Lincoln County Has Fastest-Selling Zip Code within the St Louis MSA

The average residential listing in the 63362 zip code area in Lincoln County, Missouri has been on the market for just 15 days, making 63362 the fastest-selling zip code within the St Louis MSA at this time.  As our table below shows, Lincoln County zips occupy two of the top spots with the 63379 zip code area in a three-way tie for  3rd on the list with listing having an average time on the market of 25 days.  So what’s up with Lincoln County?  Maybe with all this social-distancing going on people have decided to head to more sparsely populated areas making it easier, or perhaps have discovered they can move farther out and work remotely?

I’m not saying there aren’t other, non Covid-19 reasons, to move to Lincoln County such as the county seat for Lincoln County, Troy, Missouri.  Troy’s popularity has grown substantially with its population increasing about 28% in the past decade from 10,640 people ion 2010 to 13,600 currently while, during the same period, for example, the city of St Louis’ population declined 8% from 319,320 to 293,792.

St Louis MSAs Fastest-Selling Zip Codes

(click on table for a complete, current list)St Louis MSAs Fastest-Selling Zip Codes

St Louis Area Showings Of Listings On The Rise

Showings of real estate listings in St Louis fell dramatically after the COVID-19 outbreak and hit levels that were about half of what they were the same time last year during the first half of April.  Since hitting the low point on April 12th, showings have, as the chart below shows, increased sharply to the point where they are only down 15% from the same time last year.  Given that home buyers are much more open to virtual showings and hesitant to look at a home in person without thoroughly vetting it online, resulting in fewer showings per sale, this decline is really not bad at all.

St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

 

 

Homeownership rate for the St Louis MSA is 22nd highest of largest MSAs

The homeownership rate in the St Louis MSA for the first quarter of this year was 68.4%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  While this was just a slight increase from the prior quarter, when the St Louis homeownership rate was 68.3%, it was good enough to move St Louis’s homeownership rate from 24th to 22nd on the list of the 75 largest MSAs.

Homeownership Rates By MSA – 1st Quarter 2020

Homeownership Rates By MSA - 1st Quarter 2020 

 

Showings of listings in St Louis On The Rise

Yesterday, I wrote about how St Louis home sales were on the rebound based upon the latest contract data which showed the number of new contracts on listings in the St Louis MSA had declined by just 16% from the same time a year ago.  The question is, will that trend continue?  Well, a very good, and reliable, leading-indicator of home sales is home showings, and, as the chart below shows, showings of listings in the St Louis MSA has been on the rise over the past two weeks.  As of yesterday, showings were down just 17.7% from the same time last year for the St Louis MSA.  This would suggest that, absent something happening to disrupt it, the home sales trend I reported yesterday may continue.

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Showings Of Listings in the St Louis metro area

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

Showings Of Listings in the St Louis metro area 

St Louis Home Sales On The Rebound In Spite of COVID-19

Maybe it’s the gorgeous weather, a more optimistic outlook after receiving stimulus payments or perhaps just being tired of waiting in limbo, but homebuyers have come out strong in St Louis during the past week!  St Louis home sales are still not at the levels we would expect at this time of year but, as my table below shows, for the St Louis MSA as a whole, the most recent 7-day period is down just 16% from the same time last year.  This is about half the decline I’ve seen when pulling the data as recently as a week ago.

St Charles County home sales have come back the strongest with 185 homes sold during the 7-day period from 4/14 through 4/21, just 12% less than the same period last year and the city of St Louis is next with a decline of just 14%.  Franklin County is struggling the most with just about half as many home sales as last year.

As I wrote yesterday, with low-interest rates and the buying opportunities out there, now is a great time to buy for those that are able.  Wow, now that I think about it, maybe that’s the reason home sales are increasing, people are listening to me LOL.

St Louis New Residential Home Sales April 14 – 21 – (Table)

St Louis New Residential Home Sales April 14 - 21 - (Table)

Date Source: MARIS – Copyright 2020 St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

Mortgage Interest Rates Expected To Continue Falling Until Hitting 2.9 Percent Next Year

Fannie Mae issued their monthly housing forecast for April which includes, among other data, a forecast of what mortgage interest rates will be in the coming months.  Last months forecast had projected that mortgage rates would continue to decline moving forward but only to a low of 3.1% before the end of 2021 while the April forecast predicted the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would fall to 2.9% in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and stay there through the balance of the year.

