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

St Louis home prices have increased over the past year however at the same time St Louis home sales have declined.  Spring is finally here (although as I write this I think the forecast is for a low of 28 degrees tonight) and there is definitely increased market activity.  The inventory of homes for sale is down from this time last year, but the months supply is up due to decreased home sales.  If home sales increase a little, suddenly the months supply is going to drop due to the low inventory and we will definitely see market pressure for price increases.  Note the “if” at the beginning of the sentence though.  Get complete information on the market you won’t find anywhere else with an investment of just 5 minutes of your time watching our market update video below.

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

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

St Louis Foreclosures Increase In First Quarter 2014

St Louis foreclosures increased  during  the first quarter of this year in the main areas of our St. Louis metro area market located on the Missouri side of the Mississippi with St Louis city foreclosures, St Louis County foreclosures and St Charles county foreclosures all increasing from the 4th quarter of 2013, according to information real eased this morning by RealtyTrac.

St Louis foreclosures for the MSA were down during the first quarter of 2013 1.6% from the 4th quarter of 2013 with a foreclosure action occurring on 1 out of every 452 housing units in the St Louis metro area.  Foreclosures in the St Louis metro area, including all 5 counties that make up the core of the market on the Missouri side of the river, St Louis City and County, St Charles County, Jefferson county and Franklin County, decreased double digits from a year ago.  Complete details are in the table below.

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Consumers More Optimistic About The Housing Market Now Than A Year Ago

In spite of a somewhat sluggish start to the spring housing market, consumers are more optimistic about the housing market now than they were this time last year, according to the results of the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey results just released.    Survey results show that 38% of the respondents think now is a good time to sell a home which, while low, is still almost 50% higher than a year ago when only 26% felt it was.   Consumers are also feeling more optimistic about the prospects of obtaining  a home loan with 52% saying they believe it would be easy to get a mortgage, an increase from 47% that felt that way a year ago.

Other highlights of the survey:

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  •  The percentage of consumers that feel home prices will go up in the next 12 months dropped slightly to 48%,
  • Only 5% feel home prices will do down in the next 12 months.
  • More than half (54%) of the survey respondents feel mortgage rates will increase in the next 12 months and only 3% think the rates will go down.
  • Sixty-nine percent feel now is a good time to buy a home, this is down just a little form last month.
  • The average 12-month home price change expectation decreased from last month, to 2.7 percent.

 

St Louis County Residential Rental Property Licensing Ordinance Tramples Property Rights

A  residential rental property licensing ordinance has been proposed in St Louis County by Councilman Michael O’Mara which would  prohibit an owner of residential property in unincorporated St. Louis County from renting or leasing their property without first paying a fee and obtaining a residential rental license.   The bill, which has been kept relatively quiet and is impossible to find on the website for the St Louis County Council other than listed on the agenda, will most likely be passed at the meeting of the St Louis County Council tomorrow evening.

While there are several municipalities in the St Louis area that currently require some sort of licensing or registration of rental property, and the issue of whether that is an infringement of property rights or not, is a topic I’m not going to address today.  Instead, I will just focus on some of the things in this proposed legislation that I feel, in my humble opinion, are egregious violations of property owner’s private property rights.  The bill, a draft of which can be read here, is bad in many ways, however below are the parts that violate private property rights the most. followed by my comments on each section: 

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Investment Property Sales Fall in 2013

Real Estate InvestorInvestment property sales in 2013 fell to 1,104,000 properties, down 8.5 percent from 2012 when there were 1,2o7,000 investment properties sold, according to a report just released by the National Association of REALTORS.  The median sale price of investment homes purchased during 2013 was $130,000, a 13% increase from 2012 when the median price was $115,000.

Who is the typical real estate investor?

According to the NAR report, the typical home investor in 2013 was a median age of 42 years, had a median household income of $111,400 and more than half (59%) were in a two income household.

What type of property do investors buy?

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Vacation Home Market Surges In 2013

The vacation home market was hot last year with 717,000 vacation-home sales during the year in the U.S., an increase of 29.7% from the year before, according to the National Association of REALTOR’s (NAR) 2014 Vacation Home Buyers Survey.   In spite of the large increase last year, vacation home sales are still down about one-third from the peak of vacation home sales activity seen in 2006.

What did vacation homes sell for in 2013?

