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Marcia McLean
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(608) 781-1100
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WEST or SOUTHWEST

Chanhassen

As one of the farthest southwest suburbs on the Minneapolis side, this community falls mostly in Carver County with just a small portion in Hennepin County. Rated four times by CNN Money Magazine as one of the ‘Best Place to Live’ (#2 in 2009 and #4 in 2013), it’s a city known for its 70 miles of mixed use trails, youth sports programs, six public beaches and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Life Time Fitness happens to be headquartered here and is the city’s largest employer, along with Rosemount, Inc.

In Chanhassen you can find all kinds of newer housing in every price point, plus new developments like Southwest Village, The Preserve at Rice Lake, Lake St. Joe’s Cove and Reflections for single family homes, town homes and apartments. The Southwest Transit Station on Market Street makes it easy to park, leave a car and commute just about anywhere in the Twin Cities. Or, hop on the bus for the Twins Game!

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Chanhassen: $444,000

Public Schools: The Easter Carver Independent School District, Minnetonka Independent School District

Private Schools: St. Hubert Catholic School, Chapel Hill Academy

Chaska

Considered to be the outer most Minneapolis suburb, Chaska is southwest of downtown, just west of Chanhassen and Eden Prairie. Highway 212 passes right through town and is a direct link to the Twin Cities. Chaska was twice voted by CNN/Money Magazine as ‘Best Place to Live (8th in 2007 and 20th 2009) and residents enjoy the many city parks and outdoor activities, including famed Hazeltine National Golf Course. In Chaska, you can find all kinds of housing in every price point plus new developments like Chevalle, Nickel Creek and Symphony Hills.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Chaska: $324,000

Public Schools: The Easter Carver Independent School District

Deephaven

Located along the eastern shores of Lake Minnetonka, this small community served as a summer destination in the early 1900s. Its 1,300 households enjoy Lake Minnetonka to its fullest with multiple marinas, buoys, canoe racks, the Minnetonka Yacht Club, and six beaches. In the winter, two outdoor ice rinks are maintained by the city and in the summer, the Cottagewood General Store is a favorite gathering spot. In business since 1895, it’s the heart of the Deephaven and a historic landmark that seems like a Norman Rockwell painting. The store is open seasonally May through October and offers a range of food, beverages, ice cream and coffee drinks. A full calendar of community events are posted, and hosted, at the store including Friday night Grill Nights and the annual Fourth of July event. Housing options are limited but range in price from $200,000 up to $4.5million.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Deephaven: $844,000

Public Schools: The Minnetonka Independent School District

Eden Prairie

Twelve miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis, Eden Prairie is known for its parks, rolling hills, trails and open spaces. Started as a bedroom community in the 1960s, it’s now home to the headquarters of several large firms like Digital River, CH Robinson, MTS Systems and the Minnesota Vikings. This city has been named one of Money Magazine’s ‘Best Places to Live’ in America every year since 2006, and was #1 in 2010!

Eden Prairie has a wide mix of housing options in every price point. From rental communities to town houses and twin homes, new construction – The Woods at Riley Creek and The Meadows - executive neighborhoods and a lovely gated golf course community called Bear Path. The Enclave at Old Shady Oak is a smaller, new development with homes starting at $850,000. Also in the works is a new energy-efficient, high density development that should be one of a kind in Minnesota. Plans for Eden Gardens are underway to break ground in late 2014 on 36 new homes priced in the mid-$300s. Homes are designed to be energy efficient and solar-ready with smaller lot sizes and less square footage to appeal to empty nesters and young families.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Eden Prairie: $433,000

Public Schools: The Eden Prairie Independent School District

Private Schools: The International School of Minnesota

Excelsior

Located on the south side of Lake Minnetonka, 20 miles west of downtown Minneapolis, tiny Excelsior is less than one square mile and has just 2,000 households. Back in the early 1900s, this town was a major vacation destination for city folks who wanted to escape the heat and bustle of the big city. Through the years, city officials have worked hard to restore and preserve its historical identity which one can easily appreciate strolling down Water Street. Residents and visitors enjoy the hotels, shops, restaurants and old fashion ice cream parlors. Events seem to happen year ‘round here with events like Apple Days, Fourth of July events, Girls Night Out, Art Festivals and Tour de Tonka drawing residents from all over the metro. And, it goes without saying, this is a great place to take advantage of Lake Minnetonka. Rent a boat slip, sign up for the lottery to buoy your sail boat or rent a canoe down by the harbor.

Real estate options are limited and pricey. Small, improved lake cabins, built in the early 1900s, can be found for under $250,000. Condos, town houses and a few single family homes will usually run $350,000 for a fixer-upper, to up to $2,000,000 or more.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Excelsior: $532,000

Public Schools: The Minnetonka Independent School District

Medina

Medina is a small city that describes itself as a prosperous, suburban edge city that is committed to preserving its rural heritage. Just 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis, its 5,000 residents enjoy parks and green space, golf courses and rolling hills. Uptown Hamel is the Historic Downtown District of the City of Medina and it provides an attractive, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use town center that blends retail, office, specialty shops, residential, and gathering places into a unique community that captures the history of Medina’s origin. The majority of housing in Medina are single family homes, most of which were built after 1990.

Average Sale Price of a Single Family Home in Medina: $590,000

Public Schools: Served predominantly by Orono Independent School District and Wayzata Independent School District, but also by the Rockford and Delano School Districts.

