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St. Louis Real Estate Search

 

Home Loan Origination Data Showing Impact Of Interest Rates On Refi’s But Not Home Purchases In St Louis

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and hit their highest level in seven years toward the end of May, however, the higher rates don’t appear to be having an effect on the number of people in St Louis obtaining home loans yet.  The table below is based upon the latest data from ATTOM Data Research, just released yesterday, and shows that there were 6,830 home purchase mortgage loans obtained in the St Louis metro area during the 1st quarter of this year.  This represents an increase of nearly 10% from the number of home purchase mortgage loans that were obtained in St Louis a year ago.  Even if we go back to the first quarter of 2016, when the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate was below 4%, there were just 6,093 home purchase loan originations, 12.1% fewer than the most recent quarter.

The number of St Louis homeowners refinancing their home mortgages during the first quarter of this year dropped over 10% from a year ago and was down over 15% from the first quarter of 2016.



Continue reading Home Loan Origination Data Showing Impact Of Interest Rates On Refi’s But Not Home Purchases In St Louis

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – June 2018

There is a lot of activity in the St Louis real estate market!  The inventory of homes for sale in St Louis remains low,  interest rates have dropped a little over the past couple of weeks, home prices are beginning to soften as we move beyond the peak spring market and demand is still strong.

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 how- FairCommissionRate.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

 

Do Home Prices In A Growth Market Like Wentzville Perform Better Than An Established Market?

One of the things that often attract homebuyers to a new or expanding area is the availability of new homes at affordable prices.  This is something that is hard to find in older areas that have mature real estate markets due to the lack of available ground and the cost of the ground when it does become available.  This is, no doubt, one of the things that have been responsible for the population growth in Wentzville in spite of the fact it is in the farthest west most area of St Charles County.  As a result, the city of Wentzville has seen its population grow from 5,733 in 1998 to 39,414 currently, a growth of 587% over the 20 year period.

One topic that often comes up in conversation about new and emerging markets, is whether homebuyers will benefit in those areas, as they mature and grow, from a higher appreciation rate than a typical established market.  In order to examine this, I’m going to compare the Wentzville housing market with that of Ballwin, a municipality in St Louis County similar in size to Wentzville, with a current population of 30,161 which is just 15% greater than the 1998 population of 26, 205.




Wentzville Real Estate Listing Info & Resources:

Wentzville Homes For Sale
Wentzville Homes Sold in Past 12 Months

Continue reading Do Home Prices In A Growth Market Like Wentzville Perform Better Than An Established Market?

House Flipping Volume In St Louis Down From Year Ago

During the first quarter of this year, there were 600 home “flips” in St Louis or about 8.6% of the homes sold in St Louis, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  This rate of flipped homes is up 5% from the prior quarter, however, is down 7% from a year ago. The decline certainly doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of interest by investors in flipping, it has more to do with a low inventory and declining mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates reducing the opportunities.

What is a “flipped” home?

In the report issued by ATTOM Data Research, any home or condo that was sold during the first quarter of this year in an arms-length sale that had previously had an arms-length sale within the prior 12 months as well, was considered a “flip”.  Since homeowners don’t tend to buy a home only to turn around and resell it within a year, when this does occur it is typically the result of an investor buying a property, renovating it, then reselling it.

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Home Sales And Price Trends Between St Louis Area Counties

The five counties I refer to as the “St Louis Core Market“, which include the city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin, account for over 90% of the home sales in the 9 Missouri Counties that are part of the St Louis MSA.  This is why I typically focus on those five counties when reporting real estate market stats as they give the “big picture” view of the St Louis market but in a more accurate way than the St Louis MSA stats.

The counties making up the St Louis core market vary significantly in everything from socioeconomics and demographics to housing style, quality of public schools and home prices.  As a result, the counties respond somewhat differently to market conditions, whether good or bad.  To show how they compare, I produced a chart depicting home sales and price trends for the past 3 years.  Which county fared the best over the past few years depends on which market statistic we rank them on.

Franklin County is the clear winner for home sales trend….

As the first chart below illustrates, the home sales trend for Franklin County has been the best, with a 39% increase over the past 3 years.  For the 12-month period ended June 2015 there were 889 homes sold in Franklin County and for the 12-month period ended May 2018, there were 1237 homes sold.

St Louis City and St Charles County are at the top for home price appreciation…

The bottom chart reflects the median price per foot for the homes sold in each county and shows that, over the 3-year period, the city of St Louis had the highest increase in home prices at 13.9% followed by St Charles County with a 12.7% increase.  Interestingly enough, Franklin County, with the largest increase in home sales, had the second-lowest increase in home prices during the period.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use 12 p.m. As A Deadline When Making An Offer On A Home

When you make an offer on a home, it is normal to include a deadline for the seller to accept the offer by otherwise the offer dies.  Deadlines are also used when sellers and buyers make counter-offers and negotiate building inspection resolutions.  These deadlines typically include both a date and time.  Unfortunately, many real estate agents seem to like using “12 p.m.” as a deadline which, personally, I think is a bad idea and should not be done.

