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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – November 2017

Will home sales this year fall short of last years total? Have home prices risen too much in St Louis? Is there still a shortage of homes for sale in St Louis? Find the answers, data behind the answers, as well as complete, and up to date, home price and sales data for the entire St Louis market, in our just released market update video.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See howFairCommissionRate.com

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.

You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on “Subscribe Free”.)

St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

 

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Homes SOLD The Fastest In Last 30 Days

As we head into the holidays and winter months, the St Louis real estate market is slowing as is typical, however, it is still going fairly strong.  Below are the 10 St Louis metro area cities where homes sold the quickest, based upon the days it too homes to sell that closed in the last 30 days.  The time it took homes to sell has only dropped slightly since we last published this list in late August.  In late August the number 1 city on the list took 11 days to sell and #10 on the list, 20 days.  Today’s number one is at 13 days and number ten, 25  days, so just modestly slower.

St Louis Fastest Sold Cities

(click on table for complete and up to date information)
St Louis Fastest Sold Cities

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St Louis Rental Vacancies At Lowest Rates In Over A Decade

The vacancy rate for rentals in St Louis during the third quarter of this year was 9.8%, significantly lower than the median vacancy rate of 11.5% for that quarter since 2004.  The year to date median vacancy rate for 2017, through the first 3 quarters, is 8.1% which is tied with last years rate, the lowest in more than a decade.  So it’s a good time to be a landlord in St Louis!

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Rental Vacancy Rates In The St Louis Metro Area – 2015 – 2017

(click table below for complete data going back to 2005 as well as rental rates)

Rental Vacancy Rates In The St Louis Metro Area - 2015 - 2017
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Copyright 2017 – St Louis Real Estate News – All Rights Reserved[/caption]

Home Mortgage Lending In Low and Moderate Income Areas On The Rise

There is little doubt that lower-income individuals and, subsequently, lower-income neighborhoods, were impacted more negatively by the housing market bubble burst in 2008 than other areas.  This resulted in extremely high mortgage delinquency rates, high foreclosure rates, and declining home values.  Afterward, citing “loose” lending standards, sub-prime mortgages, etc, the mortgage market tightened the reins on mortgage lending making it more difficult for everyone to get a loan, but particularly, those folks in the lower income brackets.

As time has passed, home loan requirements have eased and it is now easier to obtain a home loan.  Some of the requirements that have eased are minimum credit scores, down-payment requirements as well as rules affecting seller paid closing costs, gifts, etc, which has, in particular, helped lower and moderate-income home buyers.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the government “watch-dog” of all things financial, tracks and reports data related to home mortgages which reveal that, in fact, home mortgage lending has increased to the highest levels in over a decade in low and moderate-income areas.  The CFPB charts below reveal:

  • Home loan volume in low-income areas topped $3.8 Billion in November 2016, the highest level since the CFPB began tracking this data in January 2009.  The CFPB forecast, predicts that, once the data is in, a record $4 Billion in home loans will be reported for August 2017.
  • Home loan volume in moderate-income areas hit $21.7 Billion in October 2016, also the highest level since the CFPB began tracking this data in January 2009.  The CFPB forecast, predicts that, once the data is in, a record of $23+ Billion in home loans will be reported for July 2017.
  • The middle-income areas have fared well also with home-loan volume hitting a record $76.8 Billion in October 2016.  Unlike the low and moderate income area forecasts, the CFPB is forecasting a slight cooling in the middle-income areas with home loan volume dropping to $73.5 Billion for June 2017 and then slightly lower in July once the data is in.
  • High-income areas are trailing the other areas in terms of home loan volume having peaked at $116 Billion over 4-years ago, in January 2013.  The CFPB is predicting lending data will show $90.5 Billion in home loans in high-income areas for June 2017.

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Low-Income Areas – Home Mortgage Volume

Low-Income Areas - Home Mortgage Volume

Moderate-Income Areas – Home Mortgage Volume

Moderate-Income Areas - Home Mortgage Volume

Middle-Income Areas – Home Mortgage Volume

Middle-Income Areas - Home Mortgage Volume

High-Income Areas – Home Mortgage Volume

High-Income Areas - Home Mortgage Volume

St Louis Homeownership Rate Hits Highest Level In Two Years

The homeownership rate in St Louis, during the 3rd quarter of this year was 68.0 percent, the highest level since the 3rd quarter of 2015 when the rate was 70.3 percent, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Homeownership Rate St Louis MSA

Homeownership Rate St Louis MSA

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The homeownership rate for the State of Missouri during the 3rd quarter of 2017 was 70.4 percent, the highest level for the state since the 4th quarter of 2014 when the rate was 72.9 percent.

Homeownership Rate State of Missouri

Number of St Louis Homeowners With Negative Equity Continues To Drop In Most Areas

Over the past couple of years, as the St Louis real estate market has continued performing well, mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures have continued to decline.  Rising home value has also caused the number of “underwater” homeowners, also known as homeowners in a negative-equity position (meaning their mortgage balance exceeds their homes current value) to decline as well.  As the table below shows, 5 of the seven St Louis area counties listed saw a decline in the number of underwater properties in the 3rd quarter of this year from a year ago.  The largest decline in underwater properties was St Charles with a 35% decline.  The two exceptions, the city of St Louis and St Clair County, Il, saw an increase in underwater property of 2% and 14% respectively.

