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St Louis Pending Home Sales Rise In February

Pending home sales in St Louis rose in February with 1,710 sales pending in the St Louis 5-county core market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), an increase of 17 percent from 1,460 pending home sales the month before, however was a decrease of 11% from February 2014 when there were 1,917 pending home sales in the St Louis 5-county core market.

On a year to data basis pending home sales in 2015 (through the end of February) have increased from the same time last year, with 4,873 pending sales for 2015, an increase of 4% from the same time in 2014 when there had been 4,690 pending home sales.

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Are Home Prices Rising Faster Than Income, Again?

RealtyTrac published a report earlier this week revealing median home prices in the U.S. increased over the past two years at a rate 13 times greater than what wages increased during the same period. RealtyTrac’s report included a chart (below) showing several metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. where, over a recent two year period, home prices were outpacing wages and that “either wages are going to need to go up or (home) prices are going to need to at least flatten out and wait for wages to catch up.”

St Louis Home Price Appreciation Versus St Louis Wage Growth:

As I often remind everyone, all real estate is local, so I wanted to look at local data to see how St Louis shaped up in an analysis similar to the one done by RealtyTrac.  I was particularly interested in the outcome of my analysis since it wasn’t that long ago I wrote an article questioning whether home prices in St Louis were too low and now, on a national level, the discussion seems to be perhaps they are too high.

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St Louis Home Sales Jump Almost 15 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis home sales jumped in February to 1,633 homes sold in the St Louis 5-County Core market (the city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), an increase of almost 15 percent (14.8%) from February 2014 when there were 1,423 homes sold, and an increase of over 22 percent (22.3%) from the month before, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.  As the chart below shows, the median price of homes sold in St Louis in February was $150,000, an increase of over 11 percent (11.11%) from a year ago when the median price was $135,000 and an increase of over 3 percent (3.4%) from the month before when the median price of homes sold was $144,950.

St Charles County Has Largest Increase In Home Sales-

Below the 5 county chart is a chart for St Charles county showing there were 377 homes sold in February, an increase of almost 31 percent (30.9%) from February 2014 when there were 288 homes sold and an increase of 33.7 percent from the month before.  St Charles County home prices, on the other hand, slipped in February to a median price of $171.950, down 3.3% from the month before and down 1.9% from February 2014 when the median price of homes sold in St Charles county was $175,250.

St Louis County Sees Gain in Home Prices and Sales-

The chart for St Louis county can be found below the St Charles county one and reveals there were 813 homes sold in February, an increase of 18 percent from February 2014 when there were 689 homes sold and an increase of 19.4 percent from the month before.  St Louis County home prices inreased as well in February to a median price of $149,450, an increase of 4.9% from the month before and an increase of 10.7% from February 2014 when the median price of homes sold in St Louis county was $135,000.

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Nearly 1 Out 10 People Said They Wanted to Move But Most Stayed Put

The U.S. Census Bureau this week released a report titled “Desire to Move and Residential Mobility: 2010-2011” in which some interesting facts were revealed about what makes people want to move, who actually acts upon that desire and how this varies between homeowners and renters.  The first thing that pops out of this report is the fact that nearly 10 percent of the people in the U.S. are not happy with the current place they live and want to move.  Reasons given for this unhappiness include the housing itself, the neighborhood, safety or the lack of, or quality of, public services.

Highlights from the report:

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St Louis Foreclosures Decline In February

St Louis foreclosures declined in February for the St Louis MSA with a total of 843 foreclosure actions occurring during the month, a decline of over 22 percent from the month before and a decline of over 10 percent from a year ago, according to data just released this morning by RealtyTrac.

As the table below shows, foreclosure activity decreased in all of the counties in the core St Louis market during February from the month before and all, except Franklin County, saw a decrease from a year ago.

On a national level, RealtyTrac reported 101,938 foreclosure actions occurred during the month of February in the U.S., a decline of 4% from January, a decline of 9% from February 2014, and the lowest level since July 2006.

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St Louis Home Prices Declined In January…or did they?

