Mortgage Interest Rates Remain Lower For Two Weeks Now

As the chart below illustrates, on November 10th, mortgage interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped sharply from 7.22% the day before to  6.62% on the 10th.  Since dropping, interest rates have remained around the 6.6% level.

Historically, the current rates are not bad, but that does lessen the impact…

As the bottom chart below shows, interest rates have been above the current levels for over half the period.  However, understandably, that doesn’t mean much to first-time home buyers or younger homebuyers as for over the past 10 years the rates have been much less, even to the point of hitting all-time lows in the mid 2’s.

Mortgage Interest Rates Based Upon the MND Rate Index

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)Mortgage Interest Rates Based Upon the MND Rate Index

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Interest Rates 1970-Present

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Interest Rates 1970-Present

 

St Louis Real Estate Market Update – Video

Is the St Louis real estate market going to crash?  The national news is filled lately with reports of slowing housing markets throughout the country, increasing inventories, falling sales and prices.  Some prognosticators are predicting some metro areas will see home prices fall by as much as 40 or 50 percent.  Is the St Louis real estate market on a similar trajectory??  While I can’t predict the future, I can share data to help you see where the St Louis real estate market is currently as well as where the data shows it’s headed.  

In our MORE, REALTORS 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!  

St Louis Real Estate Market Update - Video

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
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St Louis Real Estate Market Report For October 2022

Below is our St Louis Real Estate Market Report for October 2022 for the City and County of St Louis combined.  You can access the full infographic, containing data for St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties as well by clicking on the image below.

St Louis Real Estate Report for October 2022

(click on infographic for complete report including other counties)St Louis Real Estate Report for October 2022

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Nearly 9 Percent

There were 4,499 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2022, a decrease of 8.89% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,938 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with three of the counties have a double digit decline.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2022

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Over 8 PercentSt Louis New Home Building Permits -September 2022

 

Builders’ Housing Affordability Index Drops To Lowest Level Since Inception

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, jointly publish quarterly their Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) which shows the affordability, or lack thereof, of homes to a typical family.  To arrive at an index value the median home price of recently sold homes for an area is taken into account as well as the median income for a family in that area.  From this data the index is computed to show how affordable the typical home is to a typical family.  The higher the index, the more affordable homes are to buyers in that market and the lower the index the less affordable.

For the 3rd quarter of 2022, the HOI index hit the lowest level (meaning homes were less affordable) since the inception of the HOI in 2012.  As the chart below shows, the current Housing Opportunity Index for the U.S. is at 42.2% meaning just over 40% of families can afford to buy a home in their area. This is down slightly from 2nd quarter but down quite a bit from the first quarter of this year when it was 56.9%.

Affordability in St Louis is much better…

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index is also produced for metro-areas.  For the third quarter of this year, St Louis had a HOI index of 74.8, over 30 points better than the national index!  This means a typical home in St Louis is affordable to about 30% more of St Louis families with a typical income than on the national level.

NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)

(click on chart for current, live, interactive chart)

NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)

 

Franklin County Closed Home Sales In October Over 43 Percent Lower Than Last Year

As the tables below show, so far during October there have been 52 home sales closed in Franklin County, down 43% from the same period last year when there were 91 sales closed.  The median sold price this month for those closed sales in Franklin County has been $210,000 an increase of over 12 percent from the same period last year when the median prices homes in Franklin County sold for was $187,000.

The time it took listings to sell actually improved slightly with the median time being 43 days last October and 4o days this month. Last year the homes sold for a median of 100% of the asking price and this month it dropped slightly to 99.68%.

Franklin County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 – Oct 24, 2021

(click on table for all current data)Franklin County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 - Oct 24, 2021

Franklin County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 – Oct 24, 2022

(click on table for all current data)Franklin County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 - Oct 24, 2022

St Louis County Closed Home Sales In October Over 25 Percent Lower Than Last Year

As the tables below show, so far during October there have been 704 home sales closed in St Louis County, down 26% from the same period last year when there were 955 sales closed.  The median sold price this month for those closed sales in St Louis County has been $255,000 an increase of over 10 percent from the same period last year when the median prices homes in St Louis County sold for was $231,000.  The time it took listings to sell has not changed with both periods having a median of 12 days and homes sold for a median of 100% of the asking price during both periods as well.

