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St Louis Home Sales In 2014 Fall Short of 2013 But Home Prices Rise

St Louis home sales for 2014 fell 2.4 percent from 2013 with a total of 30.557 homes sold in St Louis (in the 5-county core market) during 2014, shy of the 31,329 homes sold the year before.  St Louis home prices, on the other hand, increased 5.6 percent during the same period, increasing from a median price of $142,000 for homes sold during 2013 to $150,000 for homes sold during 2014,according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.

Home sales did spike somewhat at the end of the year with 2,411 homes sold in St Louis during December 2014, an increase of 7.6% from December 2013 when there were 2,240 home sales.  The median price of homes sold in December 2014 was $150,250 an increase of 6.5% from December 2013 when the median home price was $141,000.

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St Louis Homeowners with Negative Equity Improves by Over 20 Percent in 4th Quarter of 2014

There were 119,936 St Louis homeowners with negative equity, or in a seriously underwater condition on their mortgage meaning they owe more than the current value of their home, in the St Louis MSA during the 4th quarter of 2014 which is a 21% improvement from the prior quarter when there were 152,025 St Louis homeowners seriously underwater, according to a report just released today by RealtyTrac.

As the table below shows, for the immediate St Louis, MO area, the city and county of St Louis had the highest percentage of underwater homeowners at 22% and St Charles county had the lowest percentage at 6%.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Finishes Out 2014 Ahead of 2013

After struggling for years, new home construction in the Midwest finished out 2014 with a little  more home building activity than the prior year and on a pace that makes me feel pretty optimistic about 2015 for the home building industry.

New Home Building and Construction Activity in the Midwest during December 2014, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Permits for new single family homes were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 102,000 units, up 4.1% from the prior month’s rate and up 6.3% from the rate in December 2013.
    • During 2014, building permits were issued for 101,900 new homes, just slightly more than 2013 when there were 101,800 permits issued.
  • Construction commenced on new homes at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  123,000 units, an increase of 7.9% from November and an increase of 0.8% from December 2013.
    • During 2014, construction was commenced on 105,100 new homes, an increase of 3.1% from 2013.
  • New homes in the Midwest were completed in December at the seasonally adjusted annual rateof of 108,000 units, up 8.0% from the month before and up 10.2% from a year ago.
    • For 2014, there were 103,800 new homes completed, an increase of 8.6% from 2013.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Inspired Peace Park Here in St Louis

mlkAuthors note: While setting out to write something in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King today, I found the article below I wrote a year ago at this time and realize it says what I would say today so I chose to publish it again…

Today, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is hard for me to believe that, during my lifetime, there was a time when it was legal to refuse to rent or sell a house to someone because of their race or skin color, but it was.  However, the  Civil Rights Act of 1968, also referred to as the “Fair Housing Act of 1968″, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, just one week after Dr. King’s assassination, corrected this atrocity and made it illegal to refuse to rent or lease a home to someone based upon their race.

Peace Park Sign - otis woodard - dr martin luther kingI know we have a long way to go and there may never come the time that discrimination does not exist in one form or another, but I am thankful for Dr. King and that he was willing to sacrifice his life to make life better for others.  While I was just 7 years old when Dr. King was assassinated and only knew of him through historical accounts, that changed a few years ago when I met my good friend Otis Woodard.  I now feel like I have gotten to know Dr. King a little better through Otis.  You see, Otis was part of the civil rights movement and was a friend of Dr. King’s.  When Otis talks about Dr. King you can see how much he respected him and what an influence Dr. King has had on his life.  In fact, a park in north St Louis where Otis converted vacant lots it into a safe haven for homeless and poor people of the neighborhood pays tribute to Dr. King, being named “Peace Park” and bearing a quote from Dr. King, “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

While writing this article, I saw a tweet from another man I tremendous amount of respect for, Dr. Ben Carson, that says it all…  “As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us pay more attention to the content of one’s character than the color of one’s skin.” 

Which St Louis Neighborhoods Had The Most Homes Sold in 2014?

The 63376 zip code area of St Charles County, which includes the City of St. Peters and a portion of Cottleville, had the most homes sold in 2014 of any other zip code area in St Louis with 1,145 homes sold.  For the zip area with the second most homes sold in 2014 we jump to the east side of the Missouri river with the 63021 area of St Louis County, comprised of Ballwin, Manchester and Ellisville, with 856 homes sold.   The chart below shows the top 20 zip areas in the St Louis area and then the charts that follow show the median home prices in those areas as well as the percentage of list prices homes in those areas sold for in 2014.

