The Big Story Blog

What does Rottlund's end say about the housing market?

Posted at 6:20 AM on November 18, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Housing and mortgages

Just a few weeks ago, the news seemed bright.

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On Thursday, though, the reality was much different.

Rottlund Homes, one of the region's biggest home builders and among the top 100 private builders in the country, said it would finish building home under construction, then liquidate assets and go out of business.

MPR News reporter Annie Baxter writes:

Rottlund Homes is liquidating its assets because of sluggish demand for new homes and difficulty procuring loans from banks, according to chief financial officer Steve Kahn:

"The bank syndicate we currently have no longer wanted to support the housing market," Kahn said, "and really there are no banks that want to invest in private homebuilders. So they felt it best if they just sold off the remaining assets that the company has."

The company largely builds townhomes. Kahn says at its height in 2005 or so, Rottlund used to do $350 million in sales, but that's dropped off to about $50 million.

The company's peak employment exceeded 200 workers spread across offices in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa. Now only 18 workers remain.

So we know the future of Rottlund. But does it say anything about the state of the Twin Cities Housing market?

How about the state's construction industry? Despite some signs of life in the state's October jobs report, construction employment remains bleak.

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We'll dig in to a range of issues today looking at Rottlund and the future of the state's housing market. Join in.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.