If you’re able, now’s the time to buy!

While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as job loss, is going to take some would-be home buyers out of the market, for those that are still able to buy, now is a great time to buy a home.  There are many factors that play in favor of buyers today, such as the fact that there are about 1/3 fewer of them (buyers in the market) now than this time last year, sellers that want to have fewer people coming through their homes and interest rates.  As our chart below shows, not only are rates low now, they are projected to go much lower even.

Why not wait until next year when the rates hit their lowest?

Good question, but there are several reasons not to wait.  First off, the rates shown on my chart are “projections”, or to put it another way “an educated guess”, so there is no guarantee rates will actually come down as predicted.  In addition, once the stay at home orders go away and we start moving back to something closer to normal, I anticipate there will be a flood of buyers to the market which, along with lower interest rates (if that happens) will likely drive home prices up.  So, for buyers that are able, they may get a better buy today, with less competition, still get a good interest rate and then if rates do fall as predicted can easily refinance to take advantage of lower rates.

Fannie Mae Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast April 2020 (Chart)

Fannie Mae Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast April 2020 (Chart)

Data source: Fannie Mae – Copyright ©2020 St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

Showings of St Louis Listings Increase Forty-Two Percent Since Low 8 Days Ago

Showings of listings for sale in the St Louis metro area started to decline on March 10th after COVID-19 hit our area and stay at home orders followed.  As the chart below shows, the number of showings, compared to the same period last year, continued to fall until hitting the bottom on April 12th.

By the time showings hit rock bottom, they had declined to a level equal to about 25% fewer showings than during the first week of January this year and nearly 50% fewer showings than the same time last year. However, since hitting bottom on the 12th, showings have increased 42% to the current point which is 7% higher than the first week of January and down just about 19% from the same time last year.

Showings in St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Showings in St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

The COVID-19 Impact On The St Louis Real Estate Market – One Month In

The COVID-19 pandemic (coronavirus) began impacting the St Louis area just a little over a month ago and I’ve been tracking the impact on the St Louis real estate market along the way.  From the outset, we have seen a decline in the number of new listings, new sales and physical showings of listings, however, overall the decline has remained fairly constant.  New sales of listings for the St Louis area has pretty well hovered around a level equal to about tw0-thirds of the activity we saw at the same time last year.

Now that we are about a month into the “COVID-19 effect”, a few weeks into the stay at home orders and a few weeks into real estate agents adjusting to doing business in a different way, I wanted to take an in-depth look to see where we stand now.  I’ll warn you in advance, this article is a little long, mainly because of tables and data, but I wanted to include as much data as I could to paint the complete picture of the market.

The Population Increase of St Louis during past 9 years was less than one-tenth of U.S. population growth

While we are in the midst of the 2020 census, the U.S. Census Bureau released its population growth estimates for metropolitan statistical areas (MSA’s) in the U.S. which revealed the St Louis MSA  saw a population increase of just 0.6% from 2010 through 2019.  As the table below shows, the population of the St Louis MSA in 2010 was 2,787,751 and in 2019 it was 2,803,228, an increase of 15,477 people during the 9-year period or 0.6%.  Overall, the United States saw a population increase of 6.3% during the same period and the population of MSAs across the country saw an increase of 7.5%.  In terms of the rate of population increase for MSAs from 2010-2019, St Louis ranked 283rd out of 384 MSA’s.

St Louis MSA Population Change 2010-2019

St Louis MSA Population Change 2010-2019

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – April 2020

The St Louis real estate market is off to a good start for 2020 however, it is getting impacted by COVID-19.   This month’s market update video includes market data through the end of March but, even though about 2/3 of March was after COVID-19 began disrupting things here, the effects really cannot be seen yet.  A couple of weeks ago I did a Special Report video that was specifically about the impact of coronavirus on the St Louis real estate market, but it won’t be until our May market report that we really see the full impact of it on the market. Rates are back down after a brief stint on the rise. The mortgage market is a little volatile now given all that is going on but, so far, so good.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

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You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

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The IRS Extends Time-Frame To Complete Exchanges and Opportunity Zone Rollovers

Last night, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance to extend the time permitted to complete a like-kind exchange or rollover into an Opportunity fund.  While the actual IRS notice has not been issued yet (I’m guessing it will come out today) and that will contain more specifics, below are highlights of the relief that is being granted to real estate investors by the IRS as a result of COVID-19:

  • 1031 Like-kind exchange – If an investor is in the midst of 1031 exchange and has already sold the property they owned and the 45-day period to identify the replacement property or the 180-day period to close on the replacement property falls between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the deadline will be extended to July 15, 2020.
  • Opportunity zone – If an investor has sold a capital asset and plans to roll over the gain from it into a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund and the 180-day deadline to do so falls between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the deadline to cmplete the investment will be extended to July 15, 2020.