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Missouri Foreclosure Filings For 2014 Down Seventy Percent From Peak in 2010

Missouri foreclosure filings during 2014 occurred on a total of 9.762 properties in Missouri which is down over 70% from 2010 when foreclosure activity in Missouri hit an all-time record high with foreclosure filings occurring that year on 33,120 properties, according to data just released by RealtyTrac.  Below is a complete table showing Missouri foreclosure filings for each year, from the real estate “boom” year of 2006 through 2014, for all counties in Missouri which reveals that in most counties in Missouri foreclosure activity peaked during 2010.

Foreclosure filings in the Missouri counties that make up the St Louis MSA occurred on a total of 5,310 properties during 2014, down 68% from 2010 when foreclosure activity hit a record high in the Missouri counties of the St Louis MSA with foreclosure filings taking place on 16,588 properties that year.

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

St Louis home sales in 2014 failed to keep pace with the year before however St Louis home prices rose during the same period. How much they rose as well as how much St Louis home prices are expected to increase (or decrease) in 2015 are just two of the important pieces of information you will find about the current St Louis real state market in our newly published, 5-minute, market video update for January 2015, below.

There are neighborhoods throughout St Louis that are low on inventory and high on demand creating a seller’s market!  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!

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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Institutional Investors Own Only About 1 Percent Of Homes In St Louis

The bursting of the real estate market bubble back in 2008 led to opportunities for investors to buy up homes at attractive prices throughout the country and even attracted some large firms backed by Wall Street such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, Colony American Homes and Fundamental REO.  While institutional ownership of commercial real estate, apartments and land has been very common, and in fact, predominant, since entering the business in 1979, firms like this investing in single family homes has not.  The best I can tell, St Louis has not attracted any of the four largest institutional investors (although it is hard to tell because they could own property in LLC’s not easily identified to be them) however, there has been plenty of investor activity here, including some by institutional investors.

So, what is an “institutional investor”?  Well, for the purposes of this article, and the data below, we’ll consider it to be an entity that buys at least 10 homes a year thereby separating them out from the small and/or occasional investor.  One such investor that has been active in St Louis is BLT (Building Land & Technology out of Connecticut) which, at this time, appears to own around 700 single family homes in the St Louis area. However, as the table below shows, ownership of homes in St Louis by institutional investors is pretty minimal, with those types of investors having acquired over the past 3 years (the most active period for this type of investment) at total of just over 6,000 homes or, just over 1 percent of the total housing stock in the five-county core St Louis market.

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FHA To Lower Fees Opening The Door To Around 100,000 Home Buyers

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he will, by executive order, direct FHA to lower the mortgage insurance premium charged on FHA loans to home buyer from 1.35 percent to .85 percent, lowering home buyer’s house payments by about $900 per year on average.  Chris Polychron, the President of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed his organizations support of the President’s action and highlighted the positive impact NAR felt it would have on the housing market stating “we (NAR) are optimistic that more affordable FHA loans will have a positive impact on first-time buyers who have been entering the market at a lower than normal rate.”  NAR has stated that the lower cost of an FHA loan would add 90,000 to 140,000 additional annual home purchases.

The cost of the mortgage insurance premium on an FHA loan was .90% back in 2010, increased to 1.15% in 2011, then to 1.25% in 2012 and finally 1.35% in 2013.  NAR first addressed this issue back in April 2014 when, then President, Steve Brown wrote a letter to Carol Galante, the Assistant Secretary for Housing at the time, to draw her attention to the impact the higher fees were having on the housing market and urging her to take action to lower the premiums.  In the NAR letter, it was pointed out in 2014 FHA fees accounted for nearly 20 percent of a homeowners monthly mortgage payment.

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Number of St Louis Homeowners With Negative Equity Hits Lowest Level in Over 5 Years

The number of St Louis Homeowners with negative equity (or underwater) during the third quarter of 2014 hit the lowest level since Corelogic began tracking this data in the 3rd quarter of 2009. During the quarter, 8.43% of St Louis homeowners with a mortgage were underwater or in a negative equity position meaning their mortgage balance exceed the current value of their home, according to the latest data from Corelogic.