The median price paid for a vacation home in 2013 was $168,700, an increase of 12.5% from 2012 when the median price was $150,000.  In 2013, vacation home sales were responsible for 13% of all home sales, the highest share of the market seen by vacation homes since 2006, according to the NAR survey.  Not surprising is the fact that 38% of the vacation home buyers paid cash for the homes with the remainder financing the purchase with a median downpayment of 30%.

Who is buying vacation homes?

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St Louis Pending Home Sales Decline

St Louis pending home sales were down in February from a year ago and, thus far, 2014 is off to a slower pace than 2013 in terms of St Louis area home sales.  For the 3-county area, which includes St Louis county, St Charles county and the city of St Louis, there were a total of 2,249 pending home sales in February, down 21% from February 2013 when there were 2,848.  Year to date through the end of February, there have been 4,433 pending home sales in that 3-county area, down 20.4% from a year ago when there were 5,569.

As the charts below illustrate so graphically, one reason behind this slow down in sales could well be the lack of inventory.  The charts show pending home sales as well as active listings for 2014 year to date as well as for the same year-to-date period for each of the prior 4 years and clearly shows two things; home sales were much better this time last year and the number of active listings has shrunk dramatically.

See all the NEW Listings of homes for sale in St Louis HERE

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New Home Sales In The Midwest Spike In February

New home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. shot up 36.7 percent in February from the month before and was up 1.5 percent from February 2013, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  New home sales in the Midwest were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 67,000 homes, up from a rate of 49,000 homes the month before and up slightly from a year ago when new homes in the midwest were selling at at a rate of 66,000 homes per year.

Actual new home sales in the midwest for the first two months of this year are lagging behind this time last year however, with 8,000 new homes sold in the first two months of 2014, down about 11% from the same time last year when there were 9,000 new home sales year-to-date in the midwest.

See St Louis New Homes For Sale – Click HERE

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Where In St Louis Have The Most Sellers Lowered Home Prices?

Spring is just around the corner however, as I write this I hate to say there is snow coming down outside my window, and St Louis sellers as well as St Louis REALTORS are anxiously awaiting the increased home buying activity that typically comes in spring.   Many people equate the spring market with higher home prices however, there are many St Louis neighborhoods that have seen sellers busy lowering prices in the past 90 days.  Perhaps, they were overpriced to start with or perhaps the sellers wish to give themselves a competitive edge going into the spring market, but for whatever the reason, as many as 50% of the sellers have lowered home prices in the last 90 days in some St Louis neighborhoods.

The list below shows the 10 St Louis neighborhoods where the most sellers have lowered the price on their home within the past 90 days….to see the complete list for St Louis click here.

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Survey Shows Only 18 Percent Think Their Home Is Worth Less Today Than When Bought

Homeowners are feeling more optimistic about their investment in their homes as reflected in a new Rasmussen Reports survey which shows only 18% of homeowners think their homes is worth less today than when they bought it. This is down from 24% in the last survey and is the lowest level since the survey began 3 years ago.

On the flip side, more than half (57%) of homeowners surveyed feel their home is worth more today than when they first bought it.

To find out what your home is worth, you can check out the online resources below, or you are always welcome to contact me:

Where Are St Louis’ Fastest-Selling Neighborhoods?

St Louis’ fastest-selling neighborhoods today can be found throughout the St Louis area, however, as the list of the 15 fastest selling neighborhoods below shows, the lions share are found within St Louis County.  Ten of the neighborhoods are within St Louis County and then primarily mid-county and west county, then 3 can be found in St Charles county and then finally 1 in Franklin county and 1 in the city of St. Louis.

Beneath the list you will find a slideshow of the homes currently available in St Louis’ Fastest-Selling Neighborhoods. Better move quick, before they’re all gone1

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Former Plaza Motors CEO John Capps Puts Manse On Market

Yesterday, the home of the former Plaza Motors CEO, John Capps, and his wife Deborah, hit the market with a $5.65 million price tag.   The home, at 12 Huntleigh Woods, in the exclusive Huntleigh community, was built in 2005,  has almost 10,000 square feet of living area and sits on over 2 acres according to the information available.  Homes in this price range are not common in St Louis, in fact, at the present time, this is just one of 5 luxury homes in St Louis with a price tag north of $5,000,000.  Check out the slide show below to see them all.

St. Louis Luxury Homes For Sale – $5,000,000+

Piqued your interest?  If you would like more information on any of these homes or for a private viewing, click here.

