Home Foreclosure Ban Extended Through End of June – Is this a ticking time bomb?

President Joe Biden on Tuesday extended the ban on home foreclosures for federally backed mortgages until June 30, 2021.  This is the second extension of the ban which was originally set to expire January 31, 2021, but then previously extended by President Biden to March 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, as the chart below shows, serious delinquencies on home mortgages have been on the rise since nearly the beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago.  The ban on foreclosures is certainly a welcome relief to those struggling to make their house payments. However, with such a high delinquency rate one has to wonder if it is just delaying the inevitable and that this is sort of a ticking time bomb for the real estate market?  I say that because with the number of mortgage delinquencies piling up it is safe to assume that once the ban is over there will be a massive amount of foreclosures hitting the market which may very well have a negative impact on the market.

Mortgage Delinquency Rates
Mortgage Delinquency Rates 

St Louis County Home Sales Trend Outpacing New Listings By Larger Margin Then Neighboring Counties

It’s no secret that listings of homes for sale in St Louis are in short supply and for a while now new sales have outpaced new listings making it a challenge for home buyers.  However, over the past couple of months, new sales of homes in St Louis County have outpaced new listings by a greater margin than neighboring counties.  As can be compiled from the tables below, new sales of homes in the St Louis 5-County Core market during the last four months outpaced new listings during the same period by 12.7%.  For St Louis county, there were 6,095 new contracts written during the last 4 months and 5,353  new listings resulting in new contracts outpacing new listings by 13.9%, a rate 1.2% higher than the rate for the 5-county area as a whole.   Franklin County had the next highest rate at 10.7%, then Jefferson County at 9.4%, St Charles County at 5.8%, and then the city of St Louis was the only county where new contracts were about equal to new listings.

Transparency in the home buying process including buyer’s agent commissions

Buyers Agent Commission TransparencyIn December I wrote about multiple class-action lawsuits filed against the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), as well as some of the largest real estate brokerages, like ReMax and Keller Williams as well as a Department of Justice (DOJ) complaint filed again NAR over issues related to the lack of transparency in the home buying process.

The aforementioned complaints claim, among other things, that there has been an effort by the defendants to force buyers to pay an “inflated” price for a home as a result of the buyer not realizing the seller was forced to offer a commission to a buyer’s agent in order to get their listing in the MLS.  In addition, they claim that NAR and its members misrepresented to buyers that a buyer’s agent’s representation and services were “free”, when in fact their agent was being paid a commission,  which came from the seller and as a result, they claim this expense inflated the cost the buyer was forced to pay for the home.

I’m not here to address the accuracy of the claims made in these complaints nor get into an analysis of the legal merits of the case, but instead just want to address the changes I see that have already taken place or will take place in the home-buying process.  NAR has already reached a settlement with the DOJ in which they (NAR) agreed to make several changes, so those are pretty easy to predict and I think I have a reasonable idea of some other changes that will come along in the comings months as well.

So, what are these changes I see coming to the home-buying process in terms of transparency?

Below are some of the changes I already see or expect to see:

  • Buyer’s agents aren’t FREE, nor should they be.  NAR has already agreed to prohibit their members from claiming their services are free as they are not.  A good buyer’s agent is invaluable to a home buyer and not only will earn the commission they make but in many cases,  will “pay for themselves”.   What I mean by this is their guidance and advice to their clients, which comes from their knowledge of the market and process, as well as experience, will help their clients avoid pitfalls and to make informed, good decisions.
  • Commission transparency.  Prior to the lawsuits, many MLS’s around the country, including the one that serves the St Louis area, prohibited the amount of commission being offered to a buyer’s agent by the seller from being shown on broker’s real estate search websites.  MARIS, the company that provides the MLS for St Louis area REALTORS® was quick and pro-active in this area and began allowing brokers to display buyer’s agent’s commission on their websites.  I’m happy to say that my company, MORE, REALTORS® was, I believe, one of the first brokerages in the area to begin displaying this information.  On STLMLS.com consumers can find the amount of commission being offered to buyer’s agents on listings.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention I’m on the board of directors for MARIS and I’m an officer and shareholder of MORE, REALTORS.
  • Sellers won’t have to offer to pay a buyer’s agent to get in the MLS.  While the first two bullet-points above are things that have happened, now I’m predicting what will happen.  I believe that soon, perhaps as soon as “months” or as long as a year or two, the MLS requirement that a seller offers compensation to a buyer’s agent to have their listing be in the MLS will be dropped.  This is nothing that should cause panic as buyer’s agents won’t go away nor work for free, it’s just the structure of the transaction will change.  The changes made will no doubt provide a much greater level of transparency to the buyer though as I believe they will have a clear picture of the process including how their buyer’s agent is getting paid.
  • Agents won’t have to be REALTORS® to be part of the MLS.  Even though this is already true in several parts of the country, most MLS’s require that agents be a REALTOR® (so be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)) to join the MLS.  I believe that all MLS’s in the country will be forced to allow participation by all licensed real estate brokers and agents and not just REALTORS®.  I think my prior prediction will come to fruition sooner and this one will follow so it will likely be a couple of years at least before this happens.