This week FNC, Inc., a large company that provides real estate market information to mortgage lenders across the country, published their FNC Residential Price Index™ report which, as the table below shows, reported that St Louis home prices declined slightly in January from the month before (0.4%) and were also down slightly (0.7%) from a year ago.  However, all is not as it may appear as this data, like most data you see reported nationally, and even often-times locally, it is based upon the St Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which consists of a total of 17 counties, 9 of which are in Missouri and the other 8 in Illinois.  So, while the data for the St Louis MSA is an accurate reflection of what is going on in our region as a whole, you must remember, real estate is very local, so the more targeted the data, the better and that’s where we come in.

Our 5-county core market, which consists of the city of St Louis and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin, contains about 72% of the overall population of the St Louis MSA and makes up the bulk of the St Louis real estate market, hence our focus on the 5-county core.  As the chart below illustrates, the median home prices for homes sold in the St Louis 5-county core market, did decline 6% from $179,900 in December to $169,000 in January, however, home prices increased from $167,500 in January 2014, to $169,000 in January 2015 so, not a large increase (0.8%) but an increase.  Below that chart is a chart for just St Louis county showing that St Louis county home prices slipped slightly in January (0.9%) to a median price of $183,300 from $185,000 the month before, however, increased 6%, from January 2014, when the median home price was $173,000.  Finally, the bottom chart shows St Charles County home prices fell 8.8% in January to a median price of $191,500 from $210,000 the month before, but were up slightly from January 2014 when the median home price in St Charles county was $190,900.

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Continue reading St Louis Home Prices Declined In January…or did they?

New Home Construction In St Louis Losing Steam

New home construction in St Louis has begun 2015 with a slower start than one might expect given the spring-like weather St Louis experienced during much of January and the flurry of activity we have seen thus far this year from home buyers.  Permits issued in January for new homes in the St Louis Metro Area were down 7.85 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.  As the chart below illustrates, for the bulk of last year, the number of permits issued during the month was down from a year ago.

Percentage Change From Year Ago In Building Permits Issued In St Louis MSA for Single-Family Homes

St Louis New Home Building Permits Change From Year ago

Source: Federal Reserve – St Louis

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Renters Confidence In St Louis Housing Market Sees Highest Increase In The Nation In Past Year

Renters are feeling more optimistic about the St Louis housing market as well as about the thought of home ownership with 23,721 renters in St Louis saying they are looking to buy a home in the next year, according to a report just released by Zillow.  The overall Zillow Housing confidence in the St Louis housing market in January was at 63.8, with the renter confidence in the market seeing an increase of 8.3 points from a year ago, the highest such increase of the metro areas in the nation covered by the report, and the homeowner confidence in the St Louis housing market increase 4 points from a year ago.  The table below shows the Zillow Housing Confidence Index for all metro areas covered by their report.

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Almost Half Of Missouri Residents Expect To Buy A Home In The Next Five Years

Almost half (42%) of the residents in Missouri plan to buy a home within the next five years, according to the recently released BMO Harris Home Buying Report.  Buyers surveyed indicated they plan to pay an average of $242,000 for a home when they move and almost half of the potential home buyers have indicated they are willing to get into a bidding war to get the home they want.

 Report Highlights:

  • Buyers expect to make a down payment of 20 percent on average
  • Seventy-five percent are confident they will have the money they will need to make a down payment on their next home.
  • Thirty-five percent of current tenants are worried they will not be able to afford to purchase a home.
  • Twenty percent expect to buy a home within one year, twenty-three percent within two years and forty-two percent within five years.

Going from renting to buying is a big step, so it’s important to work with someone who knows the ins and outs of mortgages,” said Jeff Fothergill, St. Louis Mortgage Market Manager, BMO Harris Bank. “Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a veteran homeowner, it’s important to have a mortgage professional who will be able to explain the process, breakdown the numbers, and identify the mortgage options that are suitable for your particular situation.”

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Want to Buy St Louis Foreclosures? Bring Your Cash And Bid High!