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

One of every 11 renters in St Louis plans to buy a home in next year

According to a survey just released by Pulsenomics LLC, almost one of every 11 renters in St Louis (9%) plan to buy a home in the next year and 5 percent of all households said they plan to buy.  The survey, which covered 20 major metro areas in the U.S., calculated a “Housing Confidence Index” for each city based upon the survey responses and St Louis, with a  58.9 out of a possible 100, was at the bottom of the list for the 20 cities.  However, on the “Homeownership Aspirations Index“, a barometer of the level at which current renters aspire to be homeowners, St. Louis fared pretty well with a 59.6, putting St Louis 10th on the list.

If this survey proves to be correct, at least in that 5% of all households plan to buy a home in the next year, that will be a great boost to the St Louis real estate market!  For example, in St Louis county alone, there are roughly 400,000 household units so, if 5% were to buy a home in the next year as the survey indicates, then around 20,000 homes would be sold in St Louis county.  Given that during the past 12 months there have been about 13,600 homes sold, that would represent an increase in home sales of about 40%….wow!  Call me a skeptic, but I think that is probably a little optimistic, but we can hope.

The table below shows the data for the U.S. as a whole, as well as for each of the 20 cities covered in the survey.

See St Louis New Homes For Sale – Click HERE

Renters in St Louis

Realtor.com and Zillow Battle It Out

Two of the larger players in the real estate search website world, Realtor.com and Zillow, have come to blows over the past few weeks first with Zillow hiring Errol Samuelson, the former Chairman of Move, Inc. (the owner of Realtor.com) and then, most recently, hiring Curt Beardsley who, ironically, was the person promoted my Move to help fill the empty shoes of Samuelson. Yesterday, REALTOR.com fired back at Zillow filing a lawsuit against both Zillow, Inc. and Errol Samuelson for “breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets among others actions.”

In a statement, Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, inc. said “we take our trade secrets and intellectual property extremely seriously as a valuable asset in our competitive position in the marketplace.” Berkowitz added,”We take action in cases in which we believe our trade secrets have been compromised. We have raised this matter for the courts and believe that the matter will be resolved judiciously.”

Want to search ALL St Louis homes for sale?   Avoid the fight and stay out of the line of fire by using St Louis’ best real estate search site, StLouisRealEstateSearch.com.

 

New Home Construction In Midwest off to slow start in 2014

New Home Construction in the midwest region of the U.S. is off to a slow start for 2014, according to newly released new home construction report from the U.S. Census Bureau.  According to the report, new home construction starts of single-family homes in the midwest during February  was at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 76,000 homes, down 19.1% from a year ago when the rate was 94,000 homes.  Building permits for single-family homes in the midwest issued during February were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 88,000 homes, down 5.4% from a year ago when the rate was 93,000 homes.  The only area of increased new home construction activity in the midwest during February 2014 was that of new home completions, which were at a rate of 100,000 homes per year, an increase of 6.7% from February 2013 when completions were at a rate of 94,000 homes.

Below, you will find non-seasonally adjusted new home construction numbers for the modest for February 2014, as well as a real-time chart from the St Louis Fed showing building permit activity in the St. Louis area.

See St Louis Area New Homes For Sale – Click HERE

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Women Choose House Over Engagement Ring?

Hmm….I guess perhaps given the tough economic times we have seen over the past few years, people are becoming more practical and responsible when it comes to spending money.  Proof of this is in the results of a recent survey of  couples in  ”committed relationships”, conducted on behalf of  ERA Real Estate,  in which almost 50% of women surveyed said that rather than have a big engagement ring they would rather put the money toward a down payment on a home.   Score 1 for the REALTORS and a big splat for the jewelers.  The survey also revealed that 60% of the lovebirds said they would give up a honeymoon to instead use the money for a down payment on a home.

Guys…before you spend that money on the engagement ring, read the article above, then click here to find the home to spend the money on instead :)

St Louis Foreclosures Rise in February-Still Down From Last Year

St Louis foreclosures were on the rise in February with 1 of every 1,328 housing units in the St Louis metro area having a foreclosure action on it during the month, 24.17 percent higher than the month before,  however still down 33.14% from February 2013, according to the latest data released today by RealtyTrac.

As the table below shows, all the counties that make up the core of the St Louis real estate market (on the Missouri side of the river) saw an increase in foreclosure activity in February from the month before with the exception of Jefferson county that had relatively little foreclosure activity but more than a year ago.  All the counties saw a decrease in foreclosures from a year ago however.