Why is 12 p.m. as a deadline bad to use?

For starters, I’m a big fan of trying to keep things as clear as possible and avoid the potential of conflict whenever I can.  Therefore, I like using contract terms that are clear and precise as opposed to those that are vague and ambiguous.  Given that “12 p.m.” is, at best, a confusing term that is subject to interpretation and can be interpreted to mean “noon” or “midnight” and, at worst, doesn’t refer to anything “real” at all, it sounds like something good to avoid.

Noon and 12 p.m. are the same, right?

Let’s break it down a little to answer that question and start with what the “p.m.” in 12 p.m. stands for.  P.M. is an abbreviation for post meridiemwhich is Latin for “after noon”.  So, when is noon?  That is simple, right?  It’s right after 11:59 a.m. and right before 12:01 p.m., correct?  Assuming you agree with that, then how can 12 p.m. be “12 after noon”? How can it be “after” that moment in time when it is occurring at the same time as the event it is to be after?

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What about 12 a.m. and midnight, they’re the same, right?

Basically, we run into the same issue as above, we are trying to identify a moment in time by referencing it’s relationship to that moment.  But, for the sake of this conversation, let’s break this down a bit by looking at the definition of a.m.  A.M. is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, which is Latin for “before noon”.  Now, you could argue that since midnight is 12 hours before noon that the term 12 a.m. would be the accurate time for midnight. Not so fast though, because using the same argument would mean that 12 p.m would also be the accurate term for midnight since it is 12 hours “after noon”.  See the problem?

What does the “official timekeeper” for the United States Government say on this topic?

The Time and Frequency Division of  The National Institute of Standards and Technology (part of the U.S. Department of Commerce)  maintains the standard for frequency and time interval for the United States and provides official time to the United States.  On their FAQ’s page, is the question “Are noon and midnight referred to as 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?” Their answer is “This is a tricky question because 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. are ambiguous and should not be used.

There’s an EASY Answer!

To avoid the confusion and conflict that may come as a result of using 12:00 p.m., 12 noon, 12:00 a.m., or 12 midnight as a deadline in a contract, just simply pick a time that is clear such as anything from 12:01 p.m. through 11:59 p.m. or 12:01 a.m. through 11:59 a.m.  Then, there is no confusion and easy for all the parties to be on the same page.

St Louis Area New Home Construction In Past 12 Months At Same Pace As Prior 12 Overall; St Charles County Down Nearly 20 Percent Though

As the table below shows, for the most recent 12-months that new home building permit data is available for from the Home Builders Association of St Louis & Eastern Missouri, there have been 4,610 new home building permits issued in the 7 counties they report on.  This is just slightly less than was issued for the prior 12-month period ending April 2017, when there were 4,625 permits issued.

St Charles County New Home Building Permit Trend Continues to Fall…

There were 1,555 new home permits issued in St Charles County in the most recent 12-month period, a decline of 18.54% from the prior 12-month period.  Year to date through April, there have been 447 new home building permits issued in St Charles County, a decline of 27% from the same time last year and a 35.2% decline from the same time in 2016.

St Charles County housing market doesn’t appear to be the problem

The overall real estate market in St Charles County is doing pretty well with 6,013 homes sold during the 12-month period ended April 30, 2018.  That is a 2.5% decline from the prior 12 month period but still shows the demand is there meaning that decline in new home building permits is most likely not market driven but perhaps more related to lack of available ground.

  

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Continue reading St Louis Area New Home Construction In Past 12 Months At Same Pace As Prior 12 Overall; St Charles County Down Nearly 20 Percent Though

Jefferson & Franklin County Zips Move To Top of Fastest Selling Zip Code List

Typically, Franklin County and Jefferson County home sales stats tend to lag behind their “closer in” neighbors of St Louis and St Charles County, however, when it comes to fastest-selling zip codes, the two outlying counties claim the number 1 and number 2 spots, respectively.  As the table below shows, homes in the 63072 zip code area (Robertsville) of Franklin County are selling the fastest, based upon average days on market of existing listings which stands at 24 days as of this morning.  With an average time on the market of 33 days, the High-Ridge area zip of 63049 in Jefferson County comes in at #2.

Of the top-ten fastest selling zip-codes, 5 are in St Louis County, 2 in Jefferson County, and then 1 each in Franklin and St Charles County as well as the city of St Louis.