The bottom line is some obstacles exist today for the real estate industry as well as there are changes taking place and more coming.  While many folks don’t embrace change, call me a Pollyanna, but I think the result will be positive both for the real estate professional as well as the consumer that is buying or selling a home.

I’ll close with a quote on the topic of obstacles that I frequently share on a coaching session I do for our agents that is from Victor Kiam (the Remington razor guy) – “….there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity…

 

New Home Building Permits In St Louis Area Increase Nearly 10 Percent In 2020 From 2019

There were 4,816 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during 2020, an increase of 9.11% from 2019 when there were 4,414 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, All seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits during 2020 from 2019 and with double-digit increases for four counties. Franklin County saw the largest increase at 19.40% followed by Lincoln County at 13.97%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – December 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - December 2020

 

St Louis Drops To 23rd Highest Homeownership Rate of Major Metros In Q4 2020

The homeownership rate in the St Louis MSA for the fourth quarter of 2020 was 69.3%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  This is a slight increase from the 4th quarter of the prior year when the homeownership rate in the St Louis MSA was 68.3%.  This puts St Louis 23rd on the list of the 75 largest MSA’s in the country in terms of homeownership, down from 17th on the list during the prior quarter.

St Louis MSA Counties In Missouri Outperforming Illinois Counties

The residential real estate market in counties in the Missouri portion of the St Louis metropolitan area appear to be outperforming the St Louis MSA counties in Illinois, according to the latest New Contracts Report below, exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®.  As the report shows, for the most recent week reported, new contracts written on residential listings were up 14% for the St Louis MSA as a whole from the same week a year ago, but most of the increase in sales was in the Missouri portion of the MSA.  Overall, in the St Louis MSA, there were 105 more new sales in the most recent week vs the same time a year ago and 97 of the increased sales were in counties located in Missouri with the remaining 8 being from counties located in Illinois.

St Louis MSA Counties – New Contracts on Home Listings

(click on report for live report)

St Louis MSA Counties - New Sales on Home Listings

 

 

A 1-Month Or Less Supply Of Homes For Sale Exists in 43 St Louis Zip Codes

For home buyers that have been in the market lately this won’t come as a surprise, but the inventory of homes for sale continues to remain low in St Louis.  In fact, in 43 zip code areas in St Louis, there is a 1 month supply or less of homes for sale.  As the table below shows, the 10 zip-codes in the St Louis core market with the lowest inventory have about 1/3 of a month’s supply or less.  Historically, a 4-6 month supply of homes for sale would be considered “normal”.

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

St Louis 5-County Core Market Supply Of Active Listings By Zip Code

(click on the table for the complete, current list)

St Louis 5-County Core Market Supply Of Active Listings By Zip Code

 

St Louis’ Most Expensive School Districts To Buy A Home In

It probably won’t come as a surprise that many of St Louis’ best school districts also have some of St Louis’ most expensive home prices.  As the list below shows, the Ladue School district has the highest-priced homes with the average price for homes sold in the past 12 months at nearly $900,000.  Of the top 10 highest priced school districts, 8 are in St Louis County, one in St Charles County and one in Franklin County.