St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Properties – 3rd Quarter 2017

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St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Properties - 3rd Quarter 2017

New Home Construction On The Rise In Warren County And Other Outlying Counties

New home construction in the St Louis and surrounding areas for the first three quarters of this year is up slightly from the same time last year, according to the latest permit data from the Home Builders Association of Greater St Louis.  However, as the table below shows, only 4 of the 7 counties reviewed had an increase in building permits while the other three, including the county with the greatest number of building permits, St Charles County, saw a decline.

 

St Louis Area New Home Building Permits – Year to Date Through September 30, 2017

St Louis Area New Home Building Permits - Year to Date Through September 30, 2017

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City of St Louis Has Second Highest Vacant Property Rate In The U.S.

As of the end of September, in the city of St Louis, 7,265 of the 104,288 residential properties in the city were vacant, giving the city a vacant property rate of 6.97 percent, the 2nd highest of all the counties in the U.S., according to a newly released report by ATTOM Data Solutions.  The number of vacant properties in the city of St Louis increased 4.4% from the same time last year.  Baltimore Maryland had the highest vacant property rate at 8.14 percent.

As the table below shows, St Clair County, Illinois was the next St Louis area county on the list coming in at number 11, followed by Madison County, Illinois at #42, St Louis County at #47.

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St Louis Area Vacant Property Rate By County- 3rd Quarter 2017

St Louis Area Vacant Property Rate By County- 3rd Quarter 2017

More Than 100 Zombies In The St Louis Area!

“Zombie” is the name that has been given to vacant property which delinquent mortgages and destined for foreclosure, not but in foreclosure yet.  These properties are in a “no man’s land” so to speak, and often become an eyesore and a burden on the neighborhood as well as city located in.  As the table below shows (compiled from the ATTOM Data report), St Clair County, IL has the highest number of “Zombies” at 99 and also has the highest Zombie foreclosure rate at 14.39%.

St Louis Area Zombie Foreclosures By County- 3rd Quarter 2017

St Louis Area Zombie Foreclosures By County- 3rd Quarter 2017

 

 

 

St Louis Has Higher Standard of Living Than 94 Percent Of All Metro Areas

James Bullard, President, and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis gave a rather flattering report on St Louis during a presentation earlier this month.  Speaking at the Bi-State Development annual meeting, Mr. Bullard’s presentation, “Living Standards across U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas” compared income, home prices as well as other economic data of 381 MSA’s across the country.

Highlights from the presentation:

  • St Louis ranks 7th of the 53 largest MSA’s for the ratio of real per capita personal income to U.S. average with a 1.13 (table 1 below)
  • St Louis was one of just two cities (Nashville being the other) in the top 10 list for real per capita personal income with a cost of living less than the national average.  (St Louis is 90.6 – 100 is average – table 2 below)
  • Among all 381 MSA’s reviewed, St Louis ranks number 20 putting St Louis in the top 6 percent.

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Real income across large MSAs: the top 10

(table 1)

Real income across large MSAs: the top 10

Real income and RPP among the top 10

(table2)

Real income and RPP among the top 10

Real income across all MSAs

Real income across all MSAs
View “Living Standards Across U.S. MSA’s Report”

St Louis City & County See Home Sales Fall In September While Prices Spike

The city and county of St Louis, collectively, accounted for nearly two-thirds of the home sales in the St Louis core-market during the past 12 months. There were 16,790 homes sold in the city and county of St Louis during the period October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, 61.0% of the 27,517 total number of homes sold in the 5-County Core St Louis real estate market during the period.

Home prices spike in St Louis City/County…

The median price of homes sold during the 12-month period ending September 30, 2017, was $174,900, a rather modest, but sustainable, 2.94% from the prior 12 month period when the median price was $169,900 (see table below).  The number of homes sold during this period increased 4.31% to 16,790 homes from 16,097 during the prior 12-month period.

However, as our monthly chart below the table indicates, home prices for sales that closed during September spiked significantly to a median sold price of $185,000, a whopping month-over-month increase of 4.3% from $177,375 during August.  During September, the number of homes sold in the city and county of St Louis tumbled 17.8 percent from 1,662 in August to 1,366 homes sold in September.

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Remember, real estate is very seasonal!

As I have said many times, real estate is very seasonal so we cannot read much into month-over-month numbers.  However, as our chart below shows, over the past 5 years, St Louis home prices have peaked in June or July, then rescinded afterward.  Home sales generally follow suit, peaking around June and then declining afterward.  Last year we saw an uptick in home sales and prices (1% and 3.3% respectively) in August and then both declined afterward.

Is there a price correction coming in St Louis city and county?

What makes this year standout is September saw the median home price increase 4.3% to $185,000 from $177,375 the month before while home sales, on the other hand, fell 17.8% from the month before.  In addition, if you look at the “On Market Listing Data” below our chart, you will see the median price of active listings is even higher, at $195,900.

A couple of other things that stand out to me that make me believe we are going to see a price correction coming in St Louis city and county are:

  • There is currently a 4.34 month supply of homes for sale – while, historically this is not bad, compared with the more recent past, it’s high.  Also, it’s growing…as the first table below shows, there was just a 3.04 month supply as of September 30th, so the supply has increased by 1.3 months in the 24 days since.
  • The price per foot (best way to look at home prices) that homes sold during the past 12 months was $124 however, in September, when prices peaked, it jumped to $128/foot.  Active listings in October, are still at $128/foot…looks like wishful thinking on the part of sellers and listing agents to me.