St Louis County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 – Oct 24, 2021

(click on table for all current data)St Louis County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 - Oct 24, 2021

St Louis County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 – Oct 24, 2022

(click on table for all current data)
St Louis County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 - Oct 24, 2022

St Charles County Closed Home Sales In October Nearly 30 Percent Lower Than Last Year

As the tables below show, so far during October there have been 278 home sales closed in St Charles County, down 28% from the same period last year when there were 388 sales closed.  The median sold price this month for those closed sales in St Charles County has been $337,000 an increase of over 12 percent from the same period last year when the median prices homes in St Charles County sold for was 300.  Another bit of data which is illustrates the overbidding we’ve seen in the past that has quickly come to an end for the most part is that a year ago the St Charles County homes were selling for 102.32% of the listing price at the time of sale and for the closings this month it’s been 100% of the list price.  Granted, getting full price is a good thing it’s just seller’s were enjoying the bonus of overbids they were receiving before.

St Charles County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 – Oct 24, 2021

(click on table for all current data)

St Charles County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2021 - Oct 24, 2021

St Charles County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 – Oct 24, 2022

(click on table for all current data)

St Charles County Closed Home Sales Oct 1, 2022 - Oct 24, 2022

Survey Shows Majority Of Consumers Think Now Is A Good Time To Sell A Home But Not Buy One

Monthly, Fannie Mae surveys consumers to gauge their sentiment toward whether it’s a good time to buy or sell a home and publishes the result in their Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI).  As the chart below illustrates, in the most recent survey, which was just released, the HPSI index was at 60.8, the lowest level in nearly 11 years.  No doubt the higher interest rates and softening economy are taking their toll on homebuyer’s optimism about the prospects of buying a home in the current market.  This marks the seventh-consecutive monthly decline in the index and the first time since May 2020 that more consumers thought home prices would decline than not.  In September 2022, the month covered in the latest report, only 19% of consumers thought it was a good time to buy a home while 59% felt it was a good time to sell.

You can access all the data and charts from the Fannie Mae Purchase Sentiment report here.

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart 

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart 

 

Nearly Forty Percent Of The Renters In Missouri Feel They May Face Eviction Within The Next 2 Months

According to the results of the Household Pulse Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau during the week of  October 5 – October 17, about 1 in 8 tenants in Missouri reported they are not current on rent and a staggering 37.87% said they are somewhat likely to face eviction in the next 2-months.

Tenant Delinquencies In Missouri (Infographic)

(click for full-size version)

Tenant Delinquencies In Missouri (Infographic)

 

 

 

Time On Market and Percentage of St Louis Listings With Reduced Prices Continues To Increase

As the infographic below illustrates, the time active listings in St Louis have been on the market is much greater than the time it took homes that closed last month to sell.  In addition, a much greater percentage of the current active listings have reduced their asking prices versus the sales that closed last month.

The most dramatic increase in days on the market was in St Charles County.   Active listings in St Charles County have been on the market a median time of 38 days, almost 5 times as long as the sales that closed in September where the median time on the market was just 8 days.  All 5 counties reported below saw the percentage of listings with a price reduction go up about the same, from twenty-something percent to forty-something percent.

Home Builder Sentiment Falls For 10th Month In A Row

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) report for October 2022 and, not surprisingly, it shows the builders are continuing to lose confidence in the market.  As our chart below shows, the Housing Market Index (HMI), the red line, peaked in November 2020 at 90 and has, with the exception of a few minor upticks along the way, fallen ever since reaching 38, the lowest level since August 2012 when it fell to 37.

  

Single Family Housing Starts and HMI Index 1985-2022 (NAHB)

Single Family Housing Starts and HMI Index 1985-2022 (NAHB)

St Louis Foreclosure Filings During Third Quarter Increase 45 Percent From A Year Ago

During the third quarter of this year, there were 907 properties with foreclosure filings in the St Louis MSA, according to ATTOM Data’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.  This represents an increase of 44.43% in St Louis foreclosures from the same quarter a year ago but is a decline of 16% from the second quarter of this year, according to the report.