As I mentioned, the IRS will likely issue written guidance today with more details.  When that happens, I’ll update this post with any pertinent information that it contains.

St Louis MSA Property Taxes For 2019 Was At Same Effective Rate as 3 Years Ago

The average property tax amount in 2019 for a residential property was $2,840, according to the latest data released from ATTOM Data Research.  Based upon the average estimated home value for the St Louis MSA of $211,816, this works out to an effective property tax rate of 1.34% which is slightly less than last year’s effective rate of 1.36% and is the same as the rate of 1.34% in 2016.

St Louis MSA Effective Property Tax Rates – 2016 – 2019

St Louis MSA Effective Property Tax Rates - 2016 - 2019

Data source: ATTM Data Solutions – Copyright 2020 -has St Louis Real Estate News

St Charles County Home Sales Down Just 25 Percent From Year Ago

Yesterday, I shared data showing that, in spite of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic,  new sales of residential listings in the 5-county core St Louis market for the most recent 7-day period that complete data is available for,  were down 35% from a year ago.  I received requests to break the data down further so I did so by county.  As the table below shows, for the 7-day period ended April 2nd, new sales of listings in St Charles County were down just 25% from the prior year.  The reason the period ends April 2nd is REALTORS® has 3 business days to report new sales to the MLS so that means the deadline for reporting a new sale on April 2nd was last night so this data should be very accurate.

St Louis New Sales Of Residential Listings

3/26/20 – 4/02/20 Vs. One-Year Ago

St Louis New Sales Of Residential Listings - 3/26/20 - 4/02/20 Vs. One-Year Ago
Data source: Mid-America Regional Information Systems, Inc. – Copyright 2020 -has St Louis Real Estate News

St Louis Home Sales Continue In Spite of COVID-19 Albeit at a lower level

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to keep many of us confined to our homes unless we need to go out for an essential service which, fortunately, the department of Homeland Security includes real estate in the definition, it is, of course, taking its toll on the St Louis real estate market.  As would be expected during a time like this, would-be homebuyers who have had their jobs or businesses impacted as a result of COVID-19 have pulled out of the market for now as have some folks who were considering a move purely for convenience or some other reason they feel will wait.

However, having said that, there still appear to be many serious homebuyers in the current market that want or need, to buy now.  This is evidenced by the most recent data I pulled below which shows new contracts on listings for the most recent 7 day period that have had contracts reported to the MLS.  So, to be clear, the “sales” I counted are residential listings that actually went under contract during the period,

As the table below shows, there were 994 new contracts on residential listings in the St Louis MSA during the past 7 days, a decline of 32% from the same time period a year ago.  There were 715 new contracts on residential listings in the St Louis 5-County Core market during the same period, a decline of 35% from the same period a year ago.

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St Louis New Contracts On Residential Listings For The 7 Day Period of 3/26 – 4/02

St Louis New Contracts On Residential Listings For The 7 Day Period of 3/26 - 4/02

COVID-19 has led to different methods of selling homes…

Today, real estate companies, like other businesses are trying to do business virtually and incorporating technology into their business more than ever before.  While some were already doing this, at least to some extent, it’s something that is new for many traditional “brick and mortar” type businesses.  (WARNING- SHAMELESS PLUG COMING) Doing business virtually isn’t anything new to our firm, MORE, REALTORS, or our agents as we have incorporated this into our business model for well over a decade.   It has caused us to switch into high gear to complete enhancements to our DOHR™ (Digital Open House Registration, U.S. Patent Pending) which include a totally virtual open house experience, a virtual showing experience as well as a hosted virtual tour experience. These are all things that will allow us to serve our seller clients by exposing their homes to the market, showing them to potential buyers while also protecting them and their families from exposure to the COVID-19 threat.

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
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Is Real Estate Essential?

Need I answer?  Given the title of this site and if you have been here before you probably are aware I’ve been in the real estate business ever since graduating high school some 41 years ago, I’m going to guess you know I’m going to say “of course it is”.  On a more serious note though, my headline poses the question in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in a stay at home order for several counties in Missouri and, effective tomorrow night at midnight, the entire state of Missouri.