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Top 10 St Louis Neighborhoods Where Homes Sold For Highest Percentage of List Price

In the past year, homes for sale located within the 63105 zip code (Clayton) have sold, on average, for 98.2% of the original list price, a higher percentage than any other St Louis area during the same period, according to the latest date available from MORE, REALTORS.  As the chart below shows, the next 9 zip codes with homes selling for the highest percentage of original list price were within .7% of each other, ranging from a low of 96.9% for 63122 to 97.6% for 63040.  For the purpose of this report, only areas that had at least 25 home sales in the past year were considered and then the ranking was based upon the percentage of the original list price (the price the home was first listed at) it subsequently sold for.

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Program To Help Short Sellers and Foreclosed Owners Buy Again

As a result of the real estate market crash in 2008 and the subsequent downturn in the economy, many homeowners with prior stellar payment records on their mortgages ended up losing their homes in foreclosure or being forced to do a short sale to get out from under it.  Most of these former homeowners then became renters but have the desire to buy a home again once back on their feet.  However, depending upon just how severely their credit was impacted as well as whether they had a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy, they may have to wait as long as 7 years to obtain a home loan again.  However, thanks to an FHA program called “Back to Work”,  which, surprisingly,  has received little attention, there is hope for these homeowners including the opportunity to obtain a home loan again without the normal waiting period if their problems were related to a job loss and they meet certain criteria.

The Back to Work program allows borrowers that may be otherwise ineligible for an FHA-insured mortgage due to FHA’s waiting period for bankruptcies, foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu, and short sales, as well as delinquencies and/or indications of derogatory credit, including collections and judgments, to be eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage if the borrower meets certain guidelines, which include:

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St Louis Makes List of Top Performing Real Estate Markets Forecast

Clear Capital just released it’s list of the Top 50 Performing Real Estate Markets Forecast for 2015 for major metro areas and St Louis made the list at number 12!   The ranking was based upon Clear Capitals’ forecast of home price increases for 2015 and St Louis is forecast to see an increase of 2.2%.    At the top of the list is the Milwaukee WI metro area which is forecasted to see home prices increase 4.9% in 2015, followed by Columbus OH at 4.5% and Denver at 4.0%.

See the entire list below.

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St Louis’ Top Ten Neighborhoods For Home Price Reductions

Almost 3 out of every 4 homes currently listed for sale in St Ann have had a price reduction in the past 90 days, according to the latest data from MORE, REALTORS.   As the table below shows, all the St Louis neighborhoods that made the top ten list for home price reductions have had price reductions on more than half of the current listings of homes for sale in that neighborhood.

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Pending Home Sales Slip In St Louis and Throughout Midwest

Pending home sales, those listings that have contracts pending but have not yet closed, declined in St Louis in December 3.2 percent to 1,621 pending home sales from 1,674 sales in December 2013.  For the midwest region of the U.S. as a whole, pending home sales slipped a little in November (the latest month national data is available for) falling one-half of one percent from November 2013, according to the Pending Home Sales Index Report just released by the National Association of REALTORS®.

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales Drop Thirty Percent In November From Year Ago

St Louis Distressed Home Sales ticked up slightly in November 2014 rom October but declined over thirty percent (30.8%) from November 2013, according to data just released by RealtyTrac.   As the table below shows, all the counties in the St Louis core market except one saw an increase in distressed home sales in November from the month before and all saw a decline in November from a year ago.

On a national level, distressed home sales in November 2014 accounted for 12.6% of all home sales, down from 13.7% in October and from 14.8% in November 2013.

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St Louis Foreclosures For Sale

St Louis Short Sales For Sale

St Louis Distressed Home Sales November 2014

Copyright 2014 – St Louis Real Estate News – Data Source: RealtyTrac

 

St Louis Home Sales Fall While Prices Rise In November

St Louis home sales fell to 2,065 homes in November 2014 for the St Louis 5-County Core Market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), a decline of 3.3% from from 2,136 homes sold in November 2013.  St Louis home prices, on the other hand, rose 7.26 percent in November 2014 from a year ago bringing the median home price for the 5-county St Louis core market to $149,300.  As the table below shows, results varied between the counties with 2 of the 5 seeing an increase in home sales and only one (the city of St Louis) a decline in home prices.

