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St. Louis Real Estate Search

 

Ballwin Tops List On Home Appreciation & Safety Index

It is common for home buyers, particularly those moving to St Louis from outside the area or perhaps moving to a different part of town than where they currently reside, to inquire about crime rates and other safety issues related to the area they are looking to move to.  Today, like pretty much every other topic out there, there is a wealth of information available on the internet with regard to crime activity however sometimes it is difficult to find real data and not just “headlines” from local news stories or social media posts.  Therefore, in keeping with our mission of providing up to date, accurate and trustworthy information that is relevant to homeowners, as well as buyers and sellers, we developed our own Index to make it easier to people to evaluate an area.  Since we are in the real estate business and the people we are providing this information for are interested in home values, we wanted to have our index consider both crime rates as well as home price appreciation.  As a result, our Home Appreciation & Safety (HASTM) Index was born.

The crime data we use comes from the Uniform Crime Reporting Report from the Missouri Highway Patrol for the year 2016 for violent crime and property crime, the population numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and the home price data from STL Market Reports.  For our Home Appreciation & Safety (HASTM) Index, we multiply the median home price change by the rate of violent crime.   Since the larger the crime rate number is (in terms of 1 violent crime per X number of people) the safer the area is, and the higher the home price change, the more appreciation there is, so when multiplying these together the higher the ending index number is, the better.

City of Ballwin With Low Crime Rate and Good Home Appreciation Tops List For Home Appreciation & Safety (HASTM) Index

Of the cities reviewed and shown on the table below, Ballwin had the lowest rate of crime per capita for both violent crimes and well as property crimes with rates of 1 in 2,780 and 1 in 128 respectively.  Add to that Ballwin’s above-average home price appreciation over the past 12 months of 7.20% and the result is a 200.14 on our Home Price Appreciation/Safety (HASTM) index.  This gives Ballwin the highest index on our list making it perhaps the best place on the list to invest in a home.  Coming in a distant second is the city of Creve Coeur with an index of 116.97.

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St Louis’ Slowest Selling Neighborhoods

Even in this low-inventory sellers market the St Louis housing market has been experiencing for some time now, there are areas where homes are selling slower.  For home buyers that are tired of the fierce competition that exists for most new listings and tired of losing out, these slower selling areas may offer an opportunity to buy.  As the table below shows, at the top of the slow selling list is the city of Pevely in Jefferson County where the average days on market is 331, followed by New Haven and Sullivan, both in Franklin County,  at 258 days and 248 days respectively.  Hey, I realize these areas are out of the St Louis area a bit, but I didn’t say it was going to be convenient to chase opportunity.    Farther down the list are some areas closer in, such as Ladue and Frontenac, but with the convenient location comes higher prices.

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Homeowners More Optimistic About The Value of Their Home Than Appraisers Are

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that many homeowners feel their homes are worth more than perhaps they are, particularly when the time comes to sell them.  This is evidenced by the Quicken Loans’ Home Price Perception Index  (HPPI) which looks at appraised values of homes versus the the homeowners estimate of value.  The HPPI chart below shows that, for April 2017, appraisal values of homes came in nearly 2 percent less (1.9%) than the homeowners expectations. As the chart reveals, for the past two years homeowners opinions on their homes value have exceeded that of appraisers, however, for roughly a two-year period from 2013 until late 2014, the opposite was true.

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Zillow Under Investigation By CFPB Over Co-Marketing Program With Real Estate Agents

Zillow, the behemoth real estate search site, revealed in it’s Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month for first quarter 2017, that the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is investigating some practices by Zillow.  According to the filing, what is under review is their co-marketing program in which the CFPB is alleging that Zillow violated parts of both RESPA as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Act.  The complete Form 10-Q can be viewed here.  On page 40 (outlined in red by me) is the section where Zillow makes this disclosure, and I have pasted that section of the report below as well (the emphasis and color have been done by me).