St Louis 5-County Core’s Most Expensive School Districts

(click on list for complete list)St Louis 5-County Core's Most Expensive School Districts

 

St Louis Has 5 Municipalities Where Average Sold Home Is Over $1 Million

One of the benefits to living in St Louis we often hear about is how affordable it is compared with many other metro areas around the country.  Granted, one of the things that contribute to the “affordability” is the price of homes but that doesn’t mean we don’t have areas with pricey real estate here.  The list below is part of the list showing what the average price homes sold for in every municipality in the St Louis MSA during the past 12 months and reveals the five municipalities where the average home price exceeded $1 Million.

Leading the list is the relatively small, but expensive, Country Life Acres where homes in the past 12 months sold for an average of $1,621.564.

St Louis 5-County CORE Market’s Most Expensive Municipalities

(click on list to see entire current list)

St Louis 5-County CORE Market's Most Expensive Municipalities

 

Top 10 St Louis Area School Districts Where Homes Are Selling the Fastest

As of this morning, the Hancock Place School District and Bayless School District, both in the South St Louis County area, are tied for the district where homes are selling the fastest.  As the Fastest-Selling School Districts in the St Louis MSA list (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) below shows, homes that sold in the past 30 days in those districts took an average of just 17 days to sell.  Five of the top 10 districts for fast home sales are located in St Louis County, two are in Jefferson County, one each in St Charles County, Warren County, and Madison District 12 in Illinois.

10 Fastest Selling St Louis MSA School Districts

(click on table for full, up to date, list)

10 Fastest Selling St Louis MSA School Districts

 

 

Remembering Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who is best known as a leader in the Civil Rights movement, I wanted to look at how his efforts also ultimately resulted in the Fair Housing Act, which sought to end discrimination in housing.

Through the efforts of the civil rights movement, Dr. King and others were able to get the attention of our nation resulting in President John F. Kennedy, in a nationally televised address on June 6, 1963, urging the nation to ” take action toward guaranteeing equal treatment of every American regardless of race.”  Shortly after his address to the nation, President Kennedy proposed that Congress consider civil rights legislation that would address rights in many areas such as voting, public accommodations, school desegregation but not housing at the time.  Even though President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, his efforts beforehand still resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when, then President, Lyndon Johnson, signed into law on July 2, 1964.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for integration of schools, and made employment discrimination illegal, however, it did not address housing.

Four years later came the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which is also referred to, and more commonly known, as the “Fair Housing Act of 1968″, which expanded the original civil rights act to include prohibiting discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin or sex.  President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968, one week after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

Fair Housing Resources:

St Louis Home Sales Trending Upward Aggressively

Most residential real estate data is published based upon closed deals meaning the transaction is already in the past and it’s activity may not be reflective of the current market.  This is why at MORE, REALTORS® we developed our leading indicators report that I shared a few days ago and also why we developed a home sale trends chart.  The home sales trend chart, such as the one shown below for the St Louis 5-County Core real estate market, is still based upon closed sales however each monthly data point represents the total of the closed sales in the proceeding 12-months making this a very good indicator of the market conditions and where we are in an improving market or a declining one.

As the chart below shows, for the first 12 months or so in the 25-month period reported, the sales trend was pretty steady, making a flat line on the chart.  Then, around the end of 2019, the trend started increasing slightly through the spring of 2020 (when the impact of COVID-19 hit the market the hardest) and then fell the next few months.  By late summer last year the home sales trend was on the rise and, as you can see, didn’t stop rising through the end of the year.

Will this upward trend continue or will it level off or even decline?  Right now it’s hard to say given all the variables that could affect it.  We have a changing administration in Washington D.C. which could affect the economy, we have the ongoing pandemic and a few other things that could very well affect the residential real estate market.  As I shared in our leading indicators report the other day, the new contract activity is very encouraging so for the short term, I would say the trend will remain around the level it’s at currently.

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

(click on chart for live chart)

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

Distressed Home Sales In St Louis Down 25% Last Year

As I reported a couple of days ago, home sales (non-distressed) in St Louis were up around 8% in 2020 verses 2019 however, distressed home sales were down 25% in 2020 from the year before.  For several months of 2020, there were moratoriums on foreclosures which would lower the number of distressed sales and are no doubt largely responsible for the decline in sales.  For the sake of this report, “distressed” sales include foreclosures, short sales, and property owned by banks or the government.