As the table below shows, with the exception of Bond County in Illinois, all 15 counties reported had an increase in foreclosure activity during the 3rd quarter over last year, and all at least a double-digit increase.   Lincoln County, Missouri saw the largest increase at 325% followed by Macoupin County, Illinois at 293%.    Only five of the 15 counties saw an increase in foreclosure activity from the prior quarter.

Given the inflation numbers announced yesterday, rising interest rates and the rest of the economic challenges that exist we are likely to see a continued increase in foreclosure activity for the foreseeable future.

  

St Louis MSA Foreclosure Activity – 3rd Quarter 2022

St Louis MSA Foreclosure Activity - 3rd Quarter 2022

Data source: ATTOM Data Research – Copyright 2022 St Louis Real Estate News

Fannie Mae Predicts Lower Home Sales and Home Prices Next Year

Yesterday, Fannie Mae released their October housing forecast in which they forecast, among other things, where home sales and prices are headed.  The report incudes a forecast for next year, which included:

  • Home prices in 2023 to decline 1.5% from 2022
  • Home sales to finish 2022 down nearly 18% from last year and drop another 22% in 2023
  • New home construction to end 2022 down 3.6% from last year and drop another 25% in 2023.
  • Mortgage Interest Rates will continue to rise the rest of these year, ending the year at 6.7% and then will ease back to 6.4% in 2023.

See Fannie Maes Complete Housing Forecast HERE

Nearly Half The Active St Louis Listings Have Reduced The Asking Price

As the STL Real Estate Trends report below shows, as of last week, 43% of the active listings in the St Louis 5-County core market have a current asking price that is lower than the initial asking price.  This is more than a 100% increase from the same week last year when only 20% of the listings had a reduced asking price.

Franklin County saw the biggest increase in price reductions on listings  from last year with an increase from 14% to 47%.  Franklin County also has the highest percentage of active listings with a reduced price and St Charles County, at 38%, the lowest.

STL Real Estate Trends Report – Price Reductions

(click on report for most recent report)

STL Real Estate Trends Report - Price Reductions  St Louis 5-County Core Market

St Louis Real Estate Market Report For September 2022

Below is our St Louis Real Estate Market Report for September 2022 for the City and County of St Louis combined.  You can access the full infographic, containing data for St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties as well by clicking on the image below.  Worth noting and remembering is not all data is created equally nor is all of what you see reported accurate.  Given the challenging and rapidly changing economic times we are in which are having an direct impact on the St Louis housing and real estate market, now, almost more than ever, you need to be sure the data you base your real estate decisions on is accurate and the agents you are trusting to get you through the process have the knowledge, information and accurate data they need to do so.  At MORE, REALTORS® we have developed proprietary software which uses the database we have created from the REALTOR® MLS (MARIS) to produce what we believe is the most accurate and relevant data and reports for the St Louis residential real estate market.  For example, currently, there are other sources reporting (and many, many real estate agents sharing the information without verifying) that the median price for homes sold in the City and County of St Louis during September was over 6% higher than our data shown below.  Think what an impact that could have on you if you base your decision to buy or sell a home on pricing data that is over stating the value.

Oh, how do we know we’re right?  We have proof, straight from the MLS, see the image below our infographic which is a screen shot straight from the MLS showing date for closed sales during the month of September in the city and county of St Louis.  You’ll find that the median price from the MLS is $250,000, the same as our data computed, the number of sales is a little higher in the MLS (20 or just over 1%) because while about 99% of sales are sent out in “feeds” to broker websites etc (including Zillow and Realtor.com) there are a few listings that are not and the DOM (days on market, or days to sell) at 10 is very close to our 12 (this is due to us using a slightly different method to compute median for the data).

St Louis Real Estate Report for September 2022

(click on infographic for complete report including other counties)
Continue reading “St Louis Real Estate Market Report For September 2022

House Payment On Typical St Louis Home Increased Over 50% In Past 12-Months (Infographic)

Click on the image below to see the InfographicHow Interest Rates Affect The Cost of a St Louis Home - Infographic

St Louis New Home Activity Continues To Decline

There were 4,486* building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended August 31, 2022, a decrease of 8.93% from the same period a year ago when there were 4,926 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Six of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with four of the counties haveing a double digit decline.  

