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St Louis Foreclosures & Serious Delinquencies Fall In Past Year

The St Louis Foreclosure rate in July 2014 was 0.78 percent, down almost 30 percent from the same time last year when the St Louis foreclosure rate was 1.08 percent, according to data just released by Corelogic.  The foreclosure rate for the state of Missouri in July 2014 was .64%, down from .89% a year ago.

On another good note, the serious mortgage delinquency rate (90+ days) for St Louis in July 2014 was 3.33%, down from 3.85% in July 2013.  On the state level, the Missouri serious mortgage delinquency rate for July 2014 was 3.06% down from 3.52% the year before.

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Pending Home Sales Down In August; Sales Pace Falling Short Of Last Year

There were 2,017 Pending Home Sales in St Louis (5-county core market) in August, down from 2,293 pending home sales in July and down 6.6% from August 2013 when there were 2,159 pending home sales,, according to MORE, REALTORS.  There have been a total of 15,998 pending home sales in St Louis year to date  through the end of August 2014 which is a decline a 4.9% from the same time last year when there were 16,829 pending home sales.

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How to Build Credit Or Fix Credit Issues

Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” Well if you are looking to buy a home, lease a car, apply for credit cards or even look for a job…nothing happens until your credit score moves and moves up!

If you are have had credit issues in the past….simply ignoring what happened does not help.  Ignoring a tooth-ache will not improve over time without treatment neither will your credit score!

If you have had credit issues in the past, it’s time you start establishing new (good) credit and start working on deleting old derogatory credit history like late payments, collections, judgments even bankruptcy or foreclosures from your credit report.  Remember, with a low credit score Banks and Lenders will be reluctant to lend you money to buy a home, car or even offer you a credit card.

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Home Buyers Are King

There are still some St Louis neighborhoods where home buyers have the upper hand even though in many St Louis neighborhoods the seller is clearly in charge.  The table below shows St Louis buyer’s markets based upon our Market Action Index that scores a neighborhood based upon supply and demand and then determines whether the data is indicative of a seller’s market or a buyer’s market.  An index of 30 indicates a balanced market not favoring buyers or sellers and below a 30 a buyer’s market.  The lower the index goes, down to a low of 0, the colder that market is and the more it favors buyers.

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Software Developer’s $4 Million St. Albans Estate On Market

St Louis software developer and owner of Nu-Calgon, Brian Butler and his wife Kelly have listed for sale their 11,000+ square foot English Country Home which sits on over 6 acres in St Albans and overlooks the Missouri River for a price of $4,400,000.  The home, located at 508 Heron Court in the Bluffs at St. Abans was built in 1999 and was listed for sale for $3,975,000 on 4 previous occasions in 2012 and 2013 but did not sell.

To see complete details as well as all photos for this home, click here.

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Disclaimer: The information herein is believed to be accurate and timely, but no warranty whatsoever, whether expressed or implied, is given. Information from third parties is deemed reliable but not verified and should be independently verified. MORE, REALTORS does not display the entire IDX database of Mid America Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MARIS MLS) on this website.

City of St Louis Tops List of Places with Man-Made Environmental Hazards

The City of St Louis was at the top of a list that you don’t really want to be on, the “Top 50 Counties with the Highest Prevalence of Man-Made Environmental Hazards“, just released this morning by RealtyTrac. The city of St Louis scored a 87.2, more than triple the score of Philadelphia (27.8) which occupies the number 2 spot on the list.

In scoring locations for this list, RealtyTrac only looked at counties with a population of 100,000 or more and then ranked them based upon the % of bad air quality days, the number of Superfund sites on National Priority List per square mile and other environmental hazards per square mile. The City of St Louis experiences bad air quality days 7.89% of the time, about 45% higher than the national average of 5.43%, has 5.35 Superfund sites on the the National Priority list, 178 times the national average of .03 and has 13.3 other environmental hazards per square mile, 147 times the national average of .09.

This is yet another example of how the City of St Louis, by not being part of St Louis County and instead being treated as it’s own county, ends up on the short end of the stick (or perhaps exhaust stack in this case) on national statistics. Normally, a city within a metropolitan area is going to be more likely to have environmental hazards than the suburbs but the stats don’t look as bad with the cities’ data is mixed in with that of the suburbs, which is not the case here in St Louis.