During 2020, there were 894 sales of distressed homes, down 25% from 2019 when there were 1,191 sales.  The median price of distressed homes sold during 2020 was $71,788 an increase of nearly 14% from 2019 when the median price was $63,000.  There are currently 54 active listings of distressed homes representing a one-month supply.

  

STL Market Report – St Louis 5-County Core Market

(Distressed home sales only- click report for live report)

STL Market Report - St Louis 5-County Core Market- distressed home sales

St Louis Condo Sales Flat In 2020 but Prices Up

Yesterday, I reported that St Louis area home sales and prices were both up about 8% during 2020 from 2019 so today we’ll take a look at how condominium sales and prices compared during the same period.

As the STL Market Report shows (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®), in the 5-County Core St Louis market there were 3,567 condominiums sold during 2020, 10 condominiums less than the 3,577 condominiums sold during 2019.  The median price of condos sold in 2020 in this St Louis market was $163,900, an increase of 5.74% from 2019 when the median price was $155,000.

The current price trend, as depicted in the report, is up significantly with the median price per square foot of condos that are currently on the market being over 23% higher than the median price per foot of condominiums sold during 2020.  There are currently 417 condos for sale in the St Louis 5-County Core market, representing a 1.30 month supply at the current sales rates.

STL Market Report for the St Louis 5-County Core Market Condos

(Non-distressed condo sales only – click on report for live report)

STL Market Report for the St Louis 5-County Core Market Condos

 

St Louis Home Sales And Prices Both Up About 8 Percent in 2020 From 2019

In spite of the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, stay at home orders, a shaky economy and a fair amount of social unrest, 2020 still managed to be a good year for residential real estate!  As the STL Market Report shows (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®), in the 5-County Core St Louis market there were 28,131 homes sold during 2020, an increase of 8.27% from 2019 when there were just 25,982 homes sold.  The median price of homes sold in 2020 in this St Louis market was $232,000, an increase of 7.93% from 2019 when the median price was $214,950.

The current price trend, as depicted in the report, is up as well with the median price per square foot of homes that are currently on the market being over 9% higher than the median price per foot of homes sold during 2020.  There are currently 2,031 active listings on the market representing a 0.81 month supply at the current sales rates.

STL Market Report for the St Louis 5-County Core Market

(Non-distressed home sales only – click on report for live report)

STL Market Report for the St Louis 5-County Core Market

 

Newly written contracts on homes start off year up 20%

During the final days of December and the first couple of January, there were 393 new contracts written on homes that were for sale, an increase of 20% over the same period a year ago.  As the New Contracts Report below shows (availablle exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) all 5 counties in the 5-County Core St Louis market saw an increase in new contracts written over the same period a year ago.  Franklin County saw the largest increase at 50%.

New Contracts On Homes For Sale

(click on report for live report)

New Contracts On Homes For Sale

Rental Income Rebounding Somewhat After Taking a Dive

As a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, as well as the impact of eviction moratoriums and the like, residential rental income for the apartment sector in the U.S. took a nose dive during the 2nd quarter of 2020.  As the chart below shows, the total revenue for businesses from Rental and Leasing, dropped to $156 Billion during the 2nd quarter of last year, a decline of 16% from the quarter before when the total revenue was nearly $186 Billion.  During the 3rd quarter however, rental revenue rebounded to nearly $180 Billion.

  

St Louis Existing Condo Sales Down Slightly During Past 12-Months From Prior 12-Months

As the STL Market ReportTM below shows, there were 3,419 existing condominiums sold in the 12-month period ended November 30, 2020, a decrease of 0.23% from the prior 12-month period.  The median price of condos sold during the past 12-months was $159,900, an increase of 5.2% from the prior 12-month period.  To make sure the data represents the market as accurately as possible, distressed home sales and new construction were excluded from the data.  As the report shows, the current inventory of condos for sale is just 1.2 months.