One of the exceptions in all of the stay at home orders has been for people working in “essential services” which in some of the orders is defined in detail and others in a more general fashion.  In determining whether a business is essential there are many easy ones to figure out such as anything related to the medical or health industry, public safety, sanitation, etc.  However, when it comes to other businesses such as those related to residential real estate such as agents, appraisers, home inspectors, loan officers, etc, it’s not always so clear.  Locally, within the St Louis area whle real estate may not have been named specifically as an essential service, after legal review and discussion within the industry, it has been determined that real estate activities do in fact fall within the definition of essential services.

State of Missouri Stay at Home Order allows for real estate activities…

The stay at home order issued by the State of Missouri allows an exception for essential services but instead of defining what is included in those services, it defers to the guidance issued by the U.S.Department of Homeland Security.  Included in the guidance as “essential functions” are “residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services.”

Safety first…

Throughout the real estate industry, there has been much attention given to what functions can be safely done if CDC and other health and safety guidelines are adhered to, such as private showings of homes, and which ones should not be done such as a traditional open house with groups of people coming through.  With these practices in place, along with utilizing technology for things such as virtual showings, agents have been able to serve their buyer and seller clients and facilitate sales.

Why it’s important…

I believe the inclusion of real estate activities as essential makes sense.  For one, we are talking about a large segment of the population that is all, for the most part, small businesses as each real estate agent are their own business.  They don’t get paid if they can’t carry out their real estate business, there are no salaries for agents. In addition, it’s not just the agents, it’s all the other professions involved in the transaction, building inspectors, lenders, title companies, survey companies, warranty companies, home repair, staging, movers and so on.  So if we shut down residential real estate entirely we are shutting down a huge part of our economy and likely putting a ton of small businesses out of business.

Also, it’s more than just the livelihood of those involved.  While some buyers are going to retreat from the market for now and wait until later, there are others that have reasons they need to move and want to buy.  For example, there are still people getting married, moving into or out of town for a job, have growing families or other needs or motivations causing them to want to move now.  For sellers, some may prefer to wait but for others, particularly those suffering financially from a job loss or business closing may be under the gun to get their home sold and really can’t wait.

So, just like workers in other essential services that are there to provide those needed services to their customers and clients, real estate agents are here to do the same for those people that do need to transact business during these challenging times.

 

 

How Mortgage Forbearance Works Under CARES ACT (Video)

Yesterday, I shared information about forbearance options available to borrowers with an FHA loan that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau released a very informative video titled “CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know” which is below.  This video contains a great explanation of what forbearance is, how it works and how to request it on your mortgage.


Foreclosure Activity Increases in February But Down 12 Percent From Year Ago

The foreclosure rate for the St Louis MSA during February increased 22.55 percent from the prior month but declined 12.0% from February 2019, according to data just released from ATTOM Data Solutions.  As the table below shows, only 3 counties in the St Louis metro area saw a decline in foreclosure activity in February from the month before but 10 of the 15 counties reported saw a decline in foreclosure activity from a year ago.  

Three counties, Madison in Illinois and St Louis and Lincoln in Missouri, saw a decline in foreclosure activity from both the month before as well as the year before.

  

St Louis MSA Foreclosures – February 2020

St Louis MSA Foreclosures - February 2020

HUD To Allow Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 To Defer House Payments For Up to a Year

As a result of the COVID-19 National Emergency Servicing and Loss Mitigation Program declared by President Trump, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent a letter yesterday to its loan servicers making them aware of new COVID-19 National Emergency Loss Mitigation Options.  HUD told the lenders that the new options for borrowers go into effect immediately but the lender must implement them no later than April 30, 2020.

Highlights of the new forbearance plan:

  • The Mortgagee (lender)  must not deny COVID-19 National Emergency Home Retention Options to Borrowers that experience an adverse impact on their ability to make on-time Mortgage Payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and satisfy the loss mitigation criteria set forth in this section.
    • (A) Forbearance for Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19
      National Emergency If a Borrower is experiencing a financial hardship negatively impacting their ability to make on-time Mortgage Payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and makes a request for a forbearance, the Mortgagee must offer the Borrower a forbearance, which allows for one or more periods of reduced or suspended payments without specific terms of repayment.
    • The initial forbearance period may be up to 6 months. If needed, an
      additional forbearance period of up to 6 months may be requested by
      the Borrower and must be approved by the Mortgagee.
      The term of either the initial or the extended forbearance may be
      shortened at the Borrower’s request
      .
      (B) COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim
      The Mortgagee must waive all Late Charges, fees, and penalties, if
      any, as long as the Borrower is on a Forbearance Plan.