*The city of St Louis did not report building permit data for August 2022.  Last year there were 54 permits issued in August, if we assume the same number for this year, the City of St Louis would of had an increase of 5.6% for the period, and the overall drop in building permits for the St Louis area would have been 7.8% rather than the 8.93% shown…


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -Aug  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -Aug  2022

 

Why St Louis Home Prices Are Going To Decline

A little over two weeks ago I wrote my most recent article addressing St Louis home prices titled “Will St Louis Home Prices Decline?” in which my short answer was “yes”, but kind of tongue in cheek and based upon the seasonality of home prices, but my longer answer was more vague.  I mentioned that there certainly is a correction coming but pointed out that there are so many variables that will affect prices that it is hard to say to what extent this correction will be.  While this is still true, a lot has happened in the short time period since that article that has caused me to become more bearish on the St Louis real estate market to the point where I’m confident St Louis home prices will decline.

What has changed in the last 16 days…

  • While it doesn’t directly impact the St Louis market, hurricane Ian has wreaked havoc on a lot of Florida and other areas and will no doubt impact the overall housing market and economy and likely in more of a negative way.
  • Interest rates have risen another 1/2% hitting and staying near 7%.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) just announced that mortgage applications dropped over 14% during the last week of September, the biggest one-week drop in 17 months and pushed their index down to the lowest point since 1997.
  • The percentage of active listings that have reduced the asking price at least once broke the 40% mark.
  • The 12-month home sales trend for St Louis for the period ending September 30, 2022 fell to the lowest point in over 2-years.
  • Active listings in St Louis have been for sale a median of 43 days over four times higher than the median time to sell during the past 2 years of 10 days.

Market data pointing to lower St Louis home prices…

  • The declining sales trend mentioned above.  As chart 1 below shows, home sales during September in St Louis were down nearly 19% from last September.
  • The declining home price trend.  Chart 1 also reveals the median price of homes sold during September 2022 was $267,500, only 2.8% from then September 2021 when the median sold price was $260,000 which was a 8.3% increase from September 2020 when the median price was $240,000.
  • Showings on active listings continues to decline.  Chart 2 shows there are almost 10% fewer showings of active listings now then there were in the first week of January (the slowest time of the year).  Last year at this time showing activity was over 30% higher than now and in 2020 it was abut 55% higher.  Fewer showings mean fewer sales in coming.
  • The widening gap between home prices and rental rates.  Chart 3 shows the home price index (blue line) rising above the rental rates (red line) at a fairly steep rate. Historically, such as the late 1980’s – 2000 shown on the left side of the chart, these two lines track closely with home prices slight below the rental rates line.  The last time home prices started increasing more than rents was in the early 2000’s and this continue until the gap widened to the point that something had to give…either home prices had to fall or rents had to increase.  In 2008, the bubble burst and home prices fell.  While the present gap is not as large as it was during the height of the housing market bubble in 2006-07, we’re headed that way.
  • CPI and St Louis Home Price Index are hitting bubble levels.  Chart 4 shows the rate of change (year over year) in CPI and the  St Louis home price index.  The rate of change in both has already exceeded what in the past (with the exception of 1979 when it went a little higher) has triggered home prices to fall.
  • Home price and interest rate increases are killing St Lous home affordability.  Table 5 shows that currently, based upon median home prices and interest rates, one year of house payments (principal and interest only) take about 30% of the median household income for St Louis.  In 2007, at the peak of the housing bubble, it was only 21% and in 2000, which many economists use as a “normal” or baseline year, it was 20%.  So the real cost of a typical St Louis home to a typical St Louis family is about 50% higher now than normal.

St Louis Home Sales Trend Lowest In 2-Years with YTD Sales 9 Percent Lower Than Last Year

There are many headlines out there talking about home sales down 20% from last year on a national level but here in St Louis we are not seeing as large of a decline in home sales.  As the chart below shows, for the 12-month period ended August 31, 2022, there were 27,891 homes sold in the St Louis 5-county core market, which as the trend line (dark green) depicts is a declining trend we’ve seen for the past 11 months now.  This 12-month trend is the lowest trend since September 2020 when there were 27,572 homes sold in the prior 12-months.  However, year to date there are have been 17,480 homes sold in the St Louis area (lighter green line on the chart) which is only a little over 9% less than this time last year when there were 19,875 homes sold.