Speaking of St Louis County, as the table below shows, it made the list also, coming in at #15 on the list.

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Continue reading City of St Louis Tops List of Places with Man-Made Environmental Hazards

St Louis Home Sales Down From A Year Ago; Prices Up

St Louis Home Sales were down 5.21 percent in August 2014 from a year ago however St Louis home prices increased 6.44 percent during the same period, according the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.

As the table below shows,  Franklin County and Jefferson County saw an increase in home sales during the past year however the other counties that make up the core St Louis market did not.  All of the five counties that make up the bulk of the St Louis real estate market saw an increase in home prices from last year with two of the counties in double digits.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Make Biggest One-Week Increase Of The Year

Mortgage Interest Rates rose this week to an average of 4.23 percent for a 30-year fixed rate home loan, up from 4.12 percent last week, marking the largest one-week jump in interest rates we have seen thus far this year, according to data just released by Freddie Mac.  Mortgage interest rates for fixed-rate loans have now hit the  highest level since May 1st.

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Mortgage interest rates from the Freddie Mac report:

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.23%
    • Last week the rate was 4.12%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 4.5%
  • 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.37%
    • Last week the rate was  3.26.
    • Last year at this time the rate was 3.54
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.06%
    • Last week the rate was 2.99%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 3.11%
  • 1-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.43%
    • Last week the rate was 2.45%
    • Last year at this time the rate was 2.65%

 

St Louis New Home Building Permits Drop In August

The number of new home building permits in St Louis dropped in August 12 percent from July and were down 2 percent from August 2013, according to the latest date from the Home Builders Association for St Louis and Eastern Missouri.   There were a total of 287 permits issued for the 5-county core market consisting of the city of St Louis and Counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin, down from 327 the month before and 292 a year ago.

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new home building permits in St Louis August 2014

Home Builders Optimism Regarding New Home Market Hits Highest Level In Almost 9 Years

The new home market is improving and home builders indicate they have more confidence in the new home market now than they have had since November 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.  According to the HMI, home builders confidence is presently at 59, the highest level the index has been at since November 2005.

The HMI is comprised of several components including builder’s opinions of current sale conditions, buyer traffic and future sales.  The response from builders indicate they feel optimistic about current sale conditions and very optimistic about future sales, but not as pleased with current buyer traffic through their displays.

Looking at results of the survey on a regional basis, the Midwest region registered the highest on the index with a 59, followed by the West with a 58, South at 56 and Northeast at 41.

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Top 15 Sellers Markets In St Louis

Nearly all of the 15 top sellers markets in St. Louis are  in St. Louis County, with the only exceptions being number 12 on the list, Barnhart in Jefferson County, and number 15, O’Fallon in St Charles County, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.  The list below is based upon MORE’S Market Action IndexTM which, among other things, looks at supply, demand and inventory for an area and then applies an index value to it.

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Missouri Rank’s 19th On List of States with Highest Natural Hazard Risk

U.S. Geological Survey Seismic Map for U.S.

According to a report just released by Corelogic, Florida has the highest risk of property damage from a natural hazard of any state in the country (shocker, right?).  At the other end of the list is Michigan with the lowest risk and Missouri came in  at 19th no doubt due to flood risk, tornadoes and the New Madrid fault that makes it’s home in the southeast portion of our state.

According to an updated map published by the folks at U.S. Geological Survey, an earthquake on the New Madrid fault could impact all of the State of Missouri with the exception of the northwest corner of the state.

The map below is a map of the U.S. which shows the hazard risk score by color indicating the severity.  For the most part, the coasts are red which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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Continue reading Missouri Rank’s 19th On List of States with Highest Natural Hazard Risk

St Louis Foreclosures Rise Slightly In August; Up over 100 Percent In Outlying Areas

For the first time in a long time, there was an increase in  St Louis Foreclosures with 497 foreclosure actions in August, equivalent to 1 foreclosure action for every 2,511 housing units, an increase of 2.47 percent from the month before.  While up from the month before, St Louis Foreclosures in August 2014 were down 58.41% from August 2013.  As the table below shows, St Charles County had a big decline in foreclosure activity in August and the city of St Louis a modest decline, but Jefferson County and Franklin County both saw increases in foreclosures over over 100% from the month before.  With the exception of Franklin County, all the counties listed had a double digit decline in foreclosure activity from the year before.