St Louis City and County Home Prices and Sales – Oct 2016 Through Sept 2017 (Table)St Louis City and County Home Prices and Sales - Oct 2016 Through Sept 2017 (Table)

St Louis City and County Home Prices and Sales – Past 5 Years (Chart)

St Louis City and County Home Prices and Sales - Past 5 Years (Chart)

St Louis County Dominates St Charles County In The Luxury Home Market

Over the past 20 years, there have been 2.75 times more homes sold in St Louis County (250,486) than St Charles County (90,933).  Given that the population in St Louis County at the beginning of this period was 4 times that of St Charles County and, even today is nearly 2.6 times more, St Charles County has definitely held it’s own in the housing market.

St Louis County dominates the $1mil+ home market…

St Charles County may be keeping up with St Louis county in the overall housing market, however, when we look at the luxury home market, homes selling for $1 million or more, St Louis County dominates that market.  As the tables below show, in the past 20 years, there have been nearly 42 times as many $1mil+ homes sold in St Louis County as there were in St Charles County.  Over the past 20 years, there were 2,847 $1mil+ homes sold in St Louis County and just 68 in St Charles County during the period.

St Charles County – $1mil+ Homes – 1998-Oct 2017
St Charles County - $1mil+ Homes - 1998-Oct 2017

St Louis County – $1mil+ Homes – 1998-Oct 2017
St Louis County - $1mil+ Homes - 1998-Oct 2017

There shortage of inventory in the $1mil+ market…

As the tables above also reveal, there is no shortage of inventory in the luxury home market in St Louis County or St Charles County with a current supply of homes for sale of 16 months and 19 months respectively.

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – October 2017

Is there a market correction coming to the St Louis real estate market?  Find the answer, data behind it, as well as complete, and up to date, home price and sales data for the entire St Louis market, in our just released market update video.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See howFairCommissionRate.com

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.

You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on “Subscribe Free”.)

St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

 

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New Kitchens Help Sell Homes, But New Roof & Windows Get Better Return

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) just released it’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, in which they rank Kitchen Renovation and Upgrade at the top of their list for appeal to buyers as well as for most likely value to the home for resale.  Next on the list, in both categories, was Bathroom renovation.

According to the report:

  • The average cost of a kitchen upgrade was $35,000 and, on average, added $20,000 to the value of the home, for a recovery rate of 57% of the cost.
  • The average cost of a complete kitchen renovation was $65,000 and, on average, added $40,000 to the value of the home, for a recovery rate of 62% of the cost.

Exterior improvements appear to be the better investment, however, with a New Roof ranking #1 on the list for both buyer appeal as well as increasing resale value, followed by New Vinyl Windows.

According to the report:

  • The average cost of a New Roof was $7,500 and, on average, added $8,150 to the value of the home, for a recovery rate of 109% of the cost.
  • The average cost of New Vinyl Windows was $18,975 and, on average, added $15,000 to the value of the home, for a recovery rate of 79% of the cost.

Click HERE to view, or download, the complete 2017 Remodeling Impact Report

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St Louis Mortgage Delinquency Rate Continues To Fall

On a national level, according to a report released by Corelogic, the foreclosure rate is at a 10-year low and, for the most part, mortgage delinquency rates continue to fall as real estate markets around the country continue to improve.

The state of Missouri, as well as it’s two big metro areas, St Louis and Kansas City, are following suit with improvements in mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates.

State of Missouri- Mortgage Delinquency/Foreclosure Rates:

  • 30+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 5.3% of all mortgage loans a year ago to 4.5% for July 2017;
  • 90+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 2.0% a year ago to 1.5% in July 2017;
  • Foreclosure rate improved from 0.5% a year ago to just 0.3% in July 2017

St Louis Metro Area- Mortgage Delinquency/Foreclosure Rates:

  • 30+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 8.1% of all mortgage loans a year ago to 6.8% for July 2017;
  • 90+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 3.7% a year ago to 3.0% in July, 2017;
  • Foreclosure rate improved from 1.7% a year ago to just 1.2% in July 2017

Kansas City Metro Area- Mortgage Delinquency/Foreclosure Rates:

  • 30+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 5.0% of all mortgage loans a year ago to 4.1% for July 2017;
  • 90+ day mortgage delinquency rate improved from 1.9% a year ago to 1.4% in July, 2017;
  • Foreclosure rate improved from 0.5% a year ago to just 0.3% in July 2017

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Mortgage Fraud Risk Report Shows Missouri In Top Five Increased Risk States

CoreLogic just released it’s 2017 Mortgage Fraud Report in which Missouri made the list of the five states with the highest year-over-year risk growth for mortgage fraud.  The two types of fraud Missouri made the list on were Transaction fraud risk and Undisclosed Real Estate Debt fraud risk.

Below are some national highlights from the report (all figures are based upon 2nd quarter 2017 compared with 2nd quarter 2016):

  • Occupancy Fraud Risk increased nationally 7%
  • Transaction Fraud Risk increased 3.9%
  • Income Fraud Risk increased 3.5%
  • Property Fraud Risk decreased 1.9%
  • Undisclosed Real Estate Debt Fraud Risk decreased 2.7%
  • Identity Fraud Risk decreased 7.3%.

