Are Condos Or Homes A Better Investment In St Louis?

It’s no secret that here in St Louis we are little slow to embrace new trends or styles and that holds true when it comes to our housing market.  I remember when I first entered the real estate business in 1979 although condominiums had become quite popular in many metropolitan areas in the U.S. at the time, since the early 60’s when the popularity began to increase, they weren’t very common here.  I remember many early condominium developers in St Louis struggling to make a profit doing condo conversions (where multi-family properties were converted into the condominium form of ownership and units sold individually) as the pool of buyers was very limited.  Over time, condominiums have become much more popular in St Louis and we have seen some great developments, both new as well as rehab and conversion of old apartment buildings, warehouses, etc converted into condominiums that were well received by the St Louis market.

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Are St Louis condo’s a good investment?

One of the questions frequently asked by home buyers weighing their options between purchasing a condominium or a home, is which will be the better investment?  Granted, many people that choose to buy a condo are buying it because of the lifestyle most likely than from the investment perspective but, nonetheless, buyers still want to have some assurance that what they are considering doing makes sense.

There are many factors to take into account to determine which would be a better investment, a house or a condo, but for the sake of discussion here I’m focusing on the price per foot each have sold for over the past 5 years.  As the chart below illustrates, St Louis home prices as well as St Louis condo prices, have both enjoyed a steady upward trend over the past 5 years.  From 2012 through 2014, both condos and homes in St Louis, increased at about the same rate however, in 2015, the tend lines crossed paths and condo prices started increasing at a lessor rate while home prices continued at about the same rate, or maybe a little higher even, than before.  Digging into the numbers on the chart a bit (you can click on the chart to go to the “live” version which will reveal all pricing data as you move your mouse over the lines on the chart) we see:

  • In 2012, homes sold for $88/foot while condos sold for $91/foot
  • In 2015 both sold for $106/foot, an increase of 20.5% from 2012 for homes and an increase of 16.5% for condos
  • Thus far in 2017, homes have sold for $117/foot and condos for $113/foot.
  • Since 2012 St Louis metro home prices have increased 33% while St Louis Metro area condo prices have increased 24%.
  • Based upon this data, homes have yielded a better return than condos and, of late, the price trend for homes has been somewhat better than condos.
  • Condos are a lifestyle decision therefore, the lower return may be a secondary consideration.  In any event, condos certainly appear to be a safe investment in St Louis even if homes may have a higher potential return on investment in general.

St Louis MSA Condo Prices vs Home Prices – Past 5 Years

St Louis Condominium Prices VS Home Prices - Past 5 Years

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