Distressed home sales (foreclosures, short sales and REO’s) still make up a significant share of the market (about 30 percent of the home sales in November 2014) and therefore have a fairly big impact on home sales and prices.  The second table below shows the home sale data without distressed home sales being included and reveals quite a different result.  For starters, home sales (non-distressed) actually increased in November 2014 from a year ago and home prices fell a little, the exact opposite of the data with the distressed home sales included.  As the second table shows, there were significant differences in the data between the counties as well.

More proof why now, more than ever, you really need a professional and competent real estate broker or agent to assist you in buying or selling a home.  There is a lot more to the market than just what appears on the surface.  If I can help you in this regard, please contact me.

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Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas! 

manger-scene-christmas-

Photo by: John Pavelka

St Louis New Home Sales Up Over 12 Percent In November From Year Ago

St Louis New Home Sales in November 2014 increased 12.5% from November 2013 and, as would be expected given the time of year, decreased about 8% from the month before.  New home sales in St Louis out performed new home sales in the Midwest Region as a whole as the region saw 4,000 new home sales in November 2014, the same as a year ago, and a decrease of 20% from the month before, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

The median price of new homes sold in November 2014 was $235,900, an increase of 15% from the month before when the median price was $205,000, and was up about 1% from November 2013 when the median new home sale price was $237,450.

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St Louis’ Best Seller’s Market Neighborhoods

The improving real estate market, as well as low inventory, has led to the majority of St Louis neighborhoods becoming sellers market’s, according to our Market Action Index.  As of today, St Louis’ best seller’s Market can be found in the 63021 zip code area of Ballwin, followed by Des Peres and Valley Park.  The complete list of the top 15 seller’s markets in St Louis can be found below.

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St Louis’ Best Buyer’s Market Neighborhoods

The number of neighborhoods in St Louis that are currently seller’s markets has dropped in the past month but the majority (63%) of the St Louis neighborhoods we track still favor the seller over the buyer according to our Market Action Index.

So, where are the buyer’s markets in St. Louis?  Well, the list looks similar to what we have seen for a while although the position on the list has changed for many areas including the number 1 slot which is now occupied by House Springs pushing last months’ #1, St Albans, to #2 and then at #3 is a new addition to the list, Rock Hill.  Somewhat of a surprise, given all the recent events and bad press, is the fact that Ferguson, while it is on the list, is barely a buyers market coming in at a 29.  Just 1 point higher for Ferguson (30) and we would consider it a balanced market not favoring buyers or sellers.

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Prices Have Increased The Most In Past Year

Most of the neighborhoods in St Louis have seen home prices increase over the past year, at least to some extent however, some are seeing rates that are significantly higher than others.  So where are the St Louis neighborhoods that have seen the largest increase in home prices in the past year?  Let’s being with how the data is computed.  The table below is based upon current median list prices of homes for sale within a zip code.  Zip codes that don’t have a sufficient amount of annual home sales to make their statistics accurate and significant have been omitted.

As the chart below shows, the 63108 zip code area of St Louis (the Central West End) is number 1 on the list as of today in terms of the year over year increase in home prices which is at over 38%.  It’s important to note that this does NOT mean that every home in the Central West End has increased in value 38% from a year ago however.  What this means is that the median listing price of homes for sale there presently is 38% higher than a year ago.  This could be the result of a large influx of higher priced property on the market, or a large amount of foreclosures on the market a year ago, but in any event is still a good thing and shows prices and values are going up in that area.  While the table below will give you a good idea of what is going on with home prices in a given area, nothing beats a live analysis by a real estate professional which myself, or one of the highly qualified agents in our firm, can help you with.  Please contact me for more info.

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Congress Passes Extension of Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 5771, the “Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014″,  which had been passed by U.S. House of Representatives on December 3, 2014 and is now headed to President Obama’s desk for his approval.  Assuming President Obama signs the act into law, it will be good news for homeowners that sold their homes in a short sale in 2014 or in some other way was forgiven on mortgage debt during this year.  The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 extends the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 through December 31, 2014 and makes it retroactive to January 1, 2014 so there is no gap in coverage from when the last extension expired.