If you are like a lot of people and see St Louis foreclosures, or REO’s (real estate owned by banks and other lending institutions as a result of foreclosure) as a good opportunity to buy a residence for yourself or as an investment either for rental or for “flipping”, you best have cash and be prepared to “buck up” if you want to succeed!  I say this because cash buyers continue to dominate the REO and foreclosure market with 61% of all REO and Foreclosure sales this year in St Louis being cash sales thus far.  As the table below shows, while the number of foreclosure sales has declined this year from last year at the same time, the percentage of them going to cash buyers has not.

Good deals on St Louis foreclosures are selling fast and often for list price or more.

For the month of February, in the five county core St Louis market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) there were 273 foreclosure or REO homes sold and they were sold, on average, at 98% of list price.  If we drill down a little and find the “best” deals out of the gate, the ones that sell in the first 10 days, there were 48 foreclosure homes sold in February (18% of the overall total number of foreclosures sold) and they sold, on average, for 105% of the list price.  

So, if you are planning on buying St Louis foreclosures, cash is king and, for the new deals that hit the market with an attractive price, realize that even a full price offer may not buy it.  For some personal advice from me on how to be successful buying St Louis Foreclosures and REO’s, read my report here.

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St Louis REO (Foreclosure) Sales Through End of February- Number of Cash Sales

Homes are selling quickly in St Louis…often within the first couple of days!

Reminenscent of the “good ole” days in the real estate biz, homes in St Louis are selling quickly, often within a day or two of hitting the market, and frequently at full  price or close to it!  Now, before you get too excited, there is a caveat…I’m referring to homes that are properly priced and marketed.  Overpriced listings that don’t show well are still sitting on the market while buyers pass them by.  Get information on St Louis home prices, home sales, where the hot markets are and more in our newly published, 5-minute, market video update for March2015, below.

If you have considered selling your home, or perhaps tried and failed in the past year or so, now is the time to consider it again.  Contact me and we’ll be happy to let you know the value of your home in today’s market as well as show you how you can sell your home for the maximum price, in the least amount of time and save money doing it.  You may also want to try our online home valuation site and find the value of your home in under a minute – go to StLouisHousePrices.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.

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Continue reading Homes are selling quickly in St Louis…often within the first couple of days!

Nothing has changed in 35 Years, Location is still key to the home buyers choose

When I entered the real estate industry 35 years ago, I quickly learned that there are three things that affect the value of a home; location, location, location.  Well, it appears that, while a lot of other things have changed, such as the manual typewriters and carbon paper in our office have been replaced with Mac Book Pro’s and electronic documents, nothing has changed when it comes to what is important to home buyers, it’s still location!  A survey conducted by Demand Institute proved this with 47% of respondents indicating they agree with the statement “the location where I live is more important than the home itself” and only 20% said they disagreed with it, the other 33% neither agreed nor disagreed.

Top Location-Related Reasons People Move:

  • 30% said for a safer neighborhood
  • 27% want to be closer to family
  • 26% want a change of climate
  • 25% want to be closer to work
  • 23% moved for a new job

Suburbs over City:

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Renters Get Respect!

Traditionally the only Rental history that gets reported to the credit bureaus is negative!  If you fail to make your payment to your landlord…look for a collection account or even a judgment to show up on your credit profile and potentially drop your credit score like a rock!But what about tenants that pay their rent on time?  Remember rent is often an individual’s single largest monthly bill, and the impact of that reporting to the credit bureaus could be huge!There are over a 100-million renters in the U.S. and less than 1% of them have had any positive rental payment history reported to the credit bureaus…but that is all about to change!
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Two St Louis Areas were the most profitable zips in the U.S. for flipping property in 4th quarter

Two zip codes in the city of St Louis made RealtyTrac’s list of “Zips with the highest gross returns (from flipping property)” for 4th quarter, 2014.  The 63139 zip code, which includes the Dog Town area of St Louis, came in number 2 on the list with an average gross return on investment of 163.9% and the 63116 zip code, which includes Tower Grove South, Holly Hills, Dutchtown South and Bevo, came in 9th on the list with an average gross return on investment of 127.7%.