STL Market Report – St Louis 5-County Area – Condos

Available Exclusively From MORE, REALTORS

Click on the report to get the current report

 

STL Market Report - St Louis 5-County Area - Condos

St Louis Existing Home Sales Up 7 Percent During Past 12-Months From Prior 12-Months In Spite Of Low Inventory

As the STL Market ReportTM below shows, there were 26,675 existing homes sold in the 12-month period ended November 30, 2020, an increase of 7.13% from the prior 12-month period.  The median price of homes sold during the past 12-months was $225,580, an increase of 7.42% from the prior 12-month period.  To make sure the data represents the market as accurately as possible, distressed home sales and new construction were excluded from the data.  The increase in home sales is almost hard to imagine given how low the inventory of homes for sale has been.  As the report shows, the current inventory of homes for sale is just 3/4 of one-month.

STL Market Report – St Louis 5-County Area

Available Exclusively From MORE, REALTORS

Click on the report to get the current report

STL Market Report - St Louis 5-County Area

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Increase Maximum Loan Amounts

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency  (FHFA)announced that effective January 1s, 2021, the maximum loan amounts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans will be increased from $510,400 to $548,250.  Once a home buyers loan amount exceeds the Fannie and Freddie limits, their loan is considered a “jumbo” loan and typically less attractive terms, so an increase in the Fannie and Freddie limits is definitely helpful to home buyers in higher price ranges.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also increasing the loan limits for loans to purchase multi-family properties as well.  The multi-family property limits for 2021 are:

  • Two Units – $702,000
  • Three Units – $848,500
  • Four Units – $1,054,500

Coming Soon To A REALTOR® Near You – Commission Transparency

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has come under attack over the past few months as a defendant in two class-action lawsuits, Christopher Moehrl v The National Association of REALTORS® and Joshua A. Sitzer and Amy Winger v The National Association of REALTORS® filed in March and April of 2019 respectively, and, most recently, a complaint brought by the Department of Justice, United States v National Association of REALTORS® filed this month.  The latter came with a pre-arranged proposed settlement with NAR.  I should also mention the two class-action lawsuits have as additional defendants Realogy Holdings Corp (the own and operate several franchises, some of the local ones include Coldwell Banker-Gundaker, Better Homes & Gardens, ERA, Sotheby’s, and Century-21), HomeServices of America, Inc. (owner of Berkshire Hathway Home Services), Re/Max and Keller Williams.

While there are additional issues raised in the lawsuits and DOJ complaint, central to them are buyer’s agents’ commissions.  Issues raised include:

  • From the DOJ complaint:
    • Allowing buyer brokers to misrepresent to buyers that a buyer broker’s services are free;
    • Enabling buyer brokers to filter MLS listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions offered and to exclude homes with lower commissions from consideration by potential home buyers;
  • From the lawsuits:
    • Sellers of residential property have been forced to pay inflated costs to sell their homes through forced payments of commissions to buyer brokers;
    • Home sellers have been forced to set buyer broker commissions to induce buyer brokers to show the sellers’ homes to prospective buyers;
    • Price competition has been restrained among brokers seeking to be retained by home buyers, and by brokers seeking to represent home sellers; and
    • Defendant Franchisors and their franchisees have inflated their profits by a significant margin by the increased total commissions and increased buyer broker commissions.

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

Continue reading “Coming Soon To A REALTOR® Near You – Commission Transparency

New Listings Of St Louis Homes For Sale Trailing Sales Slightly

Yesterday, I wrote an article titled “St Louis Home Sales – No end in sight?” in which one of my caveats had to do with listing inventory, noting the obvious that no matter how many homebuyers are out there, if there is nothing for them to buy, St Louis home sales will fall. As promised, I did an analysis of new listings and inventory using proprietary software we have developed at MORE, REALTORS to enable our agents to fully comprehend the market and be able to use that knowledge to serve their clients.

The first table below is our leading indicator report for new listings that were taken in the St Louis core market during the past week compared with the same week a year ago. As the table shows, listings for this period were up 18% from a year ago, which is good news but, as I reported yesterday, new sales were up 21% so sales rose at a higher rate than listings.  The second table compares last week’s new listings with the prior week and, as yesterday’s home sales report showed, there was a decline, in the case of new listings taken they were down 5% from the prior week while yesterday I reported sales were down 10%.  The report at the bottom is another proprietary product of MORE, REALTORS and it’s a report showing the current inventory of listings for sale in every zip code in the St Louis MSA of which I showed the 20 zips with the lowest inventory.

