Report Today Says St Louis Housing Inventory Fell 26 Percent In Past Year…Maybe not though…

This morning I noticed the St Louis Business Journal was reporting “In July, the local housing inventory fell to 2.6 months…That marked a 26 percent decrease since the same month last year“.  This report immediately caused me some concern as I didn’t think the inventory was down nearly that much.  Given that I personally spend a ton of time staying on top of local market data and our firm, MORE, REALTORS has even developed its own proprietary software to ensure that our agents and clients have the best and most accurate local housing market data, I would like to think I would know if the inventory had dropped that drastically.

Why data, and the source of it, is so important…

After looking at the reports we have been producing and then digging into the data to double check everything, I found that no, I had not missed anything, and the St Louis housing inventory had not dropped anywhere near 26% from a year ago.   Before I go further, I should mention, I am not bashing the St Louis Business Journal, I like that paper, in fact that is the only St Louis newspaper I have paid any attention to for years and all they are doing is “reporting” the news and information anyway, they are not creating the data.  Also, I’m not criticizing their source of data either, as I’m sure whoever provided the data felt it was painting a true picture as well.

However, the point I do want to make is to say that this is a perfect example of why, if you are a potential home buyer, seller or investor, you really do need to pay attention to the source of your information and market data.  After all, it is data such as this that will help guide you in the decisions you make.  For example, if you are looking for a home to buy in St Charles County and read the article I mentioned and saw there was a 26 percent decline in inventory, you may feel like you better hurry to find a house.  In fact, you may decide you have to lower your expectations of what you want in a home, as well as perhaps pay more than you are comfortable with price-wise, to ensure you don’t miss out.  However, what if you knew instead, as my data below illustrates, that the inventory of homes for sale in St Charles County is in fact just about the same now as it was this time last year?  Would this change your approach?  I think it may.

Remember, all real estate is local…

One of the challenges with housing market data is real estate really is a very “local” thing.  Prices, inventory, etc, can change dramatically, even for similar homes, from city to city, school district to school district and, in some cases, even block to block.  This is why at, MORE, REALTORS, we developed the software we did, and why we spend so much time training and coaching our agents on how to use these tools for the benefit of their clients.  We can produce, accurate and relevant data at any level, for almost any type of housing.

So, what is the story on the St Louis housing inventory?

Below, I have presented several tables and charts to illustrate what I’m talking about, but here is a quick recap of the change in inventory from a year ago:

  • St Louis MSA.   As the first two tables show, the inventory in early August of this year was equal to a 2.67 months supply of homes for sale in the St Louis metro area as a whole (9 counties in Missouri and 8 in Illinois) which is a decline of just 4 one hundreds of a percent (0.04) from the same time last year when there was a 2.71 month supply.
  • St Louis 5-County Core Market. This represents the bulk of the St Louis real estate market in Missouri and is composed of the city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin.  As the tables show, earlier this month there was a 2.43 month supply and the same time a year ago it was just about the same at 2.41 months.
  • St Louis City and County – It’s unusual for the city not to be part of the surrounding county, so we also report St Louis City and county together.  For this market, it was 2.28 months when reported earlier this month and is just about the same again as a year ago when it was 2.30 months.
  • St Charles County – This County had the biggest decline inventory from a year ago dropping from a 2.08 month supply to a 1.96 month supply, a total decline of 5.7%.
  • Franklin & Lincoln Counties saw slight declines and Jefferson County has actually had an increase of 20% in inventory, climbing to 3.64 months from 3.03 months a year ago.

There you have it.  No matter how you look at it, there is nothing that shows a major decline in the inventory of homes for sale from a year ago but instead, for the most part, things look pretty consistent.

Early August 2017 – Months Supply Of Homes For Sale – St Louis Area Counties

Early August 2017 - Months Supply Of Homes For Sale - St Louis Area Counties

Early August 2018 – Months Supply Of Homes For Sale – St Louis Area Counties

(click on table for live, current table)Early August 2018 - Months Supply Of Homes For Sale - St Louis Area Counties

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