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

Don’t shoot the messenger, but I have to tell you I’m not feeling quite as warm and fuzzy about the St Louis real estate market as I was a couple of months ago.  In February, there were 1,623 homes sold in the 5-county core St Louis market, a decline of over 14% from February of last year when there were 1,898 homes sold.  Also, 2014 is starting out sluggish with just 3,225 homes sold in the first two months, 14.5% less than this time last year when there were 3,774 homes sold.  There are definitely encouraging things as well, such as mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures declining dramatically from a year ago which will help stabilize the market.  Get complete information on the market you won’t find anywhere else with an investment of just 5 minutes of your time watching our market update video below.

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

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

Who Are Today’s Home Buyers?

Today’s home buyers are young, according to the Generational Trends Study published by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which indicates 31% of all recent home purchases were made by the Millenials, also known as Generation Y, which are people born between 1980 and 1995.  The next most active generation in terms of home buying is Generation X, people born between1965 and 1979, which accounted for 30% of all recent home sales, according to the NAR report.

Who they are and what they buy:

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Rising Rents Puts St Louis On Apartment.coms’ Bad List

Rising rents in St Louis now has the attention of Apartments.com which just released a report showing why $1,000 a month rent will get you throughout the U.S. and listed St Louis on the “Rents on the Rise” list.  While this is good news for investors and landlords, who can expect better returns from their St Louis apartments and rental properties, tenants would prefer to find St Louis on the “Small Rents in Big Cities” or “Enormous Deals” list in the Apartments.com report. (See below for all cities on the lists)

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What Are St Louis’ Most Expensive Neighborhoods?

One of the great things about St. Louis is the affordability of good homes in quality neighborhoods, however, St Louis does have it’s share of expensive homes as well. So, what are St Louis’ most expensive neighborhoods?  The table below shows the 15 most expensive neighborhoods in St Louis, based upon median asking price of homes currently for sale.

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St Louis Rents Rose While Home Prices Declined Post Boom

St Louis rents have risen 18% since the real estate bubble burst (based upon HUD fair market rents for 3 bedrooms) while median home prices have fallen 12% during the same period.  Part of the reason behind has been the increased demand for rentals as a result of many homeowners who, after the real estate bubble burst, lost their homes in foreclosure or were forced to do a short sale and then had to seek a rental while they rebuild their credit.  This, couple with almost no new apartment construction for several years has created the right environment for increasing rents.

St Louis Rents

Continue reading St Louis Rents Rose While Home Prices Declined Post Boom

Number of St Louis Homeowners with Negative Equity Rises At End of 2013

The number of St Louis homeowners with negative equity (also referred to as “underwater” homeowners) increased in the 4th quarter of 2013 to 11.6% of all the St Louis homeowners with a mortgage on their home, an increase from 11.3% in the prior quarter, according to a newly released report from CoreLogic.  Another 4.4% of the home owners with a mortgage were in a “near negative equity” position, up from 4.3% in the 3rd quarter.

Nationally, 13.3 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were in a negative equity position during the 4th quarter of 2013, the same as the quarter before.

St Louis Makes Top 10 List For Places Where It’s Cheaper to Buy Then Rent

Even with rising home prices and interest rates that are following suit, it’s cheaper to buy then rent both on a national level as well as in all of the 100 largest metro areas, according to a report just released by Trulia. According to the report, nationally it is 38% cheaper to buy than rent and in St Louis, it is 54% cheaper to buy then rent putting St. Louis at the #10 spot on “Where Buying a Home is a No-Brainer” list.  See below for the complete list of the top 10 no-brainer to buy cities as well as the 10 cities where buying a home would be a “risky proposition”.

Continue reading St Louis Makes Top 10 List For Places Where It’s Cheaper to Buy Then Rent

Are Distressed Home Sales Gone From St Louis?

Not long ago distressed home sales (foreclosures, short sales, REO’s, etc) were a dominant force in the St Louis real estate market, accounting for a good portion of St Louis area home sales.  Today,  however, with a few exceptions, they have all but left the St Louis real estate market.  As far as the St Louis housing market is concerned, this is a good thing, for home buyers and investors looking for what are often bargain prices as a result, they may have different thoughts.