Excerpt from Zillow’s 10-Q –
“In April 2017, we received a Civil Investigative Demand from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) requesting information related to our March 2017 response to the CFPB’s February 2017 Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (“NORA”) letter. The NORA letter notified us that the CFPB’s Office of Enforcement is considering whether to recommend that the CFPB take legal action against us, alleging that we violated Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) and Section 1036 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The purpose of a NORA letter is to provide a party being investigated an opportunity to present its position to the CFPB before an enforcement action may be recommended or commenced. This notice stems from an inquiry that commenced in 2015 when we received and responded to an initial Civil Investigative Demand from the CFPB containing a broad request for information. We believe our response to the NORA letter addresses the CFPB’s concerns related to our co-marketing program under which a lender pays us to appear in advertising alongside a real estate agent. We are continuing to cooperate with the CFPB in connection with their most recent request for information. We continue to believe that our acts and practices are lawful and that our co-marketing program allows lenders and agents to comply with RESPA. Should the CFPB commence an action against us, it may seek restitution, civil monetary penalties, injunctive relief or other corrective action. We cannot provide assurance that the CFPB will not ultimately commence a legal action against us in this matter, nor are we able to predict the likely outcome of the investigation into this matter. We have not recorded an accrual related to this matter as of March 31, 2017 or December 31, 2016, as we do not believe a loss is probable. There is a reasonable possibility that a loss may be incurred; however, the possible loss or range of loss is not estimable.”

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Foreclosures In St Louis Increase In April

There were 1,814 foreclosure filings on homes in the St Louis metro area during the month of April 2017, an increase of 13.23% from the month before and an  increase of 12.25% from April 2016, according to a report just released this morning by ATTOM Data Solutions.  As the table below shows, all 7 Missouri Counties included in the report saw an increase in foreclosure activity last month from both the prior month as well as a year ago.  Of those, Lincoln County (which has very little foreclosure activity) saw the largest year-over-year as well as month-over-month increase, follow by St Louis County with a 45.37% increase from the month before and Franklin County with a 71.43% increase from a year ago.

 

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Missouri Insurance Department Providing Assistance to Flood Victims With Insurance Needs

The Missouri Insurance Department announced they will have Consumer specialists in place this week and next at Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) throughout the state to assist flood victims with their insurance claims. The consumer specialists will be at the locations below, on the dates indicated and will be able to assist victims of the recent flooding with understanding their insurance policies as well as with filing insurance claims.  The Missouri Insurance Department did point out however that “generally, homeowners insurance does not offer protection against flood losses. Homeowners should check their policies for exclusions, such as ‘water damage’.”

Consumers that have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage can also contact the Missouri Insurance Department’s Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) Where MO Insurance Dept Consumer Specialists will Be

 

May 10 Ellington Ellington City Hall, 100 Tubbs Avenue
May 10 West Plains West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.
May 11 Poplar Bluff Memorial Baptist Church 2215 South Broadway Bldg. C
May 11 Eminence United Methodist Church, 18321 Church St.
May 12 & 13 Van Buren Van Buren Youth & Community Center, CR 1204 State Hwy D
May 12 & 13 Valley Park Manchester United Methodist Church, 129 Woods Mill Rd.
May 15 Thomasville TBA
May 15 Pacific Pacific Eagles, 707 West Congress Pacific, MO 63069
May 16 Gainesville Gainesville School District, Gymnasium
May 16 House Springs Northwest Valley Middle School, 4300 Gravois Rd.
May 17 Doniphan Caring Community Partnership, 209 Highway St.
May 18 Arnold Arnold First Baptist Church, 2012 Missouri State Rd.

While it is too late to help with the recent flood, there is flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  You purchase flood insurance, just like homeowners insurance, through insurance agents.  There are requirements to be eligible as well as generally a waiting period before the coverage takes affect.  If you would like to know more about flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can contact them at 800-427-4661.

Want to know if your property is located in a flood zone?  Go to STLflood.com for an interactive flood map where you can enter your address and view your property on the flood map to determine if it is located within a flood hazard area:

 

Foreclosure and Serious Delinquency Rates Continue to Decline in Missouri

The foreclosure rate in Missouri continues to decline with the foreclosure rate for February 2017 coming in a 0.4 percent, according to a report just released by CoreLogic.  The rate for February is down slightly from a year ago when the Missouri foreclosure rate was 0.5 percent.  Based upon the mortgage serious delinquency rate (90 days or more) as well as delinquency rate (30 days or more), both lead-indicators or predictors of things to come with regard to foreclosures, the foreclosure rate will continue to decline in the near term.  The mortgage delinquency rate for February 2017 was 4.9%, down from 5.1% in February 2016 and the serious delinquency rate was 1.8% during February 2017, down from 2.2% a year ago.