 

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St Charles County Shows Most Improvement In Housing Affordability Of Missouri Counties During 3rd Quarter

St Charles County had the biggest improvement in the housing affordability index during the 3rd quarter of this year of any major County in the state of Missouri, according to a newly released report from Attom Data Solutions.  St Charles County, with an affordability index of 109 (above 100 is more affordable than historic average, below 100 is less affordable), saw a 6.5% improvement in housing affordability from the prior quarter but a 2.4% decline from a year ago when the housing affordability index for St Charles County was 112.

The table below shows the housing affordability index for all of the major Counties in Missouri.  As it illustrates, the percentage of a person’s annual income needed to make the payments on a home vary from a low of 17.6% in the city of St Louis to a high of 36.4% in St Charles County.  The table also shows that home price growth is outpacing income growth in half the Counties listed.

Home Affordability In Missouri By County – 3rd Quarter 2017

Home Affordability In Missouri By County - 3rd Quarter 2017

Data Source: Attom Data Solutions – Copyright 2017 – St Louis Real Estate News – All Rights Reserved


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Number Of St Louis Homeowners In Negative Equity Position Declines Nearly 20 Percent In Past Year

In the St Louis area during the 2nd quarter of this year, there were 30,407 (5.4 percent of all residential properties) with negative equity, or underwater, according to a report just released by Corelogic.  This is a decline of nearly 20 percent (19.89%) from a year ago when there were 37,581 St Louis homeowners in a negative equity position.

In addition to the homeowners that are underwater, or in a negative equity position, during the 2nd quarter of 2017 there were 9.660 homeowners, or another 1.7 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, that were in a “near-negative” equity postion (they have less than 5% equity), according to the report.

Negative Equity and Underwater Defined
Two terms that we didn’t hear much prior to the real estate market bubble burst in 2008 were negative equity and underwater. However, after the bubble burst, we heard those terms a lot and now, even 9 years later, still are. So, what is considered “negative equity” or being “underwater” for a homeowner? Basically, in a nutshell, it means the homeowners current home loan balance is greater than the current value of their home leaving them in a position where they cannot sell their homes without “bringing money to the table.” For homeowners in a “near negative-equity position” they are better off since they have some equity (5% or less) but, since the cost of selling a home and relocating typically exceeds that amount of equity, those homeowners could face the plight of having to bring money to the closing as well, making it hard to sell for many homeowners in this position.

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St Louis Home Sales and Prices Continue On The Rise Throughout The Area

For the 12-month period ending August 31, 2017, as the table below shows, there were 36,753 homes sold in the St Louis MSA an increase in home sales of 3.68% from the prior 12-month period.  The median price of homes sold in the St Louis MSA during the past 12 months was $170,000, an increase in home prices of 2.92% from the prior 12 month period.

St Louis home sales and price summary by county (see tables below for details):

  • St Louis City and County
    • Home Sales Up 5.18%
    • Home Prices Up 3.31%
  • St Charles County
    • Home Sales Up 3.07%
    • Home Prices Up 6.77%
  • Jefferson County
    • Home Sales Up 3.56%
    • Home Prices Up 6.20%
  • Franklin County
    • Home Sales Up 9.21%
    • Home Prices Up 7.07%

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St Louis MSA Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Louis MSA Home Sales and Prices

St Louis County/City Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Louis County/City Home Sales and Prices

St Charles County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Charles Home Sales and Prices

 

Jefferson County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

Jefferson County Home Sales and Prices

Franklin County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

Franklin County Home Sales and Prices

Home Buyers; Do You Know What You’re Worth?

Home buyers for sale!  Buy one get one free!

Ok, it’s not quite like that but, if you are a home buyer, odds are you have been bought and sold whether you know it or not!  Does this sound surprising to you?  I’m guessing it probably does as I don’t think most home buyers realize that, just like the homes they are shopping for, there is a market for home buyers (and sellers, of course)  as well. I’m talking about “real estate leads”.

How home buyers are bought and sold…

Before I go further, or, especially if you are a real estate agent reading this, before you start hating on me thinking I’m bashing the idea of leads, I should explain that I have no issue with “leads”.   Most every real estate agent I know is always looking for leads or that next opportunity to do business with someone.  That is normal.  In fact, especially for new, or newer real estate agents, that have not yet established a large referral base, leads are critical to their survival in this business.  To go one step further and in the interest of full disclosure, my company, MORE, REALTORS®, is known to be one of the best companies in the St Louis area for generating leads or opportunities for our agents.

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St Louis Favorite Real Estate Search Site - Best Site to Search for St Louis Homes For Sale

Google search for “St Louis Favorite Real Estate Search Site” performed on 9-15-2017

So, back to how buyers are bought and sold and where my rub comes in.  You’ve probably heard of Zillow® and even though St Louis’ favorite real estate search site is our local site,  St Louis Real Estate Search (don’t take my word for it, Google it), many, many potential home buyers go to sites like Zillow®, as well as many other large national sites, to search for homes for sale.  What a lot of people don’t realize, or never give a thought to is those types of websites are not operated by real estate companies but instead are operated by companies which depend on, among other things, the sale of buyer leads to produce revenue.

I’m not bashing Zillow® here, or anyone else, just simply pointing out the difference between a website such as that one and a local one, such as StLouisRealEstateSearch.com that is operated by local real estate professionals.  