To be eligible to be considered for the list, there had to be at least 10 single family homes “flips” completed during the 4th quarter of 2014.  In the 63139 area of St Louis, there were  18 such home flips during the quarter with an average purchase price of $9,000 and an average gross profit of $14,750 from the flip.  In the 63116 zip area, there were 21 flips during the quarter with an average purchase price of $27,721 and an average gross profit of $35,407.   The table below shows the data for all 10 top gross returns from flipping property zips in the U.S.

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Continue reading Two St Louis Areas were the most profitable zips in the U.S. for flipping property in 4th quarter

Inventory of Homes For Sale In St Louis At 10 Year Low

As of the end of last month, there were 4,873 active listings of homes and condos for sale in the counties of St Louis and St Charles, the lowest inventory of homes for sale for those two counties in over 10 years.  As the 10-year chart below shows, the inventory peaked at 13, 823 active listings in July 0f 2007 so the inventory of homes for sale in St Louis & St Charles County has fallen almost 65% since hitting the peak during 2007.

It’s no wonder we are seeing many homes selling within days of hitting the market, and, often at or above full asking price.  Of course, as I have said before, home buyers today are pretty savvy so they are not jumping at overpriced listings but if they are priced appropriately and properly marketed, they are gone quick!

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Are St Louis Home Prices Too Low?

The St Louis real estate market is definitely recovering from the housing bubble burst that sent it into a tail spin about six years ago. With the recovery, home sales have increased, although at a slower pace in 2014 than the year before, and St Louis home prices have increased but, in spite of this, are St Louis home prices too low?

To address this question I looked at the relationship between St Louis home prices, rent amounts and income over the past 15 years to see how the trends look and how where we are today compares.  Below are the following charts as well as what I think they may indicate:

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St Louis Home Sales Cool In January

St Louis home sales slowed in January to 1,322 homes sold in the St Louis 5-County Core market (the city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) which is a decline of over 36 percent (36.65%) from the month before, and a decline of almost 3 percent (2.94%) from a year ago, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.  As the chart below shows, the median price of homes sold in St Louis in January was $144,498, down from $159,500 in December but up from a year ago when the median home price of homes sold was $138,000.

If we zoom in to the 3 county market of the city of St Louis and St Louis and St Charles county, we will find there were 1,109 homes sold in January, down 37.7 percent from December and down 4% from a year ago.  As the 2nd chart below shows, the median price of homes sold in January was $150,000, down from $165,000 in December but up from a year ago when the price was $142,500.

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Missouri Home Purchases By Institutional Investors And Cash Buyers Falls By Half From Year Ago

Institutional investors (entities that bought at least 10 residential properties in the last 12 months) are having much less of an impact on the housing market throughout Missouri than they were a year ago, according to a newly released report by RealtyTrac.  According to the report, during the 4th quarter of 2014 three percent (3%) of all residential sales in Missouri were to institutional investors, a decline of 50% from the 4th quarter of 2013 when institutional investors accounted for 6% of all residential sales in Missouri.

Cash home sales in Missouri has fallen by almost half as well, with cash sales during the 4th quarter in Missouri accounting for 10.3% of all residential sales, down nearly 50% from the 4th quarter of 2013 when a whopping 20.1% of all residential sales in Missouri were to cash buyers.  This is not surprising as a lot of investors (both institutional as well as individual) are cash buyers so as the number of distressed home sales continues to fall, so does the presence of investors in the market ergo there go the cash sales too.

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Home Building In The Midwest Begins 2015 With a Bang

While the number of building permits issued for new single family homes during January 2015 in the Midwest was down 4.8 percent from January 2014, builders were busy starting construction on new homes  at a pace that was 73.6 percent higher than the year before, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other highlights from the report for January 2015 for the midwest region of the U.S.:

  • Permits for new single family homes were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 99,000 units, down 2.0% from December and down 4.8% from January 2014.
  • Construction commenced on new homes at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  92,000 units, a decrease of 30.8% from December but an increase of 73.6% from January 2014.
  • New homes in the Midwest were completed in January at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  103,000 homes, down 2.8% from the month before and down 12.0% from a year ago.