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Continue reading Jefferson & Franklin County Zips Move To Top of Fastest Selling Zip Code List

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Highest Level In Over Seven Years

Freddie Mac has been tracking average mortgage rates since 1971 through their Primary Mortgage Market Survey® and yesterday it revealed that, as the chart below shows, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 4.6%, the highest rate in over 7 years.  The last time mortgage interest rates were this high was back on May 5, 2011 when the 30-year rate hit 4.71%.

Even with the recent increase, mortgage interest rates are still reasonably low from a historical perspective.  As the second chart below illustrates, 20 years ago the rates were around 8 percent.  Mortgage interest rates then spent nearly a decade around the 5% – 6% range before beginning the descent after the housing bubble burst in 2008.

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Mortgage Interest Rates – 2018- Chart

Mortgage Interest Rates - 2018- Chart 

Mortgage Interest Rates – 1995 -2018- Chart

Mortgage Interest Rates - 2017- Chart 

 

Great Scott! The Scott’s Are Buying Out St Louis!

According to a report just released by ATTOM Data Research, during 2017, there was a 40 percent increase in homes purchased by people with a family name of Scott from the year before making Scott the family name with the largest increase in home purchases in the St Louis MSA during 2017.

This increase of home purchase by “Scott’s” was the largest increase in St Louis home purchases for a family name during 2017.   At the other end of the spectrum, the family name of “Martin” saw the largest decline in home purchases with a 26% decline in homes purchased by “Martin’s” in 2017 from the year before.

For Missouri, the largest increase in 2017 was for the family name of “Sanders” with a 38% increase in home purchases during 2017 from the year before.

Nationally, Lin was the family name with the largest increase in home purchases during 2017, with a 30% increase in home sales to families with the last name of Lin over the year before.

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St Louis’ Home Purchases By Family Name

St Louis' Home Purchases By Family Name

 

St Louis Ranked 8th Most Affordable Metro Area To Buy A Home

According to a report just released by HSH, St Louis is the 8th most affordable metro area to buy a home in and one of just 17 metro areas where an income of less than $50,000 per year will buy a median-priced home.  The report is based upon data from the 1st quarter of this year when the median-priced home in the St Louis MSA was $162,400 (a 4.84% increase from a year ago) and the average mortgage interest rate was 4.41% (an increase of 0.36% from the previous quarter) resulting in a house payment (principal and interest portion only) of $933.44.   Depending upon the loan type and credit-worthiness of buyer, it will vary, but under typical circumstances, a person with an annual salary of about $40,000 would qualify for the house payment on a median-priced home in St Louis.

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Should Home Buyers Use Price Escalation Clauses?

St Louis home buyers today face stiff competition from other buyers and often find themselves in a “multiple bid” situations where a seller has several offers to consider.  This has led many buyers agents to suggest the use of “escalation clauses” by their clients in order to increase their chances of success.  However, not everyone in real estate industry agrees that this is a good practice and some think it is doesn’t serve the buyer well.  I tend to fall into the latter camp as I am not a fan of escalation clauses for buyers, however, in the right situation and when done properly, I do believe they could benefit a buyer.

What’s wrong with escalation clause use by buyers?

In the interest of brevity, which, is not my strong suit, I’m going to simply make a list of the issues:

  • If the buyer is willing to do an escalation clause, they are obviously willing to pay more than they are offering.  Given that in the scenario that would give rise to an escalation clause being considered probably means the buyer gets one shot at it, it may make more sense for the buyer to make their best offer from the start.
  • Buyer is “showing their hand” to the seller.  The escalation clause reveals to the seller the true value the buyer sees in the house and there is nothing that prevents the seller from using this to their benefit.  For example, if buyer’s offer if $205,000 but the escalation clause indicates that buyer will beat any offer by $1,000 up to a maximum of $210,000, guess what my advice to the seller will get in terms of a counter offer?  You guessed it, $210,000.
  • Seller may question buyers approach and choose to deal with a buyer that appeared more forthcoming.  This one comes straight from experience on the sellers’ side of things on some deals.  Some sellers are a little put off by buyers using escalation clauses feeling like they are willing to pay more but trying to take advantage and buy it cheaper if possible.  If there is another “clean” deal that is close in price, the seller may choose to try to make a deal with them first.  There is also some uncertainty for the seller as to whether the escalation clause buyer will actually agree to the increased price if it kicks in.

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St Louis Foreclosure Rate Drops Over Twenty-Percent In Past Year

The number of St Louis homeowners losing their homes in foreclosure declined to a total of 700 foreclosure actions in the St Louis MSA, according to the latest report from ATTOM Research.  Aprils foreclosure rate of 1 in every 1,768 housing units in the St Louis MSA is a decline of 22.82% from the rate a year ago and a decline of 9.68% from the foreclosure rate for March 2018.

As the table below illustrates, of the 15 counties in the St Louis MSA covered, all but three have seen a decline in foreclosure rates from a year ago (and all of those double-digit declines at that) and two-thirds of the counties saw a decline from the month before.

