The uncertain future of cabins in Minnesota
29 Jun 2018
You know it’s summer in Minnesota when it’s early on a Friday afternoon and northbound traffic on I-35 is backed up out of the Twin Cities and and both ways on I-94. Inside the cars are families, fishing poles, coolers, life jackets and other implements for a weekend at the lake.
There are an estimated 124,000 seasonal home land parcels in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, with cabins making up many of the residences in counties like Cook, Aitkin, Cass, Lake of the Woods, Hubbard and Crow Wing.
In the coming decades, baby boomers in the U.S. are expected to transfer an estimated $30 trillion in assets to subsequent generations. For many families in Minnesota, that’ll include the family cabin.
Or will it?
In their early adulthood, millennials have developed a reputation for being more interested in experiences than ownership. They make less money, on average, than their parents did at the same age, and many are saddled with college debt.
Meanwhile, cabins, once little more than a roof over bunk beds — no electricity and no indoor plumbing — are getting more expensive to buy and maintain. What’s more, services like Airbnb and HomeAway have made it easy to rent a cabin for a few days, leaving the maintenance and tax bills to someone else.
Do cabins as we know them have a future in Minnesota?