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Mortgage Delinquencies Drop 14 Percent in Past Year- More Non-Prime Borrowers Getting Home Loans

Mortgage Delinquencies (borrowers that are 60 days or more late on their house payment) declined in the 4th quarter of 2014 marking the 12th consecutive quarter of declines in the mortgage delinquency rate, according to data just released by TrasnUnion.  As the table below shows, the mortgage delinquency rate for the 4th quarter of last year was 3.29%, a decline of 2.1% from the quarter before and a decline of 14.5% from the 4th quarter of 2013.

Foreclosures and better borrowers are the reason…

Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting at TrasnUnion,  said the improvement in mortgage delinquencies are driven “primarily by the ongoing clearance of the foreclosure backlog” and also notes that recent borrowers “have been performing exceptionally well“.

Young borrowers show best improvement….

Although mortgage delinquencies improved for all age groups, the youngest group (age 30 and under) had the largest improvement from a year ago with the mortgage delinquency rate dropping to 2.21% for 4th quarter 2014, a 24.3% decline from a year ago when the delinquency rate was 2.92%.

More home loans to “Non-Prime” borrowers…

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Continue reading Mortgage Delinquencies Drop 14 Percent in Past Year- More Non-Prime Borrowers Getting Home Loans

Seriously Delinquent Mortgage Rate Falls to Lowest Level In Six Years

The seriously delinquent mortgage rate  (90+ days late) fell to 1.91 percent of all outstanding mortgages in November, the lowest level since December 2008, according to a report just released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  The percentage of loans that were 30-59 days late rose in November to 1.69% from 1.39% the month before and the 60+ day delinquency rate rose from 2.32% in October to 2.36% in November.

The tables below have complete mortgage delinquency data.

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Continue reading Seriously Delinquent Mortgage Rate Falls to Lowest Level In Six Years

St Louis Foreclosures Increase In January Nearly 50 Percent From Year Before

St Louis foreclosures increased dramatically in January with 1,116 foreclosure actions in the St Louis metro area during the month, an increase of 52.25 percent from December and an increase of 47.42 percent from January 2014, according to data just released this morning by RealtyTrac.

As the table below shows, all of the counties in the core St Louis market saw an increase in foreclosure activity during January from the month before and all, except Jefferson County, saw an increase from a year ago.

On a national level, RealtyTrac is reporting that foreclosure activity in January increased 5 percent from December but declined 4 percent from January 2014.

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Cash Home Sales In St Louis Decline Over 9 Percent From Year Before

Cash home sales in St Louis during November, 2014, were responsible for 35.71 percent of all the home sales in the St Louis metro area for the month, according to data just released by CoreLogic.  This is a decline of 9.32% from November, 2013 when cash home sales in St Louis accounted for 39.38% of the total home sales for the month.  The table below shows cash sales for the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S. and, as you can see, only 7 of the 25 had a higher percentage of cash sales in November 2014 than St Louis.

The chart below the table shows the percentage of cash home sales by type of sale, on a national level, going back to 2010.  It illustrates that REO’s clearly dominate cash home sales with roughly 60% of REO home sales being cash sales.

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Continue reading Cash Home Sales In St Louis Decline Over 9 Percent From Year Before

St Louis Ranked Seventh In Number of Completed Foreclosures In 2014

St Louis had 6,215 completed foreclosures in 2014 putting it 7th on the list of metros in the U.S. in terms of the number of completed foreclosures.  As the table below, which lists the 25 top metro areas for foreclosures, shows, Tampa saw the most foreclosures with over 18,000 being completed during 2014, according to newly released data from Corelogic.

According to the Corelogic report, there were  563,294 completed foreclosures in the U.S. during 2014, the lowest total for any 12 month period since November 2007 when it was 589,570.

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St Louis Home Prices and Sales Market Update VIDEO-February 2015

The St Louis real estate market is off to a good start and homes and condos in many neighborhoods are SELLING FAST!  Find which St Louis neighborhoods are hot markets and selling fast as well as which are not and much more in our newly published, 5-minute, market video update for February 2015, below.

If you have considered selling your home, or perhaps tried and failed in the past year or so, now is the time to consider it again.  Give us a call and we’ll be happy to let you know the value of your home in today’s market or, try our new online home valuation site and find your homes value in under a minute – go to StLouisHousePrices.com and find your home’s value now!