As the table below for the five St Louis counties that make up the bulk of our market,  short sales, REO’s (foreclosed homes being sold by banks) and foreclosure sales percentage of St Louis home sales was very slight in January 2014, and down significantly from a year ago.  In fact, there were virtually no short sales or foreclosure auction sales in January and REO’s accounted for just over 5% of all St Louis home sales for the month.  The only year-over-year increase seen in any of these sales was in REO sales in St Charles county that increased from 5.7% of home sales in January 2013 to 8% of home sales in January 2014.

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St Louis Homeowner Vacancy Rate At Highest Rate In Over 8 Years

The St Louis homeowner vacancy rate was 3.5 percent in 2013, an increase of almost 13 percent from the year before and the highest rate in over 8 years, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The homeowner vacancy rate represents the percentage of homes, that are normally occupied year-round,  that are currently vacant and for sale without a pending contract.  The interesting thing about this is the inventory of homes for sale in St Louis has been steadily declining so the fact that the vacancy rate is increasing indicates there are a growing number of vacant homes for sale.

Continue reading St Louis Homeowner Vacancy Rate At Highest Rate In Over 8 Years

Protect Yourself From Property Fraud

House Stealing - How it works - Property Fraud

source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Property fraud is a serious threat to homeowners, according to the FBI. A practice that was virtually unheard of until about 6 years ago is something called “house stealing” in which con artists identify a house to target and then steal it. How? It’s actually pretty easy. They get the owners name and personal information, which is easily obtainable today online, and then complete a few forms, forge the owner’s signature and the next thing you know, the con artist owns the house. Other fraudulent activity includes placing mortgages on property not owned by the crooks again using the stolen identity of the homeowner.

How can you protect yourself form property fraud and house stealing?

While house stealing can be a hard thing to detect, there is an easy step that can be taken by homeowners in the St Louis area that will help give early warning if something fraudulent is taking place on their home.  The step to take is to register for the “Property Fraud Alert” service offered at no charge to all St. Louis area homeowners as well as many homeowners in out-state Missouri.  This service is offered by the counties listed below and the way it works is you register your name and then anytime a deed is recorded in your name, you receive an email notification or phone call, depending on your preference.  This could alert you when a deed or mortgage is recorded in your name that is fraudulent and allow you to take immediate action.  Click on the link below for the county you wish to register with.

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Missouri Encouraging Homeowners to Buy Earthquake Insurance

At least three of the “largest earthquakes ever recorded in the continental United States” are believed to have occurred in Southeast Missouri during the period of 1811-1812, according to the Missouri Department of Insurance.  At the source of the problem is the New Madrid Seismic Zone which is located in southeast Missouri and is the nation’s most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains.

The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging homeowners to check their insurance policies to see if they have earthquake coverage and, if not, are “encouraged to buy this extra protection“.  The interesting thing is just over 1 out of every 4 homeowners (26%) in New Madrid county had earthquake coverage as of 2012.

Earthquake frequency and facts…

The table below shows the number,  and magnitude of, earthquake in the United States during the period of 2000 -2010.  The table also shows the top states for earthquake activity…you’ll have to look to see if Missouri made the list.

Continue reading Missouri Encouraging Homeowners to Buy Earthquake Insurance

St Louis Home Sales Decline In January

St. Louis home sales cooled off in January with 1,592 homes sold in the 5-county core St Louis real estate market (the city of St Louis and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), a decline of over 15 percent from January 2013 when there were 1,876 homes sold.  St Louis home prices, on the other hand, rose almost 12 percent (11.85%) from a median price of $115,000 in January 2013 to $129,625 in January 2014.  As the table below shows, all the St Louis core areas so a decline in home sales in January from a year ago with the exception of the city of St Louis and all saw increased home prices with the exception of Franklin County.

On a national level, existing home sales in January 2014 were down 3.4% from a year ago (not seasonally adjusted) and home prices, for the same period, increased 8.8%.

Continue reading St Louis Home Sales Decline In January

St Louis Home Affordability Drops Dramatically From Year Ago

St Louis home affordability has fallen significantly in the past year as a result of increasing home prices as well as rising interest rates, according to a report by MORE, REALTORS.  As the table below shows, the hardest hit area was the city of St. Louis where a house payment on a median priced home has increased 50% from the 4th quarter of 2012 to the 4th quarter of 2013.   Jefferson county and St Charles county, with the lowest increases in home prices (2% and 7% respectively) had the least amount of damage done to home affordability.

Continue reading St Louis Home Affordability Drops Dramatically From Year Ago