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – May 2017

The St Louis market continues to be hot although there is a little downward pressure on pricing.  This month, as the video below shows, the St Louis real estate market continues to be low on competition and favoring sellers although the home buyers out there are savvy and are not reacting to over-priced listings.  Listings that have been properly price, positioned in the market and marketed appropriately are selling in a matter of days in many areas and price ranges throughout St Louis.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling and would like me to look at your situation and your market to determine the best strategy, just call, or text me, at 314.332.1012 and I’ll be happy to help!

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St Louis Spring Real Estate Market Snapshot

We are about half way through the spring real estate market in St Louis, normally the most active time of the year for the St Louis real estate industry,  and, thus far, the 2017 spring market is shaping up pretty good!  As our chart below illustrates, there were 4,582 homes sold in the 5-county core St Louis market during March and April of this year, an increase of 2.4% from last year when there were 4,473 homes sold and the median price per foot of those homes sold was $126 per foot in April, an increase of 6.8 percent from April 2016 when the median price per foot was $118.

Just comparing a month, or even two as I did here, to the year before doesn’t always paint the true picture so I also like to use our table that shows data for the most recent 12 month period and compares it to the prior 12 month period.  This gives a little broader view of the market and is less affected by seasonality and even weather that can affect home sales.  As the table for the 5-county core market below the chart shows, for the 12 month period ending April 30th 2017 home sales increased over 6% from the prior 12 month period and the median home price was up over 5.5%.  With just a two and a half month supply of homes for sale, inventory is still very low and the market still favors sellers.

While some of the data shows some price resistance, everything else definitely points to a sellers market. The bottom chart shows the median amount of time listings that sold were on the market before selling and you can see the trend continues to be low.  A couple of other little tidbits in all this data, that again points to a sellers market, but does show it is price sensitive are, as the table shows, the price per foot of active listings is lower than the listings that sold, and the median time for homes to sell in April was only 14 days however, the average time on the market for active listings is 136 days.  From this, I think we can draw a conclusion that the market, even with a low inventory,  is price sensitive and properly priced homes are selling very quickly while over-priced ones sit on the market.

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Homeownership Rate In St Louis During 1st Quarter of 2017 Drops To Lowest Level In Years

The homeownership rate for the St Louis MSA during the 1st quarter of 2017 was 61.6% according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.   As our table below shows, the current homeownership rate for St Louis is at the lowest level in our records.  On the table I also compute a rolling 12 month average which helps smooth out seasonal variations in the data and it shows an average homeownership rate of 64.8% over the past 12 months, down from 68.8% for the prior 12-month period and, like the percentage for the quarter, the lowest level in our records.

This is not gloom and doom news for the real estate market.  It may just be indicative of a change in lifestyle today versus the past with a smaller percentage of the population being married to the idea of homeownership and more receptive to being a tenant.  As the second table below illustrates the total of occupied housing units in the midwest region of the US has only grown from about 25,500 units 10 years ago to 26,500 units now, an  increase of just 3.9%.  However, during that period, the total number of rental units increased 21% while the total number of owner occupied units declined 2% clearly marking a shift from home ownership to rental but a segment of the population.

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Should You Investigate Your Home Buyer Or Seller Online?

Today, with the help of the internet, you can get information on just about anyone and usually rather easily.  From information websites, to blogs, to classified ad sites and social media, there is a plethora of information about people available with much of it (thanks to social media) coming right from the source…the people themselves.  With all this information so readily available,  it has become common for home buyers, sellers and/or their real estate agents to use the internet to try to get a leg up on the other side in a real estate transaction.  However, this has led to some issues and concerns as to whether this should be done or not.

How a home buyer can benefit from internet snooping…

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Why Pricing Your Home Accurately From The Start Is A Must For Sellers

Even in a hot real estate market like we have today, it is still important for sellers to price their homes accurately from the start.  If you are a homeowner thinking about selling, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can get away with over pricing your home as buyers are desperate, but that is just not so.  Don’t get me wrong, you should be able to sell your home for every dollar that it is worth, and perhaps even a tad more, but only if your home is priced and marketed accurately from the start.  This is why it is critical that your listing agent have access to all the latest market data as well as a complete understanding of how to use the market data to determine the price that will yield you the highest return without overpricing it and missing the opportunity to maximize your return.