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Continue reading St Louis Home Prices and Sales Market Update VIDEO-February 2015

Over Half Of St Louis Foreclosures Are Zombies – Highest Rate in Nation

Over half (51%) of the foreclosures in St Louis are “Zombies” meaning that the owners have abandoned or vacated their home prior to their lender completing the foreclosure process, according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac.  Just like the number of St Louis foreclosures is down significantly from a year ago, the actual number of Zombie foreclosures has declined 59% from a year ago.

The chart below shows zombie foreclosure data for the 10 metro areas in the U.S. with the highest percentage of Zombie foreclosures.  Beneath that is a table showing the 10 metro in the U.S. with the most number of Zombie foreclosures which shows New York leads the nation with over 19,000 zombie foreclosures as well as a chart showing the States with the highest number of Zombies.

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Down Payment Help Available For Most Homes

Down payment help is available for 87 percent of the homes in the U.S., according to an analysis completed recently by RealtyTrac and Down Payment Resource.  This analysis looked at the geographic location of homes to see if they were within areas where down payment assistance are available to purchasers meeting the qualifications of the program.

In the St Louis area, there are several down payment help, or down payment assistance programs, available, most of which are administered by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC).  These programs include:

  • Cash Assistance Loan Program (CAL) 
    • Qualified first-time homebuyers may receive a second mortgage equal to 3% of their mortgage amount which can be used for down payment or closing costs.
    •  The loan is a five-year loan at 0 percent interest with no monthly payments required.  The loan will be forgiven after the buyer has occupied the home for 5 years.
  • Non-Cash Assistance Loan Program (NON-CAL)
    • Qualified first-time homebuyers that do not need down payment assistance can obtain a lower interest rate home loan than those that use the CAL program above.
    • Because of the lower interest rates, borrower will have a lower monthly payment.

The best down payment assistance program in St Louis though is the BMO Harris Bank Affordable Housing Grant Program.  This program is available to all qualified home buyers (not just first-tome buyers) and, instead of being a loan that may be forgiven after living in the home for a period of time, it is a no-strings attached grant that can be used for down payment or closing costs.  Grants of up to $3,000 are available to home buyers that purchase homes in specified neighborhoods throughout St Louis.  Click HERE to find out more about this great down payment help program!

What  Does  It  Mean  To  Be  In  A  Flood  Zone?

Flood  zones  are  land  areas  identified  by  the  Federal  Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA).  Each  area  of  land  is  mapped  and  labeled  into  a  flood  zone.  FEMA  flood  maps  include  zones that  are  broken  into  several  areas.

Here  are  the most  common  flood  zone  areas  that  you  will  see  in  Missouri:

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St Louis Ranked As One Of Top 50 Markets To Rent To Millenials

The city of St Louis made the list of the top 50 markets to rent to Millenials, published by RealtyTrac.  In determining the best markets in the U.S. for renting to millennial (most of whom are in their 20’s or early 30’s), RealtyTrac looked at rental markets where the gross annual yield on rentals was at least 9 percent, where Millenials make up more than 22 percent of the market (the national average) and where the Millenial population had increased at least 5% from 2007 through 2013.

For the city of St Louis, as the table below shows, the Millenial population grew 18% from 2007 to 2013 and in 2013 accounted for over 28% of the market.

St Louis One of the best cities to rent to millenials

Source: RealtyTrac

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Over Half Of Buyers Agents Surveyed Say Clients Will Pay More For A Staged Home

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Staging (the first ever by them), over 50 percent (52%) of real estate agents representing buyers said that a staged home will increase how much their buyer client is willing to pay for a home.  For those not familiar with the term a staged home is one that has been prepared, usually by a professional, to help make the home show as well as possible and appeal to as many buyers as possible leading to ultimate goal of selling the home quickly for the highest price.  Vacant homes are the ones most often staged with furniture and accessories, however today many real estate agents suggest a stager to help a seller prepare their furnished home as well.

Highlights from the 2015 Profile of Home Staging:

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