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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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Continue reading Top 15 Sellers Markets In St Louis

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

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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Continue reading A Look At The Ferguson Real Estate Market

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.


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.

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)


Continue reading Valley Park: The Hottest Market In St Louis?

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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Continue reading St Louis Home Sales Down In July While Prices Are Up

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

Over Half Of St Louis Foreclosures Sold Are Cash Sales

Cash sales accounted for more than 1 in 5 (21.7%) St Louis home sales in July 2014, a slight decrease from a year ago when cash sales accounted for 22.1% of home sales.  The median price of these cash home sales in July 2014 was $162,000, 3.3% higher than a year ago when the median price was $156,810.  St Louis foreclosures sold during the month of July 2014 were cash sales more than half the time (56.5%), an increase of 7.3% from a year ago when cash sales accounted for 52.7% of St Louis foreclosure sales.  The median price of cash sales on foreclosures was $36,275 in July 2014, a drop of 5.8% from a year ago when it was $38,500.

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St Louis Cash Home Sales July 2014

Source: MORE, REALTORS

St Louis Cash Foreclosure Sales

Source: MORE, REALTORS

St Louis Neighborhoods With Largest Price Gains In Past Year

The largest price gains in home prices over the past year are found in a variety of St Louis area neighborhoods however there is a concentration of them in the 40 corridor from mid-county to west county.  In compiling data for this article, I looked at what I feel is the best indicator of home price change, price per square foot, and selected neighborhoods that had at least a 10% increase in home prices during the past 12 months.

There are charts below showing the price per foot for the past year for each specific neighborhood as well as our Market Action Index (MAI) for the area as well.   The MAI indicates whether a given neighborhood is a sellers market (if the index is above a 30, up to a maximum of 60) or a buyers market (below 30, down to a low of zero).  As you will see, as the price changes in these neighborhoods so does the MAI, sometimes signaling that prices have went too high too quick causing the MAI to turn from a sellers market to a buyers market.

Wouldn’t you like to have an agent working for you that has access to data like this for neighborhoods throughout the St Louis metro area and can use the info to help you make a smart buying or selling decision?  Please contact me and let me show you how we can help do just that.

 

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Continue reading St Louis Neighborhoods With Largest Price Gains In Past Year

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

St Louis home prices have increased in the past year and you can find out by how much, as well as a ton of other useful information on the St Louis real estate market, such as where the HOT SELLERS MARKETS are in St Louis,  the GOOD BUYERS MARKETS (down to just 11 neighborhoods this month) and a whole lot more in our 5-Minute Market Update Video For August 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-August 2014

How To Avoid Problems With Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance is something that most homeowners have, but many don’t necessarily understand all the nuances of their policy or, in the case of policies that may have been originally purchased years ago, not know that they don’t have sufficient coverage today. If there are problems with the policy, or with the company the policy is issued by, the problem often rears it’s ugly head after a loss is suffered and the homeowner goes through the claim process.

So, how do you avoid a bad homeowners insurance scenario?

The same as you avoid most trouble, do your homework first, get an understanding of the policy you are buying as well as investigate the reputation of the company behind the policy.  While price is certainly a factor, when it comes to something as important as the insurance on your home, you don’t want to be penny-wise and dollar foolish.

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Check out the great resources from the Department of Insurance below the Consumer Complaint Index Table below or by clicking here.

Where to find good resources to learn more about homeowners insurance and avoid problems:  

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St Charles County Makes List of Affordable Housing Markets With Jobs

Today, RealtyTrac released a new report which revealed that, as of the 2nd quarter of 2014, affordable housing is on the decline in one-third of the largest counties in the U.S.   In compiling the report, the historical average for income to price affordability percentages were analyzed and the results showed that one-third of the counties analyzed now have higher affordability percentages than their historical average now making homes in those counties less affordable now than they have been on average over the past 14 years.   On the positive side, no St Louis area counties were on that list however, St Charles County, did make a “good” list!  St Charles County was one of the 10 counties that made the list  where, as the chart below shows, the percentage of monthly income needed to make the payment on a median priced home was less than 20% and the unemployment rate in May 2014 was less than 5%.

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Continue reading St Charles County Makes List of Affordable Housing Markets With Jobs

Villa’s Gaining In Popularity in St Louis

Villa’s are becoming increasingly popular in St Louis evidenced by the increase in online searches by home buyers searching for a Villa.  Let’s get to the question that may be going through your mind right now, what is a “Villa”, or more accurately, what type of housing in St Louis is the term “Villa” being applied to?  The term “Villa” has to be one of the most misapplied terms used in the housing industry today as it’s origin goes back to Roman times when “Villa” referred a large country estate owned by a wealthy person.  Today however, Villa refers more to a lifestyle than an architectural style.

What is the Villa lifestyle?  Generally, when someone is looking for a Villa they have in mind something modest in size, often part of an attached home development, such as duplexes, town-houses and the like, and often gives a more care-free lifestyle as a result of lawn and landscaping maintenance, and perhaps exterior maintenance, being maintained by an association rather than the homeowner.  But wait, that’s a condo, right?  Well, it could be a condo but the term “condominium” refers to a type of legal  ownership or title  and not to an architectural style.  Villa’s may be fee-simple in ownership (like a single family home where you owned a definite, and definable, chunk of dirt as  well as everything on it, or it could be a condominium, where you own a percentage of the whole.  The latter is probably the most common form of ownership for a villa.

In either event, a Villa offers the carefree and less hassle lifestyle many homeowners today, especially aging baby boomers that are becoming empty-nesters, are attracted to.  The slide show below shows all the St Louis Villas currently available.

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$1,000 Increase In New Home Price Takes Over 200,000 Buyers Out Of The Market

A new study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that, for each $1,000 increase in the price of a new home (median-priced new home)  ,206,000 prospective home buyers are forced out of the market.  The NAHB uses this point to illustrate the effect that building regulations can have on housing affordability  citing that every $833 increase in fees paid during the home-building process, such as permit fees, impact fees, etc, adds an additional $1,000 to the final price of the home.

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Missouri Ranks Third In Nation For Lowest Mortgage Closing Costs

Missouri, along with it’s affordable home prices, also has the 3rd lowest mortgage closing costs according to data just released today by BankRate.   According to the report, in Missouri, the average mortgage closing costs on a $200,000 home loan are $2,387.00, almost 6% less than the national average of $2,539.00.  Holden Lewis, senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate, said mortgage closing costs have risen 6 percent in the past year and says  “new mortgage regulations are the biggest reasons why closing costs went up“.

Texas, at $3,046, had the highest closing costs in the nation, followed by Alaska at $2,897 and New York, at $2,892.  Nevada had the cheapest mortgage loan closing costs in the country at $2,265 followed by Tennessee with $2,366 and then Missouri.

Find the latest St Louis Mortgage Loan Interest Rates Here.

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