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St Louis MSA Foreclosures – April 2018

St Louis MSA Foreclosures - April 2018

 

 

Where St Louis Area Homeowners Are Moving

The St Louis metro area has seen some population growth over the last few decades but not nearly as much as many other areas.  From 1975 until last year, the population of the St Louis MSA increased 12.3% from 2,500,100 in 1975 to 2,807,338 in 2017.  Of the major counties in Missouri that make up the St Louis MSA, St Charles County gained the most population increasing 248% during the same period.  As the table below shows, 4 of the 5 major counties covered saw an increase in population from 1975 to 2017, although St Louis County’s increase was a rather lackluster 3.3%.  Even St Louis County’s modest increase looks good when compared with the city of St Louis that lost 40% of its population during the period.

City of St Louis’ loss is St Charles County gain…

As the table below illustrates, St Charles County gained 281,700 people from 1975 through 2017 while the city of St Louis lost 205,474.  Granted, not everyone that left the city of St Louis moved to St Charles County, but there is a lot of “shuffling of the population” that occurs here with movement from one area to another within St Louis as the population shifts.  As a result, we end up with things such as the triple-digit increase in population in St Charles County and the city of St Louis losing nearly half of its population, while the overall metro area just had a modest gain.

How we compare to others…

To see how St Louis fared with other similar-sized areas, I checked the population history for the Davidson County Tennessee (Nashville) and Mecklenburg County North Carolina (Charlotte).  Below is what I found:

  • Davidson County TN49.5% population growth from 1975 to 2017 increasing from 462,600 to 691,243.
  • Mecklenburg County  NC185% population growth during the same period increasing from 377,400 to 1,076,837

So, while smaller, St Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin County’s population growth outpaced Davidson County and just St Charles County managed to outperform Mecklenburg County.

In the coming days, I’ll take a look at how population change has affected home prices and sales.

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St Louis Population – 1975 – 2017

(click on the table below for live charts showing complete data for each area)

St Louis Population - 1975 - 2017

 

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – May 2018

The low inventory of homes for sale in many areas and price ranges throughout St Louis continues to plague the St Louis housing market and is causing home sales to run behind last years sales.  Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers 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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First-Time Homebuyers; 5 Things You Should Do BEFORE You Buy

Just over 1 of every three (34%) homebuyers in 2017 were first-time homebuyers according to the  With the growing population of millennials reaching an age where many are buying homes, I expect to see the percentage of first-time homebuyers increase over the next couple of years.

Many first-time homebuyers find the home buying process to be a little intimidating which is largely due to just lacking the experience of having done it before and the knowledge that is gained from the experience.  However, with a time spent getting educated on the process, the fears can be calmed and the home buying experience can be a great one for a first-time buyer!

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5-Things First-Time Homebuyers Should Do BEFORE Buying A Home…

(the summary is below but you can see the complete report by clicking the link above)

Step 1 Ask a real estate professional if current market conditions make now a good time to buy a home?
The real estate market suffered a blow when the housing bubble burst in 2008 but has now recovered and the talk for the past couple of years has been rising home prices and a shortage of homes for sale.  So does this make now a bad time to buy?
Step 2 Ask yourself these 3 questions to determine if now is the right time for YOU to buy?

  1. Do you want the responsibility?  Home-ownership does bring with it the responsibility to care for it and maintain it (there is no longer a landlord to call to take care of things for you); you are responsible for maintaining insurance coverage on the home, paying property taxes, subdivision association fees and, of course, your house payments on time.
  2. Are you financially ready?  DON’T BUY if you have not saved enough money to make a reasonable down-payment, pay closing costs, moving costs, etc., and still have some money left in the bank for “reserves”. Also, make sure your income is adequate to support the house payment you are taking on and if there is any doubt then either don’t buy or buy a lower-priced house, you can always move-up later down the road.

Is your income stable? If you get to this point and feel you are OK and can afford to buy a home, step back and look at the source of your income and consider how solid you think it is.
Step 3 Educate yourself on the market, the process and your rights.
Even though you will be using professionals in your home purchase and, particularly if you follow the advice in this report, will select good ones, you still should educate yourself about the process to give you a better understanding as you go through it. Plus, by knowing your rights and how the deal should go, you will notice when something is not right or you are not be treated properly.

Don’t buy before checking out the resources below:

Step 4 Pick a REALTOR® to work with you.
If you think the timing is right for you to buy a home, then the next step is to select a REALTOR® to work with you to help guide you through the process and avoid the “landmines” that are out there. Many buyers want to go it alone for a while and there are plenty of websites out there where you can search for homes for sale from now to eternity, you will save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by simply utilizing the services of a professional REALTOR® from the outset.