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A Look At The Ferguson Real Estate Market

One month ago yesterday, officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and suddenly Ferguson, the little city where I grew up and began my career in real estate in 1979, became the focus of national news and headlines for days and weeks ahead.  Unfortunately, the coverage of the shooting has cast Ferguson in a very negative light and no doubt will hurt the progress the city has made over the past several years to revitalize its city and make it an attractive place to live, work and start a business.  This website is about real estate, so while I think this is a tragic event and have prayed for the Michael Brown family, Darren Wilson and his family as well as the community as a whole, and continue to pray that all the facts are revealed so justice will prevail, the focus of this article is the Ferguson real estate market and the impact this has had, and will have, on it.

Ferguson Home Prices Have Been Recovering From The Trough…

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Almost Two-Thirds Of St Louis Foreclosures Sold Were Cash Sales

The number of St Louis Foreclosures  (bank and government owned) continues to decline resulting in just 335 St Louis Foreclosures being sold during the month of August 2014 in the St Louis Core market, a decline of  44% from August 2013 when there were 598 St Louis Foreclosures sold.  What hasn’t changed though is the fact that nearly two-thirds (62%) of the foreclosures sold were cash sales for both periods.  For the St Louis real estate market as a whole, cash sales made up for fewer of the home sales in August 2014 with just 22% of all homes being sold on a cash sale, down from 26% a year ago.

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St Louis Real Estate Cash Sales August 2014 -

St Louis Home Prices and Sales Market Update VIDEO-September 2014

St Louis home prices have increased 7 percent in the past year for the St Louis core market as a whole, but St Louis home sales have not followed suit and are on track for fewer home sales this year than last.  You can find out more about this as well  as get  other useful information on the St Louis real estate market, including where the SELLERS MARKETS are in St Louis and the GOOD BUYERS MARKETS in our 5-Minute Market Update Video For September 2014  below.

Many areas of St Louis have become sellers markets due to increasing demand and lack of inventory.  If you have considered selling, or perhaps tried and failed in the past year or so, now is the time to consider it again.  Give us a call and we’ll be happy to let you know the value of your home in today’s market or, try our new online home valuation site and find your homes value in under a minute – go to StLouisHousePrices.com and find your home’s value now!

Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller’s market? Contact us and we’ll  answer that question for you.

Continue reading St Louis Home Prices and Sales Market Update VIDEO-September 2014

St Louis’ Top Ten Buyer’s Markets

In spite of improvements in the St Louis real estate market and many areas becoming Seller’s markets due to low inventory and high demand, there are sill neighborhoods in St Louis where the market favors buyers.  The top ten buyer’s markets in St Louis, listed in the table below,   are in a variety of locations with two areas within the city of St Louis, and the rest in Jefferson and Franklin county.  Absent from the list are buyers markets in St Louis county and St Charles county.

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Dr. Randall Sterkel’s French Country Manse in Ladue Hits Market For $5.75 Million

Local pediatric physician, Dr. Randall Sterkel who, according to the Childrens Hospital website, is “consistently recognized in “The Best Doctors in America” list”, including the most recent list for 2013, just put his nearly 15,000 square foot (14,776) French Country Style home on the market with an asking price of $5.75 million.  According to the St Louis County tax records, Dr. Sterkel’s home, located at 9746 Litzsinger in Ladue,  sits on 3.11 acres, had a tax bill of $50,854 for 2013 and indicates the home was purchased by Randall and Stephanie Sterkel on June 7, 2002 from Dan and Doris Devereux for $4,700,000.


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Disclaimer: The information herein is believed to be accurate and timely, but no warranty whatsoever, whether expressed or implied, is given. Information from third parties is deemed reliable but not verified and should be independently verified. MORE, REALTORS does not display the entire IDX database of Mid America Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MARIS MLS) on this website.

Valley Park: The Hottest Market In St Louis?

I’ll be honest, there was a time, and perhaps not that long ago, when I wouldn’t have thought I would have used “Valley Park” and “Hottest Market in St Louis” in the same sentence but the day may have come!  No, I have nothing against Valley Park, it’s just it has struggled in the past with perception issues but it appears it has overcome much of that and people today are seeing the value offered in this west county alternative to higher priced neighboring communities.