The bottom line…

To recap, new sales contracts written on listings in the past week outpaced the number of new listings by about 8% and new sales contracts written on listings in the past two weeks outpaced the number of new listings by nearly 11%.  One thing to keep in mind is that a contract written does not equal a sold listing as a percentage of the contracts will fail to close due to building inspections, financing, appraisal issues, or other reasons so the gap is not quite as large as it may appear.  The other thing to remember is the time of the year we are in…right before Thanksgiving is not a popular time for sellers to list their homes as many will wait until after Thanksgiving and some will wait until after Christmas.  However, in today’s market, buyers don’t have that luxury…they have to be prepared to buy at any time or faced missing out in this tight market.  So, for now, I think we’re ok and I think my caveat from yesterday is covered but I’ll be watching the inventory moving forward.

St Louis Home Sales – No end in sight?

I think just about everyone that is trying to buy or sell a home in St Louis or even thinking about it, is well aware that we have been in a strong real estate market here in St Louis for some time now.  The St Louis real estate market has favored sellers for the past several years largely due to a low supply of homes for sale and continuing demand by home buyers.  The question I’m often asked though, especially right now with so much going on in our country right now that could impact the economy (COVID-19 and the Presidential election are the two biggies)  is “will the strong home sale in St Louis continue?”.  

To answer the question, being the Chief Data Nerd at MORE, REALTORS, I naturally turned to the proprietary software we have developed to help our agents answer questions like this for their clients.  Based upon the data I’m sharing below, I would say the short answer to the question is that St Louis home sales appear to be poised to continue at a historically strong rate, at least for the near future. Now for the caveats, of which there are two big ones: the first is that this is contingent upon listing inventory as if there is nothing to buy it doesn’t matter how many buyers you have, and the second is absent something dramatic happening to the economy to really rock the boat.  For the former question, I’ll address that in the next day or so with an article in which I’ll look at the listing inventory trend for St Louis.

Leading Indicators…

Looking at how many sales closed is helpful to see how the market is doing, but it’s much more advantageous and accurate to look at the current activity in the market, the leading indicators if you will, which are new contracts written on listings. Our exclusive Leading Indicators reports below show that all 5 counties in the St Louis Core market saw an increase in the number of new contracts written in the past week from the same week a year ago, in fact, overall a 21% increase.  The second report below shows the same data versus the prior week and it shows an overall decrease of 10% in the number of new contracts from the week before with 3 of the five counties showing a decrease, but given that we are headed toward winter and the holidays this is normal.  Finally, the chart at the bottom, another exclusive feature of MORE, REALTORS, which illustrates the prior 12-month home sales for each month in the past 5 years, clearly indicates an upward trend.  For the 12-month period ending November 30 (which isn’t even over yet), there have been 28,153 homes sold, an increase of nearly 5% from a year ago.

New Home Building Permits In St Louis Area Increase Nearly 10 Percent In August

There were4,628 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during July, an increase of 9.56% from a year ago when there were 4,224 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, Five of the seven counties covered in the report saw an increase in building permits from a year ago with three of them in the double digits. Franklin County saw the largest increase at 25.69% and Lincoln County experienced the largest decrease at 13.97%.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – August 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - August 2020

 

Franklin County Sees Biggest Increase In New Home Permits Again In July

There were 4,573 building permits issued for new single-family homes in the St Louis area during July, an increase of 7.0% from a year ago when there were 4,271 permits issued, according to the latest data from the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (St Louis HBA).  For the second month in a row, Franklin County saw the largest percentage increase in building permits from a year ago with an increase of 27.59% from July 2019.  St Louis County, which a decrease in permits last month from a year ago, so nearly an 11% increase in July 2020 from July 2019.


  

St Louis New Home Building Permits – July 2020

St Louis New Home Building Permits - July 2020

 

 

CDC Issues Order Halting Residential Evictions Through Year-End

Yesterday, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the issuance of an order temporarily halting all residential evictions in the United States through December 31, 2020.  The CDC indicated this action was being taken “to prevent further spread of COVID-19”.

Details of the order….

Under the order, a landlord or other owner of residential property, “shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order.”  So, it’s pretty simple, if you own a residential property in the U.S. that has a tenant in it, this order applies to you.  The only exception is the American Samoa, which, at the time of the order, had not cases of COVID-19 reported.