How does Zillow® sell the buyers that use their site?  Although there may be other ways, what seems to be the most popular way is their Premier Agent® agent program whereby agents pay to be featured next to listings for a particular zip code or many zip codes.  What’s wrong with this?  Nothing, from the standpoint of Zillow® or the agent buying the leads.  From the consumer standpoint though, I’m a strong advocate for informed consumers and, as such, think home buyers should realize that when an agent calls in response  to their inquiry on Zillow® that the only real “vetting” for the agent that got the lead was, for the most part, they are paying for leads in that zip code.  I have to say again, I’m not criticizing those agents or saying they are bad, in fact, many of them are very good.  However, I’m suggesting that you, as a home buyer, be informed and understand how and why they are the one calling you.

So how is this different from the way our company handles leads, or other local real estate companies?  Well, while I can’t speak for all companies, I can share how we do it at MORE…For starters, as I mentioned before, our site, StLouisRealEstateSearch.com, is owned and operated by a St Louis real estate company, MORE, REALTORS.  At MORE, only agents of good character, that conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner and are true professionals in every sense are invited to join our firm.  Next, we don’t sell our home buyer leads to any agent that pays the price.  Instead, when a home buyer makes an inquiry on StLouisRealEstateSearch.com, we match them up with one of our agents that is knowledgeable and experienced in the area, property type, etc that the home buyer is interested in and have that agent follow up.  This way we can ensure that a home buyer on our site is going to get the information they want from a local, real estate professional who obtained the lead by being qualified to properly serve the needs of the home buyer.

A final word, and where I do have a problem with Zillow® leads…

I would be remiss if I ended this article without sharing the fact that it has become very common for mortgage lenders, to pay for Zillow® leads for an agent.  The issue here is, the loan officer paying for the leads, naturally, expects the agent to refer any buyers that come off the leads back to them for their mortgage.  While on the surface this may not seem like a problem, real estate transactions are governed, in part, by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) which prohibits kickbacks.  In other words, a loan officer can’t pay for leads for an agent and expect the agent to refer the lead back to them for their loan without being in possible violation of RESPA.  You can reach more about this in an article I did previously about Zillow coming under fire by the CFPB over this issue here.

I don’t believe the loan officers paying for Zillow® leads for agents are bad.  Many of them are very good.  I just think it is good for consumers to know how it works, so if you make an inquiry on Zillow, just realize how and why the agent that called you got your info.  Then, later, if that agent makes a lender recommendation to you, realize that the lender he or she recommended may have been selected by them based upon that lender “paying for you” rather than simply based upon merit or qualifications of the loan officer.    Granted, the lender chosen by the agent to have pay for their leads may very well be the lender that the agent likes doing business with because of their skill and qualifications, but under RESPA the type of arrangement I described appears to be problematic.

My advice…

To home buyers:

  • Use a great real estate search site, such as StLouisRealEstateSearch.com, that is backed by local, real estate professionals ready, and qualified, to properly serve you.
  • Whether an agent contacts you from our site, Zillow®, or any other site, do your homework on the agent and have the agent share their qualifications and experience with you before deciding whether or not to have that agent represent you.
  • When you get a lender recommendation from your agent ask if the agent has any sort of financial relationship with that lender for starters, then check out the lender just like you did the agent.  By the way, if there is any sort of financial or business relationship between the agent and lender, that should be disclosed to you without asking.

To real estate agents:

  • Before you allow a lender, title company or another party to your real estate transactions to pay for leads for you, or provide services or gifts in exchange for business, get up to speed on RESPA.
  • Seek out a company like MORE, REALTORS, which produces enough leads, as well as has the tools, resources and coaching for agents to produce their own leads, thereby eliminating the need to enter into agreements with lenders that may put them at risk.

To loan officers:

  • Don’t buy into the “everyone’s doing it so it must be ok” mentality.  Pay close attention to the news coming out from Inman and other credible sources about the Zillow investigation by the CFPB as well as reports by the CFPB of fines being levied against loan officers and agents.
  • If your company is participating in buying leads for your agents, and particularly if they are telling you it’s ok to do, have them write the check to Zillow® instead of having you do it and then reimbursing you as part of your “expense reimbursement”.
  • Find ways to support agents and build your agent network that will not conflict with RESPA.  Contact me and I’ll share some ideas.
(Zillow® and Premier Agent® are registered trademarks of Zillow® – REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the National Association of REALTORS®)

Flipped Homes Accounted For About One In 13 Home Sales In St Louis During 2nd Quarter

Home flipping accounted for 7.3 percent of all the home sales in the St Louis MSA during the 2nd quarter of this year according to a report released today by Attom Data Solutions.  This is a decrease of  15% from the prior quarter when 8.6% of the homes sold were flips and is an increase of 10.6% from a year ago when 6.6% of the homes sold in St Louis were flips, according to the report.   For the purposes of this report, a “flip” was defined as a property that was sold in an arms-length sale for the second time within a 12-month period.

St Louis house flipping profit margins…

During the second quarter of 2017, the median purchase price of houses that were flipped was $75,000 and the median resale price, 163 days later on average,  was $129,900 for a gross profit margin of $54,900.  Before you get too excited though, remember this is just the gross margin between the price paid and the price resold at.  The actual net profit would be much lower as there would be costs related to the acquisition and sale of the property as well as rehab/repair costs and carrying costs, none of which is available publicly, so we can just talk about gross margins here.