According to our Market Action Index (see below for the top 10 list) which looks at supply and demand of housing in a market and applies an index to it thereby identifying an area as a sellers market or a buyers market, Valley Park is the hottest sellers market in St Louis currently.  As the charts below show, Valley Park home prices have risen over 10% in the past year and the inventory of homes for sale in Valley Park has dropped 29%.

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Valley Park Homes for Sale (Slideshow)


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Flipping Property in St Louis County Yields Almost 25 Percent Gross Profit On Average

Flipping property in the St Louis area has paid off for investors over the past year provided they have stayed out of the City of St Louis.  “Flipping” or a “Flip” is a term used today to describe when a property is bought and then re-sold within a short time period.  In St Louis County, the 3rd quarter of 2013 and the 3rd quarter of 2014, there were 658 properties flipped at an average gross profit of nearly 25 percent (24.56%) ,   according to a newly released report from RealtyTrac.  During the same period there were 203 properties flipped in St Charles county with an average gross profit of 17.95%.  It doesn’t look like investors in the City of St Louis fared so well though, with 184 flips during the period for an average loss of 3.85%.

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St Louis Pending Home Sales Slip In July

St Louis Pending Home Sales slipped in July falling to  a total of  2,654 pending home sales for the 5-county core area of the St Louis market, down 7.8 percent from the month before when there were 2,877 pending home sales, according to MORE, REALTORS.  Year to date through the end of July, there have been 16,789 St Louis Pending Home Sales, down 4.6 percent from the same time last year when there were 17,603 St Louis Pending Home Sales.  On a positive note, pending home sales for the month of July 2014 were slightly higher than they were for the month of July 2013.

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St Louis Pending Home Sales - July 2014
St Louis Real Estate Market Stats - July 2014

Study Shows Mortgage Interest Deduction Primarily Helps Higher Income Homeowners

The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is often a topic of much debate often around whether or not it truly helps promote home ownership or is just a another tax break for higher income tax payers. The interesting thing is, the best I can tell, when the deduction for interest was first established it actually had nothing to do with promoting home ownership but instead was intended to benefit proprietors and small business owners.  Few realize that the deductibility of interest goes back to 1913 when Congress ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to the constitution which gave the government the right to  “to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.”  At the time this passed, people did not obtain loans to buy homes but instead paid cash for them and the provision to allow for the deduction of interest was put in primarily to benefit businesses.

In June, there was working paper published by Jason Fichtner, Senior Research Fellow and Jacob Feldman, Research Analyst,  at Mercatus Center at George Mason University titled “Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction” (scroll down for charts as well as link to complete report).  In their paper, Fichtner and Feldman make several points in opposition to the mortgage interest deduction (MID) including:

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Midwest New Home Sales Slip in July

New home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. slipped in July with new home sales coming in at the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 52,000 homes, down 8.8% from a rate of 57,000 homes the month before and down 1.9% from July 2013, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Year to date, through July, there have been 36,000 new homes sold (not seasonally adjusted) down 2.7% from the same time last year when there were 37,000 year to date new home sales.

On a national level, in July new home sales were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 412,000 homes, down 2.4% from the month before but up 12.3% from July 2013 when new home sales were at the annual rate of 367,000 homes.  In July 2014 there was a 6 month supply of new homes for sale, an increase of 7.1% from the month before when the supply was 5.6 months and an increase in the same amount from a year ago.

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St Louis Home Sales Down In July While Prices Are Up

St Louis Home Sales were down slightly in July 2014 (2.25%) from a year ago however St Louis home prices increased 3.3%   during the same period, according the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.

As the table below shows,  St Charles County and Franklin County both saw an increase in home sales in July 2014 from July 2014 while the other 3 counties in the core market saw a decrease in home sales during the same period.  Home prices increased in the counties of St Louis, St Charles and Jefferson and declined slightly in the City of St Louis and Franklin County.