Tenants are still obligated for rental payments…

The order makes it clear that it does not remove the tenant’s obligations to pay rent, nor the landlord’s ability to charge late fees, penalties, etc.  Specifically, the order states:  “This order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

Tenants must submit a declaration form to take advantage of this protection…

According to the order, for a tenant to receive the protection under this order, an executed copy of a Declaration form must be submitted to their landlord, owner, or property manager.

See the entire order here.

Download the Declaration Form for tenants here.

St Louis Area Vacant Property Rate and Zombie Foreclosure Rate On The Rise

Zombies are on the rise in St Louis! I’m referring, of course, to Zombie foreclosures and not the spooky creatures from scary movies.  A zombie foreclosure is a property that is in “pre-foreclosure” meaning it is in the foreclosure process but has not been yet foreclosed upon and is vacant or abandoned by the current owner.  We saw the levels of zombie foreclosures rise significantly after the housing bubble burst back in 2008 but then fall around 2012 as the market began its recovery.  For the 3rd quarter of 2020, according to ATTOM Data Research, 10.8% of the homes in pre-foreclosure were vacant or otherwise known as “zombies foreclosures”.  This is a fairly significant increase in the zombie rate from the prior quarter when 7.79% of the pre-foreclosures were vacant.  A year ago, during the 3rd quarter of 2010, the zombie foreclosure rate was 7.77%.

St Louis vacant property rate rises during 3rd quarter as well..

As the table below also illustrates, 2.95% of the more than 1,000,000 residential properties in the St Louis MSA were vacant during the 3rd quarter of 2020 which is an increase from 2.88% for the 2nd quarter of 2020 as well as an increase from a year ago when the vacancy rate was 2.86%.

  

St Louis Area Vacant Homes and Zombie Foreclosures

St Louis Area Vacant Homes and Zombie Foreclosures

 

St Louis Home Sales Trending Downward Last 12-Months- Not So In St Charles and Jefferson County

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the St Louis real estate market, particularly during the late winter/early spring months as well as a low-inventory market already, it should not come as a surprise that St Louis area home sales have trended downward somewhat during the past 12-months.  As our STL Market Report below shows, for the 5-county core St Louis real estate market, there were 26,723 homes sold during the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020, a decline of 0.88% from the prior 12-month period when there were 26,960 homes sold.  That very modest decline I think is actually very encouraging given what the market has been through with COVID-19.

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales 



St Charles County and Jefferson County are the exceptions…

While the overall 5-county market was down, individually, the counties of St Charles and Jefferson have both fared better and, in fact, had modest increases in home sales during this period.  As the tables below show, there were 5,878 homes sold in St Charles county during the past 12-months, an increase of 1.08% from the prior 12 months.  In Jefferson County, there were 3,406 homes sold during the past 12-months, an increase of 0.53% from the prior 12-months.

St Charles County Home Sales

St Charles County Home Sales

Jefferson County Home SalesJefferson County Home Sales

 

Two Mid-town St Louis City Zip Codes Have Highest Percentage of Equity-Rich Homeowners

During the second quarter of 2020, 32.3% of the homeowners with a mortgage within the 63110 zip-code, were equity-rich on their mortgage, meaning their mortgage balances were less than 50% of the value of their homes, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the zip codes of 63112 and 63143 were not far behind 63110, with equity-rich percentages of 31.6% and 30.0% respectively.

St Louis Equity-Rich Homeowners

(Click on table for the complete list)

St Louis Equity-Rich Homeowners

Over 40 Percent Of Homeowners With Mortgage In 3 North St Louis Zip Codes Are Underwater

During the second quarter of 2020, 45.5% of the homeowners with a mortgage within the 63115 zip code, were underwater on their mortgage, meaning they were in a negative-equity position, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the north county zip codes of 63137 and 63136 were not far behind at 45.1% and 41.3%, respectively.  Of the 10 St Louis-area zip codes with the highest rate of underwater homeowners, 7 were in St Louis County and 3 in the City of St Louis.

St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners By Zip Code – Top 10 HighestSt Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners By Zip Code - Top 10 Highest

(Click on table for live, complete list)