What doesn’t work…

  • “I’m going to hold out to get my price….I’m in no hurry”
  • “I want to leave some “wiggle” room in my price or room to negotiate”
  • “Let’s try this price for a while, I can always reduce my price later”

Proof the above doesn’t work…

It’s simple…when you are a seller, time is not your friend, period.  Before I go further, I should point out that, like nearly everything in life, there are exceptions and unique markets that are different, but I’m addressing the main-stream market in St Louis, the $100,000 – $300,000 price range in the 5-county core St Louis market.  To illustrate my point that, as a seller, time is not your friend, I created the tables below showing sales data for homes sold during the past 12 months for different blocks of time it took the home to sell.  I did from 0 to 30 days, from 30 to 60 days, 60 to 90, 90 to 120 and 120 to 180 days.  What the data reveals is that, clearly, seller’s that price their homes accurately and, therefore, sell their homes quicker and realize more of their original ask price than seller’s that spend more time on the market.  Below is a quick recap of the percentage of original list price sellers sold for based upon how long it took to sell:

  • 0-30 days- 100%
  • 30-60 days- 95.11%
  • 60-90 days- 93.58%
  • 90-120 days- 92.96%
  • 120-180 days- 92.50%

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Does Commission Rate Paid To A Buyers Agent Affect Sale Price Or Time To Sell?

If you want to start a debate amount the real estate community that will go on forever and most likely not have the participants reach a consensus, just bring up the topic of my headline:  Does the commission rate offered to a buyers agent affect how much a listing will sell for or how quickly it will sell?  Without getting into any philosophical or ideaoligcal debate on the topic, I wanted to just look at the data to reveal what it shows on the topic.

With this in mind, I pulled MLS data from our database for homes sold in the past 12 months in the counties of St Louis and St Charles, in the price range of $200,000.  I then pulled the data into 3 groups based upon the percentage of commission offered to buyers agents.This data was pulled into the three tables below which reveal, among other things, the median time for homes to sell and the percentage of the original list price they sold for.

What does the data show?  The tables below go into more detail, but here’s a quick recap:

  • 77% paid commission of 2.7%-2.99% to the buyers agent.
    • These homes sold for a median of 97.01% of the original list price and sold in a median time of 25 days
  • 17% paid commission of 2.5%-2.69% to the buyers agent.
    • These homes sold for a median of 96.23% of the original list price and sold in a median time of 39 days
  • 5.5% paid commission of 3% or more to the buyers agent.
    • These homes sold for a median of 94.92% of the original list price and sold in a median time of 38 days

So what is the answer?  Interestingly enough, there isn’t a clear cut answer from the data below as to whether paying less than the most common commission rate to a buyers agent of 2.7% negatively impacts the seller as the stats are very close.  However, what is fairly clear is that paying a higher commission rate of 3% or more to the buyers agent certainly doesn’t result in the home selling for a higher percentage of the list price, in fact the data reveals they sold for less, nor do they sell faster as they sold over 50% slower than the listings with a 2.7% commission rate.

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St Charles County Home and Condo Prices Have Outperformed St Louis County Over Past 10 Years

The median price per square foot of homes sold in St Louis County have increased 3.5% over the past 10 years, from $116 per foot in 2007 to $120 per foot currently.  As the chart below illustrates, home prices dipped to a low of $90 per foot in 2011, a result of the housing bubble burst in 2008.  During the same period, the price per foot of homes sold in St Charles County increased 5.1% from $117 per foot in 2007 to $123 per foot currently.  Like St Louis County, St Charles County saw home prices bottom out in 2011, hitting a low of $95 per foot.

Condo prices have followed suit with St Charles County faring better than St Louis County during the past 10 years.  The median price per square foot of condominiums sold in St Louis County declined 15% over the past 10 years from $123 per foot in 2007 to $105 per foot currently.  St Charles County condo prices declined 7.9% during the same period, falling from $114 per foot in 2007 to $105 per foot currently.  The bottom for condo prices, in both St Charles County and St Louis County, lagged slightly behind the bottom for home prices, not hitting bottom until 2012 at which time prices were $85 and $89 per foot respectively.

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What is a basement worth in St Louis?