7 Questions you MUST ask an agent before choosing one

Step 5 Get pre-approved for a home loan
This step is important for several reasons: One, it confirms to you that you do have the financial resources to buy a house in the price range you are interested in and, two, when you provide the pre-approval letter to the seller with your offer it shows you are not only a serious buyer, but that you should be able to get a loan to buy their house. This gives you a leg-up in your negotiations over a buyer that is not as prepared.

(See The COMPLETE Report by Clicking the Link Below)

5-Things First-Time Homebuyers Should Do BEFORE Buying A Home…

 

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – April 2018

A low inventory of homes for sale is making it tough on the St Louis real estate market with sales for the first quarter of this year lagging behind last year. St Louis home prices, on the other hand, continue to rise as do the number of “seller’s markets” in St Louis. In fact, as the video shows, the list of buyers markets in the St Louis area is short…in fact the shortest list I can remember.   Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers 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 Home Construction Activity Up Slightly In St Louis Area – St Charles County Losing Steam

New home construction, based upon building permits issued, is up overall for the 7-county area covered in St Louis by the Home Builders Association of St Louis and Eastern Missouri (HBA). For the most recent 12-month period reported for this area, through the end of February 2018, there have been 4,720 single family permits issue versus 4,579 for the prior 12-month period, an increase of 3.08%.

As the table below shows, 5 of the 7 counties reported on by the HBA have seen double-digit increases in new home construction during the past 12-months, Lincoln County and St Charles County being the exceptions.  St Charles County has suffered the most, with a double-digit decrease in home sales.  The St Charles decline is likely at least partially contributed to a lack of developed lots.

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New Home Building Permits – St Louis Area

New Home Building Permits - St Louis Area

When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Home?

If I had a dollar for everytime someone asks me when is the best time to sell their home I would probably not have to be writing this article today and instead would be relaxing somewhere warm :).  My initial answer, while somewhat snarky, is always the same “when you have a buyer“.  Actually though, just because there is a buyer doesn’t mean you are realizing the best price and terms as may be possible.

It’s not really possible to be totally objective when analyzing this as no more which data I choose to use or consider is going to make it subjective, but I think I have come up with a reasonable criteria to base my answer on.  For the purposes of this article, below are the criteria I selected to include in my analysis and why:

  • Sold Price Per Foot– For an overall market view, price per foot is a good way to look at a trend.
  • Days on Market – The time it takes a home to sell is certainly indicative of how good or bad a current market may be.
  • % of Original List Price Sold For – This is a very good indicator of the market for when sellers are able receive close to their original asking price it is typically indicative of a good market (and a good listing agent that knows the benefit of properly pricing a home at the start)
  • % of Current List Price Sold For – Like the previous one, and is somewhat an indicator of the strength of the current market but is probably more driven by a seller finally facing reality and getting the price to the point where their home sold.

I then created the chart below, using software created by MORE, REALTORS for the St Louis 5-County core market for the past 24 months and then plotted the data above.  As the chart illustrates, during the past 12 months, one clear “winner” stands out when all the planets aligned (or data) to deliver the best result to the seller and it happend with closings that occured in June 2017.   Therefore, the best month to sell your home is June, right?  Wrong!  Considering the average sale takes about 5 – 6 weeks to close, and these closings occured in June, the majority of these homes most likely went under contract for sale in April and May, with the majority in May.  So, not surprising, since I believe most agents would give this answer without even doing research, but the spring market, April and May is the best time to sell your home.  If you look back to June 2016 on the chart, while the % of original price didn’t fare as well as in 2017, June 2016 was defiinitely a winner month for sellers as well!

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When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Home? (Chart)

(click on chart for current, live chart)When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Home? (Chart)

So does this mean you shouldn’t sell your home in the winter?

One downside to conversations like this is it can create a certain panic among homeoweners that are considering, or need to sell, but have missed the spring season.  Does this mean they should wait unitl next spring? While there’s a lot to take into consideration, the short answer is no, you don’t have to wait until spring.  There are advantages to selling in “non-peak” seasons, including less competition, not to mention, if you are buying another home, you will have a better chance of getting a good deal.  

Therefore, the perfect scenario is to put your home on the market for sale April 1st, sell it, close it and live in temporary housing.  Then, December 1st, start the search for your new home. :)

 

St Louis Home Prices Increase 3.8 Percent In Past Year While Sales Increase About Half As Much

Home prices in the St Louis 5-County core market increased 3.67 percent in the 12-month period ending February 28, 2018 to a median price of $186,500 from $179,900 for the prior 12-month period.  During the same period, home sales in the St Louis 5-County core market increased 1.89% to 27,839 homes sold from 27,323 homes sold during the prior 12-month period.

As our table below shows, there were 1,489 homes sold during February 2018, and are currenlty 4,921 homes listed for sale, computing into a 3.3 month supply of homes for sale, continuing to favor sellers due to the low supply.  A supply of around 6 months would normally result in a balanced market not favoring sellers or buyers, the likes of which we have not seen in some time.