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Home Flips in St Louis 2000-2017 – St Louis House Flipping

Home Flips in St Louis 2000-2017 - St Louis House Flipping

Data Source – AttomData Solutions – Copyright 2017- St Louis Real Estate News – All Rights Reserved

 

St Louis 5-County Core Market – Distressed Home Sales – Past 24 Months

(Click on chart for live chart with current data)
St Louis Area Distressed Home Sales (Foreclosures, REO's, Bank-Owned Properties, Short Sales) Past 2 Years - Chart

Like The Weather, St Louis Housing Market Cooling

As we approach the fall season (officially referred to as “autumn”, it begins September 22nd) and the temperatures cool, St Louis home prices and sales are beginning to cool as well.  There’s no reason for panic as this is normal due to the “seasonality” of the real estate market, however, we in the real estate business never like to see it arrive.

As the tables below for the St Louis MSA, as well as the counties that make up the St Louis real estate market, show, the  St Louis real estate market as a whole, is now a “cooling seller’s market” with the exceptions being St Louis County, which we have as a “hot seller’s market,”, and the St Louis City/County market we are calling a “sellers market”.

What this means for seller’s is, if your home is listed, not sold and you have considered a price reduction (or your agent has been pushing for one), my suggestion would be “the sooner the better“.   Prices are declining and will continue to slip as we go into the winter months and then recover and increase next spring.  So, unless you are willing to wait until spring to sell, the longer you wait to lower your price to a level that will cause buyers to react, the lower you will have to go most likely.  For home buyers, this means if you haven’t bought yet, now is a good time to buy as prices are easing and will continue to ease in the coming months.

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St Louis MSA Home Prices and Sales

St Louis County Home Prices and Sales St Charles County Home Prices and Sale Jefferson County and Franklin County Home Prices and Sales

If You Live In These Neighborhoods You Should Move Now!

If you own a home in Maplewood, Warson Woods, Shrewsbury, Crestwood, or Bridgeton you should sell now before it’s too late! No, there’s nothing bad about to happen to those areas (as far as I know) but these areas are currently suffering from a shortage of homes for sale and are failing to meet the markets current demand. Each of these areas has less than a one-month supply of homes for sale making this a great time to sell!

Below, is a list of the top 10 St Louis municipalities with a shortage of homes for sale but there are actually 23 cities in the St Louis area as of today with less than a 2-month supply of homes for sale.

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Top 10 St Louis Neighborhoods With A Shortage of Homes For Sale

(click the list for complete, up to date list)

St Louis Neighborhoods With A Shortage of Homes For Sale

Do Homes Sell Over Labor Day Weekend?

As we head into Labor Day weekend many people will be having friends and family to their homes for barbecues, parties and other get-togethers while other people may just be looking to a quiet weekend at home with family. In either event, if you have your home listed for sale, a showing, or showings, can be disruptive, to those plans and may prompt to you consider taking your home off the market for the weekend, or at least not permitting showings for the next 3 days. After all, it’s a holiday weekend, so what do you have to lose? People don’t buy homes over holiday weekends anyway. Or, do they?

To answer this I turned, as I often do, to STL Market Charts, the proprietary software developed by MORE, REALTORS for the use exclusively by their agents and clients, for access to the most comprehensive, accurate and timely St Louis real estate market data and information that is available. Good market information helps home buyers and sellers make smart decisions! I pulled data for listings that went under contract, or in other words, “sold”, over the 3-day Labor Day weekend last year as well as for the week before for comparison. I also pulled date for a Saturday-Monday period in mid-spring 2016, the height of the market, to see how it compared.

In the tables below, you will see that St Louis home sales over Labor Day weekend last year were definitely less than the prior weekend (about 40% less to be exact) however there were 137 homes sold over that weekend!  Even in mid-April, one of the best times for home sales, there were only about double the amount of homes sold (284) as Labor Day weekend.  So, while the holiday weekend may not produce quite as many home sales as a non-holiday weekend, it is definitely no slouch and it would be very inaccurate to say homes don’t sell over the holiday weekend.

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Labor Day Weekend 2016 Home Sales – St Louis 5-County Core Market

Labor Day Weekend 2016 Home Sales - St Louis 5-County Core Market

Weekend Before Labor Day Weekend 2016 Home Sales – St Louis 5-County Core Market

Weekend Before Labor Day Weekend 2016 Home Sales - St Louis 5-County Core Market

Mid-April Weekend 2016 Home Sales – St Louis 5-County Core Market

Mid-April Weekend 2016 Home Sales - St Louis 5-County Core Market

St Louis Neighborhoods That Sold The Fastest In The Last 30 Days

The St Louis real estate market typically hits its peak during the spring months then continues strong into summer. Come August, the housing market in St Louis tends to slow as families squeeze in vacations and school begins. After Labor Day we normally see an increase in activity until the market goes into something reminiscent of hibernation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Even though Labor Day is just a few days away, home sales that closed within the past 30 days show that homes are still selling quickly in St Louis. Below is our list of the 10 St Louis cities where homes sold the fastest in the past 30 days. As the list reveals, the city of Manchester, where homes that sold did so in a median time of only 11 days, came in at number 1 on the list and the median time to sell was only 15.5 days for the cities on the top 10 list.