In many parts of the country it is typical for homes not to have a basement but here in St Louis, we love our basements and it is typically harder to sell a home without one.  St Louisan’s like the safety offered by a basement in times of bad storms and during the threat of tornadoes, but also like the opportunity to add some additional, and fairly affordable, living space to their homes.

With this in mind, I decided to look at the value of a basement and just how much affect having one, or not, or having a finished one, has on the price of a home in St Louis and, here are my findings:

  • For Homes Sold In St Louis County during the past 12 months, as the tables below shows:
    • Homes with Full Finished Basements sold for a median price of $131.59 per foot
    • Homes with Full Unfinished Basements sold for a median price of $119.83 per foot
    • Homes Without a Basement sold for a median price of $84.22 per foot

So, to answer the question, what is a basement worth?  While there are many other factors that affect price too, such as location of the home, size of the home, etc, and one could argue, for example, that homes without a basement are more likely to be in a lower priced area, we can still get an idea of the impact of a basement, or lack thereof, from the data,  Based upon our data, it appears homes with a basement sell for 42% more per foot than a home without a basement, and a home with a finished basement sells for 10% more per foot than a home with an unfinished basement.

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St Louis Home Sales Increase in March

As the chart below shows, there were 2,880 homes sold last month within the 5-county core St Louis market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) an increase of 6.5% from March 2016 when there were 2,705 homes sold. Looking at a the year over year change for a single month of home sales doesn’t usually tell the complete story, so I like to look at the prior 12 month period and compare it to the prior 122 month period to get the “big picture”.  When we do that for the 5-county core St Louis home market, as the table below shows, there were 27,437 homes sold in the 12 month period ending March 31, 2017, an increase of 6.26% from the prior 12 month period when there were 25,821 homes sold.

St Louis Home Prices Increased 6.5% in March from year ago

The chart below also reveals that the median price of homes sold last month in the St Louis core market was $166,380, an increase of 6.5% from March 2016 when the median price was $156,250.  Looking at the table for the most recent 12 months we see the median price of homes sold was $180,000 ,an increase of 5.26% from the prior 12 month period when the median price of homes sold was $171,000.

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How Much More Do Home Prices Increase In Better Neighborhoods Than The Rest?

Yesterday, I did a post on the 10 St Louis neighborhoods that made it in the Niche list of “100 Best Places to Live In America”.   This prompted a question as to how much better price appreciation have home owners seen in these neighborhoods as a result of the features they have that make them the “best places to live” verses the normal appreciation for the area?  Since it just so happens that all ten of the neighborhoods that made the list are in St Louis county, I decided to pull a chart to compare the median price per foot (the most accurate way to compare home prices) of homes sold in the top ten neighborhoods versus St Louis County as a whole.  As the chart below illustrates, here is what I found when I looked at home prices from January 1, 2012 (around the bottom of the market after the housing bubble burst in 2008) through the end of 2016:

  • St Louis County saw home prices increase 29.5% during this period, from $95/foot in 2012 to $123/foot in 2016.
  • The 10 neighborhoods included in the Best Places To Live list saw home prices increase 23.5% from $132/foot in 2012 to $163/foot in 2016

Hmm…so the best neighborhoods saw home prices increase at a lower rate than that county they are located in?  What does this mean?  I don’t know….could be the fact the median price in the better neighborhoods is roughly 50% higher to begin with so the higher priced homes may appreciate slower….or, it could be that part of what makes these neighborhoods the “best” is they offer good value so the fact that home price appreciation has been lower could be what put them on the list.  Whatever the reason, it’s just a good ice breaker for a Saturday morning.  🙂

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Ten of The Niche “100 Best Places In America To Live” Are In St Louis

Niche, a website that gives rankings and profiles of schools and neighborhoods throughout the U.S., recently released it’s list of the 100 best places to live in America, 10 of which, were in the St Louis area! Coming in at 18 on the list, and the best-ranked St Louis area, was Clayton followed by Creve Coeur at number 20.  The complete list of the St Louis neighborhoods that made the list of best places to live, along with their ranking on the list by Niche is below.

What was the criteria used by Niche to determine the best places to live?  According to the report, there were 14 different factors taken into consideration, each with their own weighting, to determine the best places to live.  At the top of the list, with a weight of 15% of the overall score is the percentage of residents with at least a Bachelor;s degree follow by cost of living grade (10%) and housing grade (10%).  The complete list of factors, and their weight in the overall score, is shown below.