For any homeowners with an FHA loan that are struggling to make their house payments, they should contact their loan servicer to see if they are eligible for relief under this plan.

 

 

 

Showings Of St Louis Area Listings Trending Upward

While, rightly so, health concerns remain on the minds of home buyers, sellers, and agents, with safety practices in place, the real estate market in St Louis still has activity.  Granted, as you would expect, the activity is at a reduced rate, but there are still people that want, or even need, to buy or sell a home.  In fact, the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has put some additional pressure on sellers who have been negatively affected.

One of the things I’ve been watching to track activity in the market are showings of homes.  As the chart below shows, showings are down significantly from the same time last year (currently 42.8%) however, as the table below illustrates, the showing trend has increased over the past 3 days.  Showings hit bottom on March 28th when they were down 45.0% from a year ago and since then have regained some ground.  One thing to keep in mind is part of the decline is a result of “casual lookers” going by the wayside as the only people looking at homes today are serious home buyers.  In addition, alternatives to physical showings are  being developed to allow real estate transactions to continue with less physical contact between people.  For example, our firm, MORE, REALTORS, is launching a virtual open house online platform as well as a virtual showing online platform that will deliver an enjoyable, and safe, user experience for the buyer and will allow us to continue to safely serve sellers.

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area – Comparision to Last Year-Table

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area - Comparision to Last Year-Table

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area – Comparision to Last Year-Interactive Chart

(click on chart for live, up to date, interactive chart)

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area - Comparision to Last Year-Interactive Chart

 

 

Special Report (Video) – The Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on the St Louis Real Estate Market

I’ve written several articles over the past couple of weeks about the impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the St Louis real estate market.  Hopefully, it has been of some benefit to people that either already had their homes on the market, were in the market to buy or considering buying or selling.  Yesterday, I took all of the most recent information and updates that I think people in those situations will find useful and packed it all into a short, 4-minute, video special report on the impact of COVID-19 on the St Louis Real Estate Market.

You can watch the report below or by clicking here.Special Report (Video) The Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on the St Louis Real Estate Market

 

Fannie Mae Offers Mortgage Payment Deferral Plans for Eligible Homeowners

Fannie Mae, the leading source of financing for home mortgages in the U.S. (they purchase home loans from lenders), earlier this week announced some payment deferral plans to help borrowers.  Fannie Mae is authorizing it’s loan servicers to provide options to borrowers that have fallen delinquent or are having trouble making their house payments,  which is likely a result of the financial impact on them of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s complicated, there are several options that Fannie Mae has made available to loan servicers to offer to borrowers that are struggling.  Complete details are in Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2020-05) but the highlights are below:

  • Eligibility criteria for a Payment Deferral:
    • The mortgage loan must be a conventional first lien mortgage loan, and may be a fixed-rate, a step-rate, or an ARM.(the property may be vacant)
      • As of the date of the evaluation, the mortgage loan must be 30 or 60 days delinquent (i.e., the borrower is not past due for more than two full monthly contractual payments); and
      • such delinquency status must have remained unchanged for at least three consecutive months, including the month of the evaluation.
    • And, the loan servicer must confirm that the borrower:
      • has resolved the hardship,
      • is able to continue making the full monthly contractual payment, and
      • is unable to reinstate the mortgage loan or afford a repayment plan to cure the delinquency.

There are some other conditions as well but those are the primary ones.  Assuming the borrower meets these requirements, there are several options available to them.  There are many options the lender can offer which include:

  • Defer the past due payments (without interest accruing) until the mortgage loan matures, until the property is sold or the loan is refinanced or paid off.

If the hardship that caused the borrower to fall behind has been resolved however the borrowers do not have the ability to pay the delinquent payments, another option is for the lender to offer to increase future payments for a period of time to make up for the delinquent payments.  If the borrower cannot afford the increased payments, that is when the payment deferral plan above kicks in.  If the borrower’s hardship has not been resolved, then Fannie Mae can offer a forbearance plan.

If you are a homeowner and having problems making your payments, the best thing to do is immediately call your loan servicer to see what options are available to you. 