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St Louis 5-County Core Market* Home Sales And Prices

(click the table below to be taken to current, complete report)St Louis Home Prices and Sales

*  St Louis City and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin

Is The Listing Agent Required To Inform Your Buyers Agent Of Multiple Offers?

In today’s low-inventory real estate market here in St Louis, it’s common for would-be buyers to miss out on a house they want even when they make a strong offer only to find out they got beat out by another buyer offering a higher price or better terms.  This is particularly true for people trying to buy a foreclosure with increasing demand and decreasing supply, it is not uncommon to have 5, 10 or even more offers for the newly listed foreclosed property.

Does the listing agent have to inform you of multiple offers?

No one likes to get beat out, particularly on the house of their dreams, so the whole offer and negotiation process can get a little emotional at times.  This is particularly true when a buyer, who didn’t even know they were in competition, finds they were beat out by another buyer.  This almost always results in the losing buyer asking their agent why they didn’t know there were other offers.  This can even get contentious between the agents as well, with the buyers agent often feeling “wronged” if the listing agent didn’t make them aware that they had multiple offers.

There is not one black and white answer as to whether a buyer should be informed they are in a multiple offer situation or not.  We have to dig in a little deeper.  For starters, if the listing agent is not a REALTOR® then they are just obligated to follow Missouri license law as well as the rules and regulations established by the Missouri Real Estate Commission, both of which are silent on the specific issue of multiple offers.  However, the license law and rules are very clear about the fiduciary obligation an agent has to a client, therefore, a listing agent is bound to act in the best interest of their seller.  Therefore, if the seller does not want the listing agent to reveal the existence of multiple offers to buyers, then it is not in the sellers best interest for the listing agent to reveal it. If the listing agent is a REALTOR® (as are the majority of real estate agents in the St Louis area) then, in addition to state license law and rules, they are also bound to abide by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) code of ethics.  The code of ethics, specifically standard of practice 1-15 states “REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property.”  The key here is “with sellers’ approval”, so, without the sellers approval, the listing agent should not reveal that multiple offers exist to your buyers agent.

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Don’t I get a chance to increase my offer? What about “highest and best”?

Before I go further, I should mention that it is my belief, the existence of multiple offers is revealed by the listing agent (presumably with the sellers approval) many more times than it is not as, normally, it is generally in the sellers best interest to let buyers know so the “bidding war” can start.

So, speaking of bidding war, the next thing that comes up from buyers in multiple bid situations is the question as to whether they will get a chance to increase their offer.  As in the question of whether to reveal multiple offers in the first place, it comes down to what is in the sellers best interest and what the seller has instructed the listing agent to do.  Often, particularly on foreclosures, listing agents will employ a “highest and best” strategy in which they generally go back to all buyers that submitted an offer and give them an opportunity to increase their offer realizing they will probably just have one shot at it. Some buyers like this as they have an opportunity to sharpen their pencil and others deplore it feeling like they are bidding against themselves, in any event though, this tactic often works in producing a very good offer for the seller.  However, there are many sellers that, in a multiple offer situation, will not go this route and may choose to negotiate with a particular buyer without informing the other buyers.  This is often the result of a buyer standing out, usually with the offered price but also terms that the seller finds attractive, such as perhaps a cash deal, short closing, etc.  As a result, the listing agent will often go back to one buyers agent and negotiate without going back to the others which, as long as he is acting in the sellers best interest, is fine.

My advice to buyers

Everything I have discussed here are reasons why, when you choose an agent to represent you as a buyer, you want to use better criteria than “they are the cousin of a friend”, “they are a neighbor”, etc.  Your buyers agent plays a much more significant role than just “showing you houses” and their experience, knowledge, negotiation skills, reputation within the industry, relationships with the listing agents in the areas you are looking in, etc, will all be critical in the process.  A strong buyers agent can make the difference between you suffering many disappointments and securing your dream home on the first try!

At MORE, REALTORS, we have some of the finest agents in town and invite you to check us out.  STLRE.com

Do Open Houses Sell Homes?

Ask a dozen real estate agents what their thoughts are on the effectiveness, or importanced, of open houses for sellers and you will likely get about a dozen different opnions.  Opinions from agents on open houses include: open houses are vital to properly exposing the listing to the market; they are good practice for newer agents; they are a great opportunity to meet potentital buyer clients; they are done to appease a seller; they are a security risk to the homeowner.

So, do open houses sell homes?  Are open houses necessary to sell your home?