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – April 2017

The supply of homes for sale continues to be a major impediment to the St Louis real estate market!  This month, as the video below shows, every county in the St Louis core market area has seen the inventory of homes for sale (in terms of months of supply) decline from last month and last month was already low!  In spite of the low, low inventory, home prices have remained reasonable and, in fact, we are seeing a little bit of a downward trend price-wise in some areas.  With these things in mind, along with the fact that interest rates are sure to go up, there’s no better time to buy or sell than now!

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling and would like me to look at your situation and your market to determine the best strategy, just call, or text me, at 314.332.1012 and I’ll be happy to help!

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St Louis Real Estate Agents Be On Lookout For Phishing Scams Disguised As Fake Lead

Real estate agents should be on the lookout for a phishing scam disguised as a real estate lead from Realtor.com.  A phishing scam involves sending emails that look to be from a real, reputable company, but are not, in order to get the recipient to reveal personal information , such as credit card numbers, email passwords, etc so the scammer can use the information for some fraudulent purpose.  Over the past couple of years real estate agents have been a specific target of these scammers.  Real estate agents are targeted  in an effort to obtain the agents email password so the scammer can then send a phony email to the agents clients tricking them into wiring money to the fraudsters account rather than the title company for a closing.

So, how do these fraudsters obtain the password to your email account to do this?  Simple, they ask you for it and, unfortunately, many times, the unsuspecting agent falls for the scam.

Just this past week I received an email that is a great example of what I’m talking about.  The email (shown below) purported to be from Realtor.com and appeared to be a lead contacting me wanting to find a home to purchase.  The message even said the person was referred to me “by my friend Debbie”, making it all the more real-sounding and personal.  After all, with a common name like Debbie and all the people real estate agents come in contact with and meet, who doesn’t know a Debbie?

Here is how the phishing scam works…

  1. The agent receives an email like the one below purporting to be a lead interested in buying a house.  To which the agent replies to the lead (who has not given a phone number, only email address and indicated email is the preferred method of communication)..
  2. The agent receives an email from the scammer in response to the agents email (see below).  In the scammer’s response will be a link to a pre-approval letter, or some other bait, the scammer wants the agent to take.
  3. If the agent clicks on the link in the leads reply in #2 above, they will be taken to what appears to be DropBox and asked to log in using their email info.  If you fall for this, you put your email and password in and, at that point, they Gotcha!  The scammer now has your email log in information and can use that to log in as you, monitor your emails and find unsuspecting clients that are approaching their closing date.  They can then send an email that appears to be from you, and in fact IS from YOUR email account, giving them bogus wiring instructions for the balance due they owe at closing.

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St Louis Metro Area Foreclosure Rate Declines in 1st Quarter; St Charles and Franklin Counties Increase

During the first quarter of 2017, the foreclosure rate in the St Louis metro area was one in every 487 housing units, a decline of 19.59 percent from the quarter before, and a decline of 3.61 percent from a year ago, according to a report released today by Attom Data.

As the table below shows, of the 7 counties in Missouri that are part of the St Louis MSA, 6 saw a decline in foreclosure rate from the quarter before and 5 of the 7 saw a decline from a year ago.  The foreclosure rate in St Charles County during the 1st quarter increased 18.64 percent from the 1st quarter of 2016 and Franklin County saw a 43.4 percent increase in the foreclosure rate during the same period.

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Supply Of Homes For Sale In St Louis Hits Record Lows In March

The supply of homes for sale in St Louis continues to fall making it even more of a challenge for the home buyers out there while making it pretty easy on sellers.  For the past couple of years we have seen homes, that were properly priced and marketed correctly, sell often on the first day, or within the fist few days, of coming on the market for sale.  In fact, more and more it’s become common for homes to sell before actually even hitting the market officially.  Judging by the market stats, it’s probably not going to get any better for buyers anytime in the near future.

5 County Core Market Sees 2nd Lowest Supply in over 10 years…

As the chart below shows, the St Louis 5-county core market in March dropped to a 2.5 month supply of homes for sale, the 2nd lowest level in over 10 years.  Back in June, 2016, the supply of homes for sale dropped to 2.37 months.

