable area to live, and offers something for everyone,â€ Jewson says, citing good townhome developments and “tremendousâ€ amount of commercial expansion in the area.
This fast-growing quadrant is home to the Oxbow Park and Zoo and the Quarry Hills Nature Center. Neighborhood associations are active, sponsoring such popular events as PorchFest, a celebration of local musicians.
Northeast is home to the city’s newest high school, Century High School, and the National Volleyball Center.
“There’s a lot of growth in Northeast, a very desirable section of town,â€ Jewson says. “Closer to downtown are a lot of beautiful older two-story and story-and-a-half homes. You’re closer to old Rochester, and farther out there are newer homes. You’ll find a lot of fun parks too.”
Southwest offers prized historic neighborhoods, including Pill Hill, where doctors in the early days of the Mayo Clinic built their stylish homes and many landmarks sites. The area is prestigious and can be pricey, with many newer homes as well as older properties, golf courses and the Apache Mall. Prescott’s Grill on South Broadway is among the area locals’ favorite places to eat.
Southeast is a unique quadrant of the city that offers great restaurants, the Eastwood golf course, and a wide variety of housing, including some of the city’s oldest homes as well as moderately priced single-family homes and rental properties. The area is known for an artsy vibe, from the Slatterly Park neighborhood’s very popular Art on the Ave springtime art festival to RockChester, the youthful local music festival.
Several nearby small towns are sought after by those who prefer a somewhat slower pace of life, while still living close to what Rochester has to offer. Jewson’s Wabasha home affords great proximity to the water, as do Winona, a charming college town, Lake City and Red Wing, all located along the Mississippi River, providing great outdoor attractions and a waterfront lifestyle within easy drive of Rochester. Byron, with a youthful population of 5,000, and Mantorville, with its historic downtown, are just west of town. And Pine Island, perched on the banks of the Zumbro River, is a few minutes north of Rochester.