This falls short of the two year extension the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), among other groups, pushed for which would have covered next year as well, but is at least some relief for those affected this year.  Read the complete article on the extension from last month here.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Increases In November as Does Home Size

New home construction starts in the Midwest during November occurred at a seasonally adjusted, annual rate, of 107,000 homes, an increase of 5.9 percent from the month before and a decline of 10.1 percent from November 2013, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Year to date through the end of November, there have been 97,800 single family homes started, an increase of 2 percent from this time last year when construction had started on a total of 95,700 new single family homes.

Only half the new homes built are for sale-

One of the things to keep in mind about the new home construction numbers you hear about is not all the homes being built are for sale or adding to the inventory of homes for sale.  Some new homes are built specifically for a client, perhaps on their own property, or are built for rental or other purpose.  During the 3rd quarter of this year construction was begun on 32,000 new single-family homes and only 16,000 (50%) of those were built “for sale”.  During the same period construction was begun on 18,000 new units in multi-family buildings (2 units or more) and less than 1/2% of those were built for sale, with 94.4% of them being built for rental.

New homes in the Midwest getting larger-

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

St Louis home sales are lagging behind last years however St Louis home prices are up from last year.  How much are home prices up?  What are the HOT St Louis real estate markets (and the COLD ones as well)? Find the answers to these, and many other questions you may have about the current St Louis real state market in our newly published, 5-minute, market video update for December 2014, below.

There are neighborhoods throughout St Louis that are low on inventory and high on demand creating a seller’s market!  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!

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-December 2014

St Louis Foreclosure Activity Continues Downward Trend

St Louis foreclosure activity continued to decline in November with the number of foreclosure actions decreasing in all of the St Louis core counties from the month before, according to a report just released this morning from RealtyTrac.  The St Louis MSA as well as the core counties that make up the bulk of the St Louis market in Missouri, also saw double digit declines in foreclosure activity in November from the year before with the exception being Jefferson County which, as the table below shows, saw an increase of almost 90%.

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Mortgage Delinquency Rate Forecasted To Drop To Pre-Bubble Rates Next Year

The Mortgage Delinquency Rate, the pre-cursor to, and leading indicator of, foreclosures, which play havoc with home prices, is expected to decline to 3.12 percent by the end of this month and continue to decline next year hitting 2.51 percent by the end of 2015,  according to a forecast just released by TransUnion.  If mortgage delinquency rates fall as lowest as forecast, it will hit the lowest level since the housing bubble burst.  A home mortgage that is 60 days or more delinquent is counted in the mortgage delinquency rate for this report by TransUnion.

The report goes on to state that, even though the forecast is good and the rate will be low relative to what we have seen the past 6 years or so, even if the mortgage delinquency rate hits 2.51% as projected, it will still be significantly higher than the historical norm of 1.5% – 2.0%.

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St Louis Home Sales Decline In November While Prices Rise

St Louis home sales slipped in November to 1722 home sales for the 5-county core St Louis market (the city of St Louis and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) from 1808 home sales in November 2013, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.  Home prices in St Louis went the opposite direction during the same period however, rising from a median price of $147,500 for homes sold in November 2013 to a median price of $156,000 for homes sold in November 2014, an increase of 5.8% for the year.

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Help For Underwater Homeowners-FHA Short Refinance

In 2010, in an effort to “help responsible homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their property”, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began a program that allowed lenders to offer refinancing options to underwater borrowers that included a reduction in the principal amount of their mortgage to get it more in line with the current value.

This program, called the “FHA Refinance  of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions (Short Refi) Program”, has helped only about 4,000 people or so reduce their loan balances, in spite of the fact that when announced in 2010 David Stevens, the FHA Commissioner at the time, testified before the Committee on Financial Services that this program was designed to help some of the “1.5 million borrowers who owe more not their mortgages than their homes are worth..”.

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St Louis Metro Area 14th Lowest Performing Real Estate Market

St Louis ranked 14th on Clear Capital’s list of the 15 Lowest Performing Real Estate Markets based upon home price appreciation on a quarter over quarter basis.  The report, based upon data through November 2014, shows Hartford, CT at the top of the list with a .6% loss in home prices for the most recent quarter from the prior quarter.  The rest of the metro areas on the list, like St Louis, did have an increase in home prices from the prior quarter, just all .7% of less.  At the other end of the spectrum, as the table below shows, was the list of 15 Highest Performing Real Estate Markets with, believe it or not, Detroit, MI a the top of the list with a  5.5% increase in home prices from the prior quarter.

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