Jefferson County supply of homes for sale drops to its lowest level in over 10 years…

As of March, there was a 3.17 month supply of homes for sale in Jefferson County, down from 5.5 months the month before and the lowest level in over 10 years.

St Louis City/County, St Charles and Franklin Counties’ supply of homes for sale all near record lows…

Franklin County, with a 4.10 month supply of homes for sale, is at it’s 2nd lowest level in over 10 years, St Louis City/County, at 2.47 months, is at the 3rd lowest level in over 10 years and St Charles, at 1.91 months, is at its 4th lowest level in over 10 years.

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Fastest Selling St Louis Neighborhoods Today Selling Nearly 50 Percent Faster Than 3 Years Ago

The St Louis real estate market has been a fast-selling seller’s market in many areas for what seems like a long time now.  Currently, the fastest selling city within the St Louis area is Warson Woods where homes for sale there have been on the market just an average of 7 days,  followed by Valley Park at 16 days.  As the table below, with the 15 fastest selling neighborhoods, shows, the “slowest” fastest-selling neighborhood on the list, Webster Groves, is at 49 days for the average time current listings have been for sale there.

Just to show how quickly we forget, I decided to dig into the archives a bit and see what the fastest selling neighborhoods list looked like from just 3 years ago, March 24,  2014 to be exact.  As the bottom table shows, the fastest-selling neighborhood on that list, Glendale, and an average time on the market of 44 days, just slightly ahead of our 15th finisher today.

15 Fastest-Selling Neighborhoods In St Louis Selling 47.8% faster than 3 years ago…

The charts show that, for the current 15 fastest selling neighborhoods, there is a median average days on market (sounds oxymoronic but it’s not) of just 35 days, 47.8% lower than in March 2014 when the median average time on market of the 15 fastest selling neighborhoods was 67 days.  My, how times have changed in such a short period of time!

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Home Affordability In St Louis Declining With Increasing Home Prices – Will Home Prices Suffer?

It seems almost crazy to even throw out the idea of an adjustment in St Louis home prices or, perhaps even, any sort of slow down in the rate of home price appreciation given that the inventory of homes for sale is so low in so many parts of the St Louis area, however, maybe it’s something to look at.  For anyone that has been reading what I have written here over the past 8+ years, you will hopefully know that I am not a “gloom and doom” guy at at all, but I do share my honest outlook on the market.  Having said that, I do feel home prices are something worth taking a look at.

What is causing the concern about home prices?

For starters, new housing affordability information was just released yesterday by ATTOM Data Solutions which shows home affordability in the St Louis area has eroded somewhat.  The table below, based upon the ATTOM data, shows what percentage of the average wages for the area are needed to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and a minimal downpayment of 3%.  It also shows how much, on a year over year basis, income has risen in that county versus how much home prices have increased.  As the table shows, it takes a pretty big chunk of pay to pay for the typical median priced home today and, in most cases, home prices are rising at higher rates  than income is rising.  Even if the year over year income/home price increase looks ok, home prices have been on the rise here for several years so if we look at a 5 year period home price growth is outpacing income growth.

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Number Of New Homes Sold In St Louis Declined Last Year After 2 Years Of Growth

New home sales in St Louis declined in 2016 after increasing during the prior two years, for both the entire St Louis MSA as a whole as well as the St Louis 5-County Core Market.  As the 10-year charts below show,  new home sales, fell steadily from 2007 for about the next 4 years as a result of the housing bubble burst and failing real estate market.  Since hitting rock bottom around 2011, new home sales have increased slightly but have not done so with any great momentum.

New home sales in St Louis 5 County Core Market are still just a fraction of what they were…

In 2007, there were 1,374 new home sales reported in the MLS in the St Louis core market, and last year there were 603 new homes sold, a decline of 56% from 2007.  Last years new home sales were down over 11 percent from the year below and are lower than the prior 4 years.  In fact, in the past 10 years, only 2011 saw fewer new homes sold with just 568 that year.

The median price of new homes sold, as the charts illustrate, dropped from $240,750 during 2007 until hitting bottom in 2010 at $211,144, and then after falling off the 2011 level in 2012, has increased every year since and hit $273,000 last year.  This represents an increase of 29% in the median price of new homes sold in the St Louis core market since 2010.