Personally, I don’t believe open houses are necessary to properly expose a seller’s home to the market, but instead gives easy access to nosy neighbors, people looking for remodeling ideas as well as those folks that just love filling their Sunday afternoon looking and dreaming about homes.  My thought is, if a buyer is genuinely interested in your home, particularly in a low-inventory market like we are in, they will do whatever it takes to get an appointment to look at the home.  in addition, given that we are talking about a big-ticket item, no one is likely to “impulse-buy” a home like they might some new gizmo or gadget they see while wandering through Costco.

Whatever the reason is though, open houses are fairly popular, particularly in St Charles.

I just did some quick stats to see how many open houses are currently scheduled for this weekend by county.  As my list below shows (by the way, you can click on the links below to go to a live, interactive map showing all the open houses this weekend) 22% of the active listings in St Charles County have an open house scheduled in the next 7 days.  For the St Louis Metro area as a a whole (the St Louis MSA), 13% of the active listings have an open house scheduled in the coming 7 days.

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Open Houses Scheudled During The Next 7 Days By County

(Click on County name to see live, interactive map showing all the open houses this weekend)

St Louis Open Houses

St Louis Open Houses By County

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – March 2018

The real estate market in St Louis, after the first two months, continues to see good price appreciation with home sales on about the same pace as this time last year.  Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers 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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Is The West St Louis County Luxury Market Slowing Down?

My business partner was out yesterday previewing homes in West St Louis County and had a discussion with a listing agent in the area that mentioned the large supply homes for sale in the upper price ranges.  Considering about all we hear about today is how there is a shortage of inventory and homes are selling so fast, this conversation about growing inventory seemed out of sorts.  Before I go further, I should mention that the “mainstream” market is almost always going to perform better than the luxury market for a variety of reasons including the size of the buyer pool for that market.

To see how the luxury home market in West St Louis County is performing, I pulled stats for 3 west county locations: Wildwood, Chesterfield and Town & Country, and then for Clayton as a comparison.  As the tables below illustrate, with the exception of Chesterfield which has just a 6-month supply of homes for sale, the other 3 areas are clearly buyers’ markets.  Clayton has an 18-month supply, Town & Country 20, and Wildwood has a 22-month supply of homes for sale in the $800,000+ price range.

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Chesterfield Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

(click table for complete, live data)Chesterfield Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

Town & Country Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

(click table for complete, live data)

Town & Country Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

Clayton Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

(click table for complete, live data)

Clayton Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

Wildwood Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data

(click table for complete, live data)

Wildwood Luxury ($800k+) Current Listing Data
As the chart below illustrates, change in the price per foot that homes in this price range have sold for over the past 5-years varies fairly significantly between the areas we are looking at.  Luxury home prices have increased the most in Chesterfield with prices rising from $200 per foot in 2013 to $232 per foot thus far in 2018, an increase of 16% in that 5-year period.  The Clayton market has fared well too with home prices increasing 12% during the period from $280/foot to $314/foot.  Town & Country saw just a modest 1.8% increase during the period and Wildwood actually lost ground with the median price per foot dropping about 1 percent from $175/foot in 2013 to $173/foot thus far in 2018.

Luxury Home Sold Price Per Foot – Past 5-Years

(click chart for complete, live data)

Luxury Home Sold Price Per Foot - Past 5-Years

When it comes to how long it takes to sell a luxury home, Clayton has consistently performed the best and continues to improve.  In 2013, the median time to sell a luxury home in Clayton was 72 days, thus far this year it’s been just 43 days, a 40% improvement.  Town and Country saw a 27 percent improvement in the time to sell, while Chesterfield saw a 23% increase in the time to sell and Wildwood a whopping increase of over 200% in the time to sell a luxury home.

Luxury Home Time To Sell – Past 5-Years

(click table for complete, live data)
Luxury Home Time To Sell - Past 5-Years

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Homes Sold Last Month In St Louis Took Half The Time To Sell Than They Did Four Years Ago

Homes that sold in the St Louis area last month sold for a median price of $123 per foot and took a median time of just 35 days to sell, according to the latest data from MORE, REALTORS.  As the 5-year chart below illustrates, the median price of homes sold in St Louis have steadily increased over the period, from $93 per foot in February 2014, to $123 per foot last month, an increase of 32.3%. During this same period, the median time it took for homes to sell declined from 70 days in February 2014 to just 35 days in February 2018, a decline of 50%!

St Louis 5-County Core Market – Price Per Foot & Time To Sell – Past 5 Years

(Click Chart To See Live Data)

St Louis 5-County Core Market - Price Per Foot & Time To Sell - Past 5 Years

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Homes Sold The Fastest Last Month

Three of the fastest selling cities in the St Louis metro area are on the Illinois side of the Mississippi including the number one city on the list, Columbia.  As the table below shows, homes that sold in Columbia Illinois during the past 30 days were on the market an average of just 21 days before they sold.  Four of the ten-fastest selling cities saw homes sell in less than a month with the remaining six cities averaging just over a month. Clicking on the table will take you to the complete list with live data.