St Louis Fastest Sold Cities

(click on table for complete and up to date information)



Home Sales and Prices Continue Upward Trend Throughout St Louis Area

For the 12-month period ending July 31, 2017, as the table below shows, there were 36,741 homes sold in the St Louis MSA an increase in home sales of 13.35% from the prior 12-month period.  The median price of homes sold in the St Louis MSA during the past 12 months was $170,000, an increase in home prices of 3.66% from the prior 12 month period.

St LouisHome sales and price summary by county (see tables below for details):

  • St Louis City and County
    • Home sales Up 6.06%
    • Home prices Up 4.79%
  • St Charles County
    • Home sales Up 4.43%
    • Home prices Up 6.88%
  • Jefferson County
    • Home sales Up 3.77%
    • Home prices Up 6.54%
  • Franklin County
    • Home sales Up 11.42%
    • Home prices Up 5.89%

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St Louis MSA Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Louis MSA Home Sales and Prices

Copyright 2017 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

St Louis County/City Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Louis County/City Home Sales and Prices

Copyright 2017 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

St Charles County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

St Charles Home Sales and Prices

Copyright 2017 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

 

Jefferson County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

Jefferson County Home Sales and Prices

Copyright 2017 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

Franklin County Home Sales and Prices

(click on table for complete and up to date information)

Franklin County Home Sales and Prices

Copyright 2017 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

Homes Listed By Agents Net The Owner More Than For Sale By Owner- Even After Deducting Commission

Inman News, a popular source of industry news for real estate agents, recently published an article title “Agents sell homes for more than FSBOs: study”. In this article, the author cited a study done by Collateral Analytics which revealed that homes sold by real estate agents sold for a mean of 5.5% more than FSBO’s (for sale by owner’s).

Being the usual skeptic that I am and also being unwilling to promote industry propoganda just because it sounds good, I decided to attempt to do an analysis of my own based upon the St Louis market. So, what I did, was pull the sales for the past 90 days from the tax records for St Louis County of homes sold in the $150,000 – $250,000 price range (the bulk of the market), then matched up the sales with MLS listings to find the ones that appear to have been listed with a REALTOR versus the ones that were not.

I ended up with 728 sales for that period in St Louis county, 654 of which (90%) appeared to have been sold using a REALTOR, with the other 10% selling without the benefit of a REALTOR. Granted, without checking each sale individually it is impossible to say whether all of the remaining 10% were in fact FSBO’s but I think I have pulled a large enough dataset to allow for some errors but still be accurate overall.

The data shows that homes that were listed with REALTORS sold for a median price of $195,000 which was a median of 118.5% of the county’s assessed value (which is what I used for the benchmark). The listings sold FSBO, sold for a median price of $190,000 and at a median of 111.5% of the county’s assessed value. So, homes listed with a REALTOR sold for 7% more than FSBO’s. Given that the typical listing commission is less than 7%, seller’s that list with agents come out ahead financially even after taking into account the commission and they avoid the hassle, headache and risk of doing it on their own.

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Why Would You Do Business With Movement Mortgage?

Unfortunately today, when we see a headline such as the one in this article, we almost immediately think something bad…its’ hard not too. Considering everything we witness in life and see in the media day in and day out, it’s become normal to think “what have they done?..what are you going to tell me that is bad about them? What’s the dirt?”.

Well, I’m happy to say, I don’t have anything bad to say, I don’t have any dirt on them nor scandalous information but, please don’t stop reading because of that.:)

In fact I’m going to praise Movement Mortgage and it’s CEO Casey Crawford, not for the job they do with providing home buyers mortgages, nor the service they provide their customers, although both are great, but for what they do to give back to their community. I know there are a lot of great companies out there that give back, but I must applaud Movement Mortgage for not only doing so but doing so in a manner that is sustainable, will change for the good a neighborhood and, most importantly, have a positive impact on thousands of kids in the coming years. So, I”m going to answer the question why I think you would do business with Movement Mortgage.

What I’m talking about is something I heard about the other day, not from Movement but from a mortgage industry blog, The National Real Estate Post (NRP). On this blog, Brian Stevens of NRP interviewed Casey Crawford, the CEO of Movement Mortgage discussing a variety of topics including interest rates, Zillow leads, etc, however, later in the interview Brian asked Casey about “Movement School”. This is where I learned that Movement Mortgage had contributed $13 Million to buy an old K-Mart shopping center and build a new public charter school in a neglected part of Charlotte, South Carolina, the city where Movement’s National headquarters is located.

Please take a few minutes and watch this short excerpt from the interview to learn more about the school including an approach to “giving back” that, done in this manner, is sustainable for generations to come and could perhaps be a model for others.

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In the interest of full disclosure, my firm, MORE, REALTORS, has an advertising agreement with Movement Mortgage. The reason we choose to do this is because the way they operate their business, treat their customers, employees and community in a way that is consistent with our philosophy and how we try to operate our business. This article is an editorial by me, based upon my opinions and not an advertisement, nor am I or my firm receiving any compensation for it. In fact, while I did ask Casey Crawford for permission to use his video interview, he had no idea what I intended to write and will have the opportunity to see this article for the first time when I published it, just like you.

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – August 2017

The St Louis real estate market continues to be strong… Get the latest information on St Louis area home prices, sales and the market, as well as why this information is important and even a quick example of how we use this type of information to help our clients, in our just released market update video.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See howFairCommissionRate.com

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.

You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on “Subscribe Free”.)

St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

 

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Should You Offer A Selling Agent Bonus When Selling Your Home?