New Listings In St Louis During Past 7 Days Down Just 25 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis sellers appear to remain pretty confident in the St Louis real estate market in spite of the COVID-19 threat as evidenced by the number of new residential listings that hit the St Louis market in the past 7 days. During the past 7 days, there were 701 new residential listings on the St Louis 5-County Core Market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) this is a decline of just 25% from the same period last year when there were 943 listings.  For the St Louis MSA, there were 930 new residential listings during the past 7 days also a decline of 25% from the same period last year when there were 1,253 new listings.

While the way in which we do business is changing somewhat, such as relying more on technology with things like virtual open houses, virtual showings as well as utilizing resources like Zoom Meetings, Skype and Facetime in lieu of in-person meetings, there are still homeowners that want to sell and buyers that want to buy. 

St Louis Area New Residential Listings For March 21 Through March 27

St Louis Area New Residential Listings For March 21 Through March 27

Home Affordability In St Louis Improves In 2 Of Five Counties During 1st Quarter

Homes became more affordable in Jefferson County and St Charles County during the first quarter of this year from the 4th quarter of 2019, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the affordability index for both those counties increased from the prior quarter as well as from the same quarter the prior year.  Franklin County’s affordability index was the same for the 1st quarter of 2020 as the prior quarter but improved by 5% from a year ago.  The two St Louis’s, the city and county, both saw decline in home affordability from both the prior quarter as well as the prior year.

Average wage earner can qualify to buy in 3 out of 5 Counties…

So while the city and county of St Louis saw a decline in home affordability, the average wage eaarner in those two areas can qualify to buy a home, as can an average wage earner in Franklin County.

St Louis Home Affordability – 1st Quarter 2020

St Louis Home Affordability - 1st Quarter 2020

New Sales Of Residential Listings In St Louis In Past 7 Days Down Just 14 Percent From Year Ago

As all of us continue to deal with a much different lifestyle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) I am closely monitoring the St Louis real estate market to help get the most accurate information possible to our agents, clients, and consumers to help them make informed decisions about their real estate transactions.

With this in mind, I took a look at new contracts on listings for the past 7 days, so in other words, homes that actually went under contract during the period, but this time, I wanted to drill down deeper than I did a few days ago when I reported new contract activity.  This time I looked at just new sales of residential listings (homes, condos, villas, etc) rather than all property types in the MLS as other property types, such as commercial, land, and farms, for example, could be reacting differently.

As the table below shows, there were 1,142 new contracts on residential listings in the St Louis MSA during the past 7 days, a decline of just 14% from the same time period a year ago.  There were 836 new contracts on residential listings in the St Louis 5-County Core market during the same period, a decline of only 13% from the same period a year ago.

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St Louis New Contracts On Residential Listings For The Past 7 Days

St Louis New Contracts On Residential Listings For The Past 7 Days

A slower pace and different methods of selling homes…

As the data shows, COVID-19 is definitely having an effect on the St Louis real estate market in terms of a lower number of sales and, depending on how things go with containing the virus may bring sales down lower, but for now, the sales activity has been only modestly impacted.  Granted, with the threat of COVID-19  many changes are being implemented into the process but thus far everyone in the industry is working together well to take the necessary precautions to address the health concerns while still allowing people to conduct business.  For example, as much as can be done virtually or electronically is being done.

This is something our firm, MORE, REALTORS, has incorporated into our business model for well over a decade so for us and our agents, its a familiar and comfortable way for us to do business.  It has caused us to switch into high gear to complete enhancements to our DOHR™ (Digital Open House Registration, U.S. Patent Pending) which include a totally virtual open house experience, a virtual showing experience as well as a hosted virtual tour experience. These are all things that will allow us to serve our seller clients by exposing their homes to the market, showing them to potential buyers while also protecting them and their families from exposure to the COVID-19 threat.

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See how- FairCommissionRates.com

  

 

 

Showings Of Missouri Listings In Past 7 Days Down Nearly A Third From Last Year But Still Up 20 Percent From January

As the chart below from Showingtime illustrates, showings on real estate listings in Missouri were down nearly one-third (32.6%) from the same time last year.  However, as the chart depicts, for the 7 day period ending yesterday, March 22nd, the number of showings were nearly 20 percent  (19.6%) higher than during the first week of January this year.  Last year at this time, showings were up over 77 percent from the first week in January, so, as expected, we are seeing a decline in showings but, at this point, are still at a rate better than back in January.