Minnetrista

This small community located on the far west side of Lake Minnetonka, has fewer than 3,500 households and residents are drawn to the privacy and access to Lake Minnetonka. Here, you’ll find housing from every era, at every price point. One massive new development called Woodland Cove has just broken ground and Mattamy Homes has been selected to build out the first phase of 214 home sites. Developers plan to work through the winter on construction of a homeowner’s association clubhouse, sales office and eight to ten model homes. New home prices are expected to range from about $185,000 to the high $400,000 in this first phase. Smaller developments for new construction worth exploring are Hunters Crest, Palmer Pointe and Hermitage Shores.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Minnetrista: $471,000

Public Schools: Westonka School District, Delano School District, Watertown-Mayer School District and

Waconia School District

Mound

This small community sits on the northwest shores of Lake Minnetonka and was originally known as the ‘birthplace’ of Tonka Trucks. Mound is a very unique city that is surrounded by the bays and inlets of Lake Minnetonka.  With over 6 miles of shoreline, scenic trails, public beaches, fishing, boating, many other recreational opportunities, and an active Farmers’ Market, Mound has a great deal to offer residents year ‘round.  In addition to Lake Minnetonka, five other lakes – Black, Dutch, Langdon, Saunders and Seton Lake - geographically define the town's areas, such as Three Points, The Island, The Highlands, Grandview Boulevard and Shirley Hills. Amazingly, all of these lakes combined contain 1,000 docks – a testament to the popularity of this area.

Mound has a diverse population and a housing stock that ranges from very affordable to $1,000,000+ homes. Its downtown has been almost entirely rebuilt since 1990 and 2012 Mound was named the ‘Best City in Minnesota to Raise Kids’ by Bloomberg Business Week Magazine.   In 2013 ZipRealty Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIPR), based in California, conducted a study to determine the “Best Places for Families to Live’.  They named the Westonka area (Mound) as their #1 choice nationwide as the “Top School Districts with the Most Affordable Housing”. For new construction options in Mound, check out Woodlyn Ridge by Capstone Homes where prices start at #375,000.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Mound: $301,000

Public Schools: Westonka School District

Orono

Orono is an affluent community on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka, 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. Here you’ll find home prices that are some of the priciest in the metro, or even in the country. Lake access drives prices but so does the reputation of the school district. Orono High School has been named one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools in a list compiled by The Washington Post and in 2013, just 9% of the 22,000+ public high schools in the United States managed to earn placement on that list. Orono High School ranked 12th among the 25 Minnesota high schools named by The Washington Post. A mix of single family homes, townhomes and condos can be found in Orono. New construction single family homes tend to be custom homes on single lots. However, if you’re interested in more affordable brand-new condo options, check out StoneBay where condos are starting at $250,000.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Orono: $720,000

Public Schools: Orono Independent School District

Savage

This mid-size suburb is 15 miles southwest of Minneapolis, on the south bank of the Minnesota River.

Housing is mixed, but modestly priced, and many of the homes have been built after 1980. Parks and open space – and prices – make it a nice community for young families. If new construction is of interest, several builders are putting up homes in Trace Water development where homes start at $325,000 and go up to about $600,000.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Savage: $274,000

Public Schools: Three districts serve this community: Prior-Lake Savage School District, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District and Shakopee Independent School District

Shakopee

This mid-size suburb is 15 miles southwest of Minneapolis, on the south bank of the Minnesota River.

Shakopee is home to Valley Fair Amusement Park, Canterbury Park horse racing track and the annual Renaissance Festival. Housing is mixed, but modestly priced, and many of the homes have been built after 1980. Parks and open space – and prices – make it a nice community for young families.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Shakopee: $258,000

Public Schools: Shakopee Independent School District

Victoria

About 26 miles southwest of Minneapolis, this small suburb has been nicknamed "The City of Lakes and Parks" because it has over 200 acres of reserved land, 13 parks and 9 recreational lakes within its borders. Victoria is also home to the 1,800-acre Carver Park Reserve. Most of the housing has been built since 1980, much of it more recent. Single family homes tend to be mid-priced between $450,000 and $550,000 and a new development by Kerber Family Homes has brand new one-level living townhomes priced in the mid $300s.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Victoria: $450,000

Public Schools:  Eastern Carver County School District

Private Schools:  Holy Family Catholic High School

Wayzata

Wayzata is a small upscale waterfront suburb that sits along the northeast shores of Lake Minnetonka, 11 miles west of Minneapolis. In its heyday, this community was primarily used as a vacation-resort destination and later in early 1900s summer cottages began to dot the shoreline. James J. Hill, a contentious St. Paul railroad magnet, owned the railroad that went right through town – the tracks and station of which are still in full use today. Another set of old tracks known as the Dakota Rail Trail has been paved for bikers, walkers and rollerblades. It runs for 20 miles starting in Wayzata to Mayer, Minnesota and along the way it runs through Spring Park and St. Bonifacius. It’s famous for being the first trail to connect Lake Minnetonka and Lake Waconia.

Downtown Wayzata overlooks Lake Minnetonka and is terrific spot for dinner, shopping or just strolling the boardwalk. In the summer, sailing races can often been seen in the bay and in the winter, ice fishermen and skaters take advantage of the wide open frozen bay.

As expected, housing in Wayzata is pricey – typically $500,000 to $3,000,000 – but one can still find old lake cabins for sale at a reasonable price. Housing prices are driven by proximity to Lake Minnetonka and downtown Minneapolis, and its highly regarded school district. Wayzata is committed to improving its downtown business district and housing options – two new high-end condo developments worth checking out are Regatta luxury condos and WayPoint, both in downtown Wayzata.

Average Sale Price in 2013 of a Single Family Home in Wayzata: $827,000

Public Schools:  Wayzata Independent School District

Private Schools:  The Blake School (K-5 campus)