New home sales increased last year in St Louis County but fell in St Charles and Jefferson Counties…

As the individual county charts below show, St Louis county saw the number of new homes sold increase last year from the year before, increasing 34% from 127 in 2015 to 184 new homes sold in 2016.  The median price declined during this period however, from $520,000 during 2015 to $467,990 in 2016.

St Charles County saw new home sales decline nearly 23% (22.9) from 363 in 2015 to 280 during 2016 while prices increased from $221,705 to $228,424. Jefferson County followed suit with new home sales falling 22.5% from 129 during 2015 to 100 in 2016 while prices increased 14.6% during the same period from $205,000 in 2015 to $234,917 in 2016.
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Hispanic Home Ownership Rate On The Rise While Overall Rate On The Decline

As I have discussed a few times over the past couple of years, the home ownership rate in the United States has been on the decline, finally reaching an historic low in 2016 at 63.4%.  However, during the same time, the Hispanic home ownership rate increased from 45.4% in 2014 to 46% in 2016, according to the 2016 State of Hispanic Ownership Report.

Hispanic Home Ownership Rate vs Overall Home Ownership Rate

Home Ownership Rate - Hispanic Home Ownership Rate

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St Louis Home Prices Increase Over 5 Percent In Past 12 Months; Sales up over 7 percent

The median price of homes sold in the St Louis core housing market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) was $179,900 for the past 12 months, an increase of 5.2% from the prior 12 month period when the median price of St Louis homes sold was $171,000.  There were 27,323 homes sold during the past 12 months, an increase of 7.59% from 25,395 from the prior 12 month period.  As the table below shows, there are currently 5,180 active home listings in the St Louis core market, which, based upon current sales rates, is just a little over a 3 month supply.

Year over year home sales and prices for February

During the month of February 2017, as the chart below shows, there were 1,496 homes sold in the St Louis core market sold at a median price of $167,000.00, just a slight increase in home sales from February 2016 when there were 1,481 homes sold and an increase of 3.7% in price from the median price of $161,000.00 homes sold for in February 2016.

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – March 2017

There just aren’t enough homes for sale in many price ranges!  This month, like many months before, you will see that all five counties in the St Louis core market (city of St Louis and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) all have less than a 6 month supply of homes for sale (a few less than half of that), so it remains a sellers market in many areas!  While the market is doing well, you will notice the trend over the past 24 months, as I describe in the video is down a little in terms of number of homes sales which is due simply the lack of homes available for sale.  There doesn’t appear to be a shortage of buyers at this point, just a shortage of sellers.

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Percentage of St Louisans With Sub-Prime Credit Has Improved to Pre-Housing Bubble Levels

The percentage of people in St Louis with a sub-prime credit score (below 660) has continued to improve since peaking in most St Louis area counties around 2008, according to the latest data released by Equifax.  As the interactive map below shows, 30.63% of the people in the city of St Louis had sub-prime credit in the 4th quarter of 2016.  This is a decline from the 4th quarter of 2008 when it was 38.42% and even down from 2006, the year of the peak of the St Louis housing market, when 34.21% of people in the city of St Louis had sub-prime credit.

As the map shows, from the 5-county core St Louis market, St Charles County has the lowest percentage of sub-prime borrowers at 21.07%.  From the entire St Louis metro area, Monroe County in Illinois has the lowest percentage of sub-prime borrowers at 16.11%.  At the other end of the spectrum, the city of St Louis has the highest percentage of sub-prime borrowers from within the 5-county core St Louis market and Washington County, at 35.09%, has the highest percentage of people with sub-prime credit in the St Louis MSA.

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Midwest Home Builders Optimism About New Home Market Hits Record High in March

Happy home builders?  Wow, I remember those days, back before the real estate bubble and market collapse, boy were those the days!  Well, the good news is, while builders still have their challenges, according to the latest Housing Market Index (HMI) from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders in the Midwest are more optimistic about the new home market than they have ever been! (or, at least since the beginning of the regional level index records that are published).

The NAHB Housing Market Index is based upon results of a survey done of the builders and other members of the National Association of Home Builders in which members are asked to rate market conditions in 3 ways:

  1. The sale of new homes at the present time
  2. How they feel about selling new homes over the coming six months
  3. The traffic of prospective buyers through their new home displays and developments.

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New Homes For Sale (or sold in past 12 Months) Throughout St Louis Area – Interactive Map