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Property Flipping In St Louis Trending Downward

Property flipping, which is basically buying a property and then reselling it immediately, or shortly thereafter, is occurring less frequently now in St Louis than it was, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.  According to the report, there were 289 houses flipped in the St Louis metro area during the 2nd quarter, down 44% from the first quarter and down 17% from the 2nd quarter of 2013.  During the 2nd quarter of this year, 3.3% of all St Louis home sales were “flip” deals which, for the purpose of this report, were homes that were bought, then resold within a 12 month period.

The average gross profit on the properties flipped during the 2nd quarter of 2014 was $20,122, down significantly from the same period a year ago when the average gross profit was $36,858.  Before you get too excited, I should point out, this is just the gross margin, the difference between the initial price paid and the resale price and does not take into account any repairs, improvements or other expenses related to that property or the transaction.

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Fair Housing Act Violations Cost Landlord $550,000

Today, the owners and operators of the Alger Meadows Apartments in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agreed to pay $550,000 in damages as well as terminate their property manager to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed against them by the U.S. Department of Justice.  

With the increasing popularity of rental property as an investment, there are many new investors and landlords getting into the business and they need to realize the importance of being familiar with the laws and regulations that may affect them and their business in order to avoid problems.  Even though, according to the press release issued by the DOJ, the property manager is the one that was alleged to have committed the sexual harassment, the DOJ also included the owners of the complex and alleged they were liable for the property managers actions.  So, just because you, as a landlord, may use a property manager, that does not necessarily mean that you are in the clear or not liable for what goes on in your behalf. Therefore, the better informed you are as an investor and landlord, they better off you will be!

I have bought and sold 2,000 homes and have owned and managed apartments and rental homes and enjoy using this experience to help new, as well as seasoned, investors not only find good deals to invest in, but get educated on the things they need to know about such as Federal Fair Housing Laws.  If I can help you, please contact me.

 

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Survey Shows Two-Thirds of Americans Think Now Is a Good Time to Buy a House

The Fannie Mae monthly national housing survey for July 2014 shows 67 percent of those surveyed feel now is a good time to buy a home, down from 70 percent that felt that way the month before and down from 74 percent that responded in July 2013 that it was a good time to buy.   Forty-three percent of the respondents feel now is a good time to sell a home, an increase from 40 percent the month before and up from July 2013 when 40% felt it was a good time to sell. Other Fannie Mae Housing Survey Highlights:

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Continue reading Survey Shows Two-Thirds of Americans Think Now Is a Good Time to Buy a House

St Louis Best Buyers Markets

Where are the best buyers markets in St Louis?  Can a home buyer still find a great deal in St Louis?  These are questions we hear frequently today as the St Louis real estate markets continues to improve and many neighborhoods have a shortage of homes for sale thereby creating a sellers market.  Let your heart not be troubled though, there are still some buyers markets in St Louis where the buyer has the upper hand.

What makes a neighborhood a buyers market?  For the sake of this discussion, I am using our market action index to determine where the buyers markets are in St Louis.  Our market action index looks at primarily supply and demand and then applies an index number to it.  The index goes from 0 to 60 with 30 being a blanched market not favoring buyers or sellers.  Below a 30 is a buyers market, and the lower it goes, down to a low of 0, the colder the market is and the more it favors buyers.  The higher above 30 the index goes (up to a max of 60) the hotter the market is and the more it favors sellers.  The table below shows the 13 neighborhoods in St Louis that are currently buyer’s markets, according to our Market Action Index.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Lowest Level In Over A Year

Mortgage interest rates fell to an average of 4.13 percent in July on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, marking the lowest mortgage interest rate we have seen in over a year.  The last time mortgage interest rates were this low was back in June of 2013 when the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.07 percent, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac.

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Mortgage Interest rates

Source: Freddie Mac

St Louis Foreclosure Activity Down Fifty-Nine Percent In Past Year

St Louis foreclosure activity was on the decline again in July with a total of 485 foreclosure actions taking place in the St Louis MSA during the month which equates to foreclosure activity on 1 of every 2,573 housing units, according to data released this morning by RealtyTrac.  This represents a decline in St Louis foreclosure activity  of 19.57% from the month before and a decline of 59.0% from July 2013.  As the table below shows,  with the exception of Franklin County, all of the major Missouri counties of the St Louis MSA saw a decline in foreclosure activity from both the month before as well as a year ago.

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Continue reading St Louis Foreclosure Activity Down Fifty-Nine Percent In Past Year