The showing trend is downward so we’ll have to watch and see just how low it goes before it finds the bottom.

Impact of COVID-19 On Real Estate Showings In Missouri March 16 – March 22

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Impact of COVID-19 On Real Estate Showings In Missouri March 16 - March 22

 

Over Sixteen Hundred Listings Went Under Contract In Past Week In St Louis area MLS

As I mentioned in my article yesterday about the effect of the coronavirus on the St Louis real estate market, for those homebuyers in a position to buy a home, there will be some good opportunities presented. Apparently, there are buyers out there that perhaps feel the same way or, they at least are not uncomfortable with buying now as, in the past 7 days, 1,670 listings in MARIS, the regional MLS that serves the St Louis area as well as some additional areas outside the metro area, went under contract.  When pulling data from our database for this, I confirmed that prior to the listing’s status changing to Active Under Contract or Pending (both are statuses indicating they are now under contract) the prior status in the MLS was Active thereby verifying these are “new” sales.

The 1,670 sales in the past 7 days is just sligthly lower than the 1,835 listings that went under contract during the same period a year ago.

Now, if the President or the Governor put us under a “Shelter in Place” order or something similar that effectively shuts down everything, that will pretty well put a bullet in new home sales for a while.  Depending on which “latest report” you believe, that either will or won’t happen.

Stay safe and healthy!

 

St Louis County Judge Issues Order Stopping Evictions

Yesterday, Michael D. Burton, Presiding Judge of the Circuity Court of St Louis County, signed an order that, until further notice, directed the St Louis County Sheriff’s office to “refrain from executing any writs of restitution (eviction of a tenant), writs of replevin, writs of attachment, writs of partition and any other writs of execution that require them to come into direct contact with the general public..”.  In addition, putting a stop to evictions of tenants in St Louis County this order stops the additional actions listed as well but preventing evictions is probably the most significant part of the order.

The Effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) On The St Louis Real Estate Market

While we deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic practicing social-distancing, shutting down events, public gatherings and the like, we are still trying to go on with our lives at the same time.  A big challenge to this is the unknown; not knowing how bad things will get, how long we may have to live like this, etc.  Fortunately, for those of us in Missouri, at the time I’m writing this, we have just 41 confirmed cases putting Missouri at number 40 of the 50 states in terms of the number of cases.  Granted, once more people are tested, our position may raise, but hopefully, due to the swift action by our leaders and citizens here, it will not rise anywhere close to the levels we are seeing in some states, including our neighbor to the east, Illinois where there are 423 cases as of this morning.

What effect is the coronavirus having on St Louis real estate?  

  

HUD, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Suspend Foreclosures for at least 60 days

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), directed their loan servicers to suspect foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days to help those people affected.

In a statement, Mark Calabria, the Director of the FHFA, said that borrowers affected by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages should reach out to the mortgage servicers as soon as possible.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said that “The halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times,”

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – March 2020 – 2020 off to a better start than last year…so far

The St Louis real estate market is off to a great start for 2020!  Home sales year to date has outpaced sales from the same time a year ago and everything points to 2020 being a good year for real estate!  The $64 question is, however, what effect the Coronavirus may have on the market.  Only time will tell, but my thoughts are that while there will no doubt be some negative impact on the St Louis housing market as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) its impact will be much less than what we have seen of late in the stock market.

I don’t believe we will see any sort of significant decline in home prices but we will likely see a “pause” in sales as some buyers decide to wait and see how things go.  No doubt some of the potential buyers that will be affected are those whose jobs or income are impacted as a result of Coronavirus, such as people in the travel, hospitality, sports, and entertainment industries.

Rates jumped up last week but are still attractive. The week before last, St Louis mortgage interest rates hit an all-time low as buyers were locking in interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as low as 2.95%! This past week, however, that changed and the rates shot up by as much as 1% and not as a result of the stock market or coronavirus as much as from just too much demand.  Apparently the investors that purchase the loans from lenders around the country got overwhelmed as the volume set record highs so they raised rates.  Even with the increase, rates are still historically good.  

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller's market? Contact us and we'll  answer that question for you.
You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

Sell Your Home For The Highest Price In The Least Amount of Time!  See how- STLSellersAdvantage.com 
Save Commission On Your Home Sale Without Sacrificing Service! See how- FairCommissionRates.com