St Louis’ Fastest Sold Cities

(click on table to see complete list with update data)

St Louis' Fastest Sold Cities

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St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – February 2018

The real estate market in St Louis is off to a good start for 2018 so far!  Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers 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 Home Construction In St Louis Area Trending Upward In Most Areas – St Charles County Sees Decline

New home construction in the St Louis area is off to a good start for 2018 with a total of 326 building permits for new homes being issued during January for the 7-county St Louis area reported on by the Home Builders Association of Eastern Missouri.  This permit activity in January represents an 11% increase over the activity in January 2017 when there were 293 new home permits issued.  During the month of January 2018, 4 of 7 counties saw an increase in building permits from January 2017 (Jefferson County +26%, Franklin County +143%, Warren County +1%, St Louis City +371%) while the remaining 3 saw declines (St Louis County -25%, St Charles County -10%, Lincoln County -29%).

It takes more than a month for a trend…

Just like I often comment with regard to home prices and sales, looking at a single month of activity really does not paint the whole picture and, while it may be a good “leading-indicator” of where things are headed, it’s not going to accurately depict a trend.  For this, I believe looking at the past 12-month period and comparing it to the prior 12-month period is more accurate.  It takes into account the seasonal fluctuations that occur and adjust for unseasonal weather during a given month that could skew the data if just looking at a one-month period.  The table belows the total building permits for the 12-month period ending January 31, 2018 and comparies that activity to the prior 12-month period for each of the 7-counties reported on.   As you can see, five of the counties have a double-digit increase in new home building permits issued from the prior 12-month period while St Charles County shows a double-digit decline, and Lincoln County a slight decline.

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New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area – January 2018

New Home Building Permits- St Louis Area - January 2018

The Impact of the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site On Surrounding Home Vales

Located at 13570 St Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton Missouri is a 200-acre landfill known as the West Laek Landfill Superfund site which has been the center of controversy and a source of frequent headlines over the past few years.  The reason it has garnered so much attention is becuase of health concerns related to radioactive waste at the site.  The source of the radioactive waste goes back to 1973 when soil that was mixed iwth leached barium sulfate was used to cover the landfill.  The radioactive waste came from a nearby storage and processing facility located at 9200 Latty Avenue in Hazelwod.

Over the past several years, residents in the area surrounding the West Lake site have expressed concerns and made claims that the have been afflicted by illnesses that they think are a result of the nuclear waste at the site.  There have been numerous public hearings and, earlier this month, the EPA announced their proposed plan to remove some of the radioactive materials from the site.

In addition to the claims of health issues, residents have raised concerns about the impact on their property values as a result of the issues and possible risks of living near the West Lake site.  Therefore, I decided to take a look at home values of the homes in the area to see how the market in the immediate proximity has fared.

As the chart below illustrates, the median price per foot of homes within a 2-mile radius of the site that have sold during the past 5 years was relatively flat from 2014 through 2016, then incraased 5.8% from 2016 to 2017.  Thus far in 2018 there have been two home sales close at a median price per foot of $120 per foot, an increase of about 12% from 2017.

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Home Sales Within 2 Mile Radius of West Lake Landfill – Jan 2013 Through Feb 2018

Click on Chart For Complete Data

Home Sales Within 2 Mile Radius of West Lake Landfill - Jan 2013 Through Feb 2018

To put things in perspective as well as compare the home price performance in the West Lake area to the overall Bridgeton area, I created the combined chart below.  As you can see, there doesn’t appear to be a difference in home appreciation in the West Lake area compared with the overall Bridgeton area.  In fact, thus far in 2018, the West Lake area is off to a better start than the overall Bridgeton market.

Bridgeton vs West Lake Area Home Sales – Past 5 Years

Click on Chart For Complete Data

Bridgeton vs West Lake Area Home Sales - Past 5 Years

 

Number of Seriously Underwater St Louis Homeowners Down Fifty-Percent From 4 Years Ago

The percentage of homeowners with a mortgage in the St Louis MSA that were seriously underwater in the last quarter of 2017 was 13.8%, about half the rate from 4 years earlier, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Solutions.  For this report, a homeowner is considered “seriously underwater” when the total of their home mortgage(s) is equal to, or greater than, 125% of their home’s current value.

Also shown on the table below is the percentage of equity-rich homewners in the St Louis MSA.  An “equity-rich” homeowner is at the other end of the spectrum from an underwater homeowner with their mortgage total being 50% of less than the current value of their home.

You can click the table below to go to the complete information showing the data for the 5-counties that make up the St Louis core market.

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St Louis MSA Underwater Homeowners & Equity-Rich Homeowners

(Click on the table to be taken to the complete report by county)

St Louis MSA Underwater Homeowners & Equity-Rich Homeowners