This is another one of those topics where there are plenty of varying opinions however, for the sake of this article I’m going to take a look at it from purely a data-driven standpoint which, perhaps, is a little more objective approach.  While it’s not that common, especially in a sellers market like a huge chunk of the St Louis real estate market has experienced for some time now, there are currently just 185 active listings in the St Louis MSA offering an agent bonus so just a tad over 1 percent of the 15,546 active listings in the St Louis MSA. So, it’s pretty easy to establish that, currently, agent bonuses do not appear to be that common or popular.

But, do agent bonuses work?  Will my house sell faster, or for more money?

So let’s look at these questions now, all valid questions a seller may ask or consider when contemplating whether or not to offer the selling agent a bonus.  To do so, let’s again look at the data.  Since we have already identified the fact that listings with agent bonuses are a minuscule part of the overall supply of listings, it is really hard to do an “apples to apples” comparison of those listings with a bonus versus listings without, since the latter dwarfs the former in size as well as depth and breadth of market coverage, however, I’ll do my best.

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First, let’s stick with the St Louis MSA as a whole and see how things look.  As the tables below show, there were 36,734 homes sold in the past 12 months that did not offer an agent bonus.  These homes sold in a median time of 26 days, for a median of 96.88% of their original list price (98.36% of the list price at time of sale) and for a median price of $114.39 per square foot.  There were just 312 listings offering an agent bonus in the St Louis MSA sold within the past 12 months and those homes sold in a median time of 81 days on market, for a median of 92.27% of their original list price (97.38% of the list price at time of sale) and for a median price of $96.75 per square foot.

So, to summarize:

  • Listings without an agent bonus sold in 68% less time, received over 4% more of their original list price and sold for more than 18% more per square foot than listings with an agent bonus.

Clearly, from the data here, agent bonuses didn’t appear to benefit the sellers in any way.  Part of the reason I believe there is such a disparity here between with and without bonuses, is the reality is, (now I’m getting subjective) if an agent bonus is being offered it is usually an indicator of an underlying problem…an over-priced listing, poor location or condition, or something else that is impeding the sale.  Rather than wasting money on an agent bonus, I would suggest the sellers either apply that money toward fixing whatever the issue is with their home, including the list price.

 

Current Listings in St Louis MSA Offering Selling Agent Bonus

Current Listings in St Louis MSA Offering Selling Agent Bonus

Current Listings in St Louis MSA

Current Listings in St Louis MSA

Listings Sold In Past 12 Months in St Louis MSA Without a Selling Agent Bonus

Listings Sold In Past 12 Months in St Louis MSA Without a Selling Agent Bonus

Listings Sold In Past 12 Months in St Louis MSA With a Selling Agent Bonus

Listings Sold In Past 12 Months in St Louis MSA With a Selling Agent Bonus

Are Condos Or Homes A Better Investment In St Louis?

It’s no secret that here in St Louis we are little slow to embrace new trends or styles and that holds true when it comes to our housing market.  I remember when I first entered the real estate business in 1979 although condominiums had become quite popular in many metropolitan areas in the U.S. at the time, since the early 60’s when the popularity began to increase, they weren’t very common here.  I remember many early condominium developers in St Louis struggling to make a profit doing condo conversions (where multi-family properties were converted into the condominium form of ownership and units sold individually) as the pool of buyers was very limited.  Over time, condominiums have become much more popular in St Louis and we have seen some great developments, both new as well as rehab and conversion of old apartment buildings, warehouses, etc converted into condominiums that were well received by the St Louis market.

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Are St Louis condo’s a good investment?

One of the questions frequently asked by home buyers weighing their options between purchasing a condominium or a home, is which will be the better investment?  Granted, many people that choose to buy a condo are buying it because of the lifestyle most likely than from the investment perspective but, nonetheless, buyers still want to have some assurance that what they are considering doing makes sense.

There are many factors to take into account to determine which would be a better investment, a house or a condo, but for the sake of discussion here I’m focusing on the price per foot each have sold for over the past 5 years.  As the chart below illustrates, St Louis home prices as well as St Louis condo prices, have both enjoyed a steady upward trend over the past 5 years.  From 2012 through 2014, both condos and homes in St Louis, increased at about the same rate however, in 2015, the tend lines crossed paths and condo prices started increasing at a lessor rate while home prices continued at about the same rate, or maybe a little higher even, than before.  Digging into the numbers on the chart a bit (you can click on the chart to go to the “live” version which will reveal all pricing data as you move your mouse over the lines on the chart) we see:

  • In 2012, homes sold for $88/foot while condos sold for $91/foot
  • In 2015 both sold for $106/foot, an increase of 20.5% from 2012 for homes and an increase of 16.5% for condos
  • Thus far in 2017, homes have sold for $117/foot and condos for $113/foot.
  • Since 2012 St Louis metro home prices have increased 33% while St Louis Metro area condo prices have increased 24%.
  • Based upon this data, homes have yielded a better return than condos and, of late, the price trend for homes has been somewhat better than condos.
  • Condos are a lifestyle decision therefore, the lower return may be a secondary consideration.  In any event, condos certainly appear to be a safe investment in St Louis even if homes may have a higher potential return on investment in general.

St Louis MSA Condo Prices vs Home Prices – Past 5 Years

St Louis Condominium Prices VS Home Prices - Past 5 Years