St Louis 5-County Core Market – 12-Month Home Sales Trend and YTD Home Sales

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)St Louis 5-County Core Market - 12-Month Home Sales Trend and YTD Home Sales

Mortgage Interest Rates Top 7 Percent for first time in over 20 years

Today, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 7.08% marking the first time in over 20-years the rate has gone above 7%.  Historically speaking, as the 2nd chart shows, this is not that high of an interest rate and, in fact, lower than the median rate over the past 50 years, however, it’s a very high rate based upon the the recent past.

The affect of interest rates on home prices…

Interest rates just began increasing in the past few months, rising above the 4% level in February, so it will take time to see the impact of this on home prices.  We’re beginning to see the effect in prices somewhat, particularly with the decrease of “overbids” and an increase in reduced prices on active listings, but nothing too dramatic yet.  For example, as the bottom chart shows, the median price of homes sold in St Louis in August was $280,000, a nearly 11% increase from the median price of $252,450 a year ago. Since home prices typically peak around June, they are usually lower in August than June or July.  If we examine this to see if perhaps there was a bigger decline in those months this year than last we find that last year prices dropped 3/4 of 1% from June to July and then dropped 4% from July to August, for a total decline of 4.7% from June’s peak to August.  This year, prices dropped 3.9% from June to July, then 1.7% from July to August for a total decline of 5.6%, only slightly higher than last year.  I do think we’ll see a larger impact than this, but thus far it’s not so bad.

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Based Upon the MND Rate Index

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Mortgage Interest Rates Based Upon the MND Rate Index

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Interest Rates 1970-Present

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Interest Rates 1970-Present

St Louis 5-County Core Home Prices and Sales – Past 25 Months

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis 5-County Core Home Prices and Sales - Past 25 Months

Showings On St Louis Listings Drop Below To Lowest Levels Of The Year

It’s no secret that the real estate market slows down in the winter and typically nearly screeches to a halt from shortly before Christmas to shortly after New Years.  Therefore, when tracking showing activity in the St Louis area, the first week of January of each year is used as the base, or “0” value and then each rolling 7-day period afterward is compared to that first week.

As the chart below shows, in 2020 and 2021 all weekly averages of showing activity were above the baseline of January until getting close to Thanksgiving, with the one exception being late March and Early April of 2020 which was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning.  The orange line depicts this year and it shows showing activity all year has been below the levels of the prior two years for the most part, even dropping below January levels five times so far this year and has spent the bulk of September below the January levels.  For the most recent 7 day period, ended September 25th, there were over 4% fewer showings in the St Louis area than during the first week of January this year.

Listing Showing Activity For the St Louis Metro Area (along with other markets served by MARIS)

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)
Listing Showing Activity For the St Louis Metro Area (along with other markets served by MARIS)

Will St Louis Home Prices Decline?

The short answer is yes.  They decline every year as we head into winter due to the seasonal nature of the business.  If you look at the first chart below which depicts the median price of homes sold in the St Louis 5-County core market since 1998, you will notice a very consistent pattern of prices rising in the spring and summer, then declining in the fall and winter.  For the most part, the other pattern you will see is that the peak each spring is higher than the spring before and the bottom each winter is higher than the winter before, but there are exceptions to that such as after the bubble burst in 2008.

So, as we head into the fall season, we can expect home prices to decline.  The question is, given all that is going on in the economy, including mortgage interest rates in excess of 6%, will the decline be more than the typical “seasonal adjustment”?  To address this, the first thing we can look at is the percentage decline we’ve seen in the recent past from the summer peak to September which is as follows:

  • 2019 – Summer peak to September –10.9%
  • 2020 – Summer peak to September – 0% (no change)
  • 2021 -Summer peak to September –1.9%
  • 2022 -Summer peak to September –10.2%

What this reveals is this years decline, while definitely larger than the last two years, is actually less than the decline in 2019 (which was a good market) so this doesn’t jump out as particularly alarming.  I think it’s worth saying that we are no doubt going to have a market “correction” or “adjustment” at a minimum because home prices could not simply keep increasing like they have been so this years seasonal adjustment may just be a return to normal.  Having said that though, since the “bottom” of the winter market price-wise doesn’t usually come until January or February, we will need to watch the next couple of months to see if this downward price trend remains consistent with historic norms or in fact picks up steam and looks like it’s headed for a bigger decline than normal.  My guess is at this point it the latter.  While I’m not a “gloom and doomer” in fact, I like to think of my self as an opportunist and see opportunities in challenging markets, I just think I’m being realistic.  There are a lot of moving balls in the air right now with regard to our economy and more unknowns than certainties in my opinion.

We can’t underestimate the impact of interest rates either…

Lawsuit Filed Against Zillow With Accusations of Wiretapping and Invasion of Privacy

On Monday of this week, a federal lawsuit was filed in the United Status District Court for the Western District of Washington by Natalie Perkins and Kenneth Hasson against Zillow Group, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.  The suit was filed as a class action complaint on behalf of “All natural persons in the United States and its territories whose Website Communications were captured through the use of Session Replay Code embedded in Zillow’s website”.

In the complaint, the plaintiff’s allege that the defendants, Zillow and Microsoft, violated the Washington Wiretapping Statute (Wash. Rev. Code §9.73.030, et. seq.) through the use of Microsoft’s Session Replay Code “…on Zillow’s website to spy on, automatically and secretly, and to intercept Zillow’s website visitors’ electronic interactions communications with Zillow in real time”.  The second Count of the complaint, Invasion of Privacy – Intrusion Upon Seclusion, alleges that, using the same code as well as other methods which violated the plaintiff’s “…reasonable expectation of privacy in their Website Communications..” which violates the plaintiff’s “….right to
privacy is also established in the Constitution of the State of Washington which explicitly recognizes an individual’s right to privacy under Article 1 §7.

The lawsuit is asking the court for relief in the form of a judgment as follows:

A. Certifying the Class and appointing Plaintiffs as the Class representatives; B. Appointing Plaintiffs’ counsel as class counsel;
C. Declaring that Defendants’ past conduct was unlawful, as alleged herein; D. Declaring Defendants’ ongoing conduct is unlawful, as alleged herein;
E. Enjoining Defendants from continuing the unlawful practices described herein, and awarding such injunctive and other equitable relief as the Court deems just and proper;
F. Awarding Plaintiffs and the Class members statutory, actual, compensatory, consequential, punitive, and nominal damages, as well as restitution and/or disgorgement of profits unlawfully obtained;
G. Awarding Plaintiffs and the Class members pre-judgment and post-judgment interest;
H. Awarding Plaintiffs and the Class members reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses; and
I. Granting such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

The entire lawsuit filing, NATALIE PERKINS and KENNETH HASSON, individually and on behalf themselves and of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. ZILLOW GROUP, INC. and MICROSOFT CORPORATION, can be accessed here.

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis For Most Recent 12-Months Decline Over 8 Percent

There were 4,600 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during the 12-month period ended July 31, 2022, a decrease of 8.06% from the same period a year ago when there were 5,003 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).   Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw a decrease in building permits from the same period a year ago with three of the counties have a double digit decline.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits -July  2022

St Louis New Home Building Permits -July  2022

 

St Louis Home Sales Trend Declines In August For the 11th Consecutive Month

The 12-month home sales trend in the St Louis 5-county core market declined in August to 27,840 homes sold in the 5-county area during the prior 12-months, marking the lowest 12-month sales number since September 2020.  As the chart below illustrates, the 12-month home sales trend in St Louis has declined now for 11-months in a row landing just slightly higher than the 12-months sales of 27,573 for September 2020.

The St Louis home sales trend is still higher than any period after August 2006 and prior to September 2020…

At the current level, the St Louis home sales trend is slightly above the trends prior to September 2020 going back to the peak of the bubble in August 2006 when there were 27,974 homes sale in the prior 12-months. However, if it declines further will be in the range of the years 2016 through mid-2020.

St Louis Home Price Trend Outpacing Sales…

The chart below also shows the median price per foot for homes sold during the prior 12-month period.  As it shows, the home price trend has continued to increase while the sales trend has been declining however that changed in June when the price trend started declining.  If you look back t prior years you will see that is earlier than when the normal seasonal adjustment comes so it is likely indicative of the market.

Year To Date Home Sales in St Louis Metro Area Down Nearly 11 Percent From Last Year

There have been 21,164 homes sold in the St Louis Metro area during the first 7-months of this year which, as the STL Market Chart below illustrates, is a decline of 10.7% from the same time last year when there were 23,709 homes sold.

2022 home sales fairly consistent with 4 out of 5 prior years…

As I stated above, St Louis YTD home sales are lagging behind last year however, last years sales appear to be the market peak and the difference, as shown below,  between current YTD sales and the years prior to last year is not as significant.

  • Through July 2020, there were 21,344 homes sold in the St Louis MSA, less than 1% more than this year.
  • Through July 2019, there were 21,702 homes sold in the St Louis MSA,  2.5% more than this year.
  • Through July 2018, there were 22,095 homes sold in the St Louis MSA, 4.4% more than this year.
  • Through July 2017, there were 21,994 homes sold in the St Louis MSA, 3.9% more than this year.

St Louis slowing home sales trend appears to increasing….

Below the chart is our STL Market Report for the St Louis metro area, which shows there were 40,171 homes sold during the 12-month period ended July 31, 2022,  a decline of nearly 6.5% from the prior year.  This, in contrast to the double-digit decline noted above for the most recent 7-months of that 12-month period indicates that the slowing home sales trend is increasing.  We’ll get a lot more clearer picture of this in the next month or two as we see what happens in the economy, interest rates, etc.

One-Third Of St Louis Homes Listed For Sale Have Reduced The Price

We continue to see more price reductions on listings, or, as some agents prefer to refer to them as “price improvements”, throughout the St Louis area.  As the infographic below depicts, as of today one-third of the active listings in the St Louis 5-County core market have a current asking price that is below their original price.

Will The Housing Market Crash?

Apparently a lot of consumers are concerned about the housing market crashing or at least concerned enough to be online searching for answers.  According to Google Trends the search phrase “Will The Housing Market Crash?” has hit it’s 5-year peak in terms of interest level during the last 4-5 months.  In addition, according to Google Adwords tools, there are 10,000 – 100,000 searches for month for the phrase “Will The Housing Market Crash?” and 100,000 – 1,000, 000 monthly searches for “housing market crash“.

Will there actually be a housing market crash in St Louis?

I guess first we should define “crash” as the word itself sounds rather harsh.  But if we agree that a market crash would be less severe than the housing market bubble burst we witnessed in 2008, then I would say a “crash” is more likely than a bubble burst.  However, what may seem like a crash in the St Louis housing market may in fact not be as much of a crash as well as a correction.  Given that the St Louis real estate market has been flying high for a few years now and many seller’s have felt like they died and went to heaven and buyer’s just felt like they died from the competition and difficulty in buying a home, a correction is really needed.

How bad will the St Louis housing market correction be?

Yesterday’s Headlines Say Interest Rates Are Below 5 Percent – Why They Were Wrong

I saw dozens and dozens of headlines yesterday reporting that mortgage interest rates had fallen below 5% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The catch is on the day that was reported, yesterday, interest rates were actually above 5% on a 30-year fixed-rate loan.  As our chart below shows, the MND Rate index was reporting 5.09% and, below that, Optimalblue was reporting 5.326%.  Both of the aforementioned charts are updated daily and considered by many in the industry to have the most current and accurate information.

How could all the big headlines be wrong?

Well, actually the articles I scanned were not wrong in what they were reporting, the headline would just give many home buyers a different impression perhaps than what was actually being reported.  What prompted the headlines was yesterday, like every week on Thursday, the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) results were released.  In Freddie Mac’s report, it showed the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.99% (see the Freddie Mac chart at bottom).  The catch is, the survey is done from Monday through Wednesday of the week and then the results reported on Thursday.  Many lenders submit their rates to Freddie Mac on Monday meaning by the time the report comes out they are 3-days old.  A lot happens in the mortgage market in 3-days, in fact a lot can happen during one day.  Oh yeah, the other thing worth noting is if you read the details on the Freddie Mac survey the stated rate was only obtained by paying 0.80 in points, so 8/10 of 1% of the loan amount would be paid up front to get that rate.

Freddie Mac’s Survey Is Very Valuable and Relevant