St Louis Real Estate Market 2015 Recap and Outlook for 2016

As 2015 quickly comes to an end, we close out what has been one of the better years for the St Louis real estate market in many years!  Homes in St Louis sold at a steady pace and St Louis home prices showed solid appreciation! We saw a spring market that brought home buyers racing to new listings often competing with other buyers to see who could make the best offer the quickest, often-times with the final sale price equaling or exceeding the asking price followed by a steady market throughout the summer and into the winter months.

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St Louis Real Estate Market – Recap for 2015:

While the year is not quite yet over, and there will be some additional sales closing in the 4 business days left in the year, I think there is enough data available to tell the story for this year.  With that in mind, below is a recap of the St Louis housing market for 2015:

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St Louis Area Home Prices Have Rebounded From Crash And Passed Former Peak

St Louis home prices have made a strong recovery since bottoming out in 2011 as a result of the housing market bubble bursting in 2008.  In fact, for the 5-county St Louis area I often focus on (the city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) home prices have increased 27 percent to a median price of $168,313 after hitting a post-bubble low of $132,500 in 2011.  In fact, as my chart below shows, the median 5-county home price for 2015 has topped the peak price of $160,000 at the height of the market in 2007 by over 5 percent.

St Louis County home prices have had a strong performance with home prices increasing 32 percent from the post-bubble bottom of $134,000 in 2012 to the current median price of $174,900.  As the chart below shows, St Louis county home prices peaked during the bubble at $160,000 in 2007 so have not only recovered the losses but are now 9 percent higher than at the peak during the bubble.

Nationally, according to data just released by Homes.com, the average increase in home prices today from the peak during the bubble was just 1 percent for markets with moderate price declines from peak prices, so, here in St Louis, we are doing much better!

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St Louis Home Sales Up Slightly In August From Year Ago…Big drop from July

There were 2,370 existing homes sold in St Louis during July (in the 5-county core market) an increase of 1.5 percent from August 2014 when there were 2,335 homes sold.  August home sales were down 16.9% from the month before as were St Louis home prices which fell from a median of $183,779 in July to $178,500 in August. The St Louis core market consists of the city of St Louis and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin.

St Louis homes sold in August for 5.9% more than during the same period a year ago.

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Homes are selling quickly in St Louis…often within the first couple of days!

Reminenscent of the “good ole” days in the real estate biz, homes in St Louis are selling quickly, often within a day or two of hitting the market, and frequently at full  price or close to it!  Now, before you get too excited, there is a caveat…I’m referring to homes that are properly priced and marketed.  Overpriced listings that don’t show well are still sitting on the market while buyers pass them by.  Get information on St Louis home prices, home sales, where the hot markets are and more in our newly published, 5-minute, market video update for March2015, below.

If you have considered selling your home, or perhaps tried and failed in the past year or so, now is the time to consider it again.  Contact me and we’ll be happy to let you know the value of your home in today’s market as well as show you how you can sell your home for the maximum price, in the least amount of time and save money doing it.  You may also want to try our online home valuation site and find the value of your home in under a minute – go to StLouisHousePrices.com.

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.

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Are St Louis Home Prices Too Low?

The St Louis real estate market is definitely recovering from the housing bubble burst that sent it into a tail spin about six years ago. With the recovery, home sales have increased, although at a slower pace in 2014 than the year before, and St Louis home prices have increased but, in spite of this, are St Louis home prices too low?

To address this question I looked at the relationship between St Louis home prices, rent amounts and income over the past 15 years to see how the trends look and how where we are today compares.  Below are the following charts as well as what I think they may indicate:

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The Truth About Real Estate Commission

Last summer I wrote an article addressing the issue as to whether paying a higher rate of commission will help a seller sell his or her home faster.  My research for that article, in which I looked at a years worth of home sales in the St Louis area, showed that a higher than normal commission rate in fact did not lead to faster home sales.  Now that we are seeing the market heat up I decided to take another look at this topic and this time focus on whether paying a higher real estate commission results in getting a higher price for the seller.

To make sure my analysis would reflect the current market, I looked at data from homes sold in the St Louis area during the last 4 months and then selected the 20 zip codes where homes sold for the highest percentage of the original list price.  As the chart below shows, the 63385 zip code area of St Charles County (Wentzville area) had the highest percentage at 97.5% and the 63146 zip code area of St Louis County with homes selling for just shy of 95.5% of the list price was at the bottom of the list of top 20 zips.  There were a total of 2,162 homes sold in these 20 zip code areas during the 4 month period I examined.

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Prices Have Increased The Most In Past Year

Most of the neighborhoods in St Louis have seen home prices increase over the past year, at least to some extent however, some are seeing rates that are significantly higher than others.  So where are the St Louis neighborhoods that have seen the largest increase in home prices in the past year?  Let’s being with how the data is computed.  The table below is based upon current median list prices of homes for sale within a zip code.  Zip codes that don’t have a sufficient amount of annual home sales to make their statistics accurate and significant have been omitted.

As the chart below shows, the 63108 zip code area of St Louis (the Central West End) is number 1 on the list as of today in terms of the year over year increase in home prices which is at over 38%.  It’s important to note that this does NOT mean that every home in the Central West End has increased in value 38% from a year ago however.  What this means is that the median listing price of homes for sale there presently is 38% higher than a year ago.  This could be the result of a large influx of higher priced property on the market, or a large amount of foreclosures on the market a year ago, but in any event is still a good thing and shows prices and values are going up in that area.  While the table below will give you a good idea of what is going on with home prices in a given area, nothing beats a live analysis by a real estate professional which myself, or one of the highly qualified agents in our firm, can help you with.  Please contact me for more info.

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Effect Of School Districts On St Louis Home Prices

I think most people know that good schools benefit the housing market and home prices in that district by creating more demand for homes in the district.  This demand contributes to a healthy market and, the ultimate hope of most home owners, appreciating home prices that yield a good return on the investment over time.  Conversely, the opposite is generally believed to be true as well that a poor school district has a negative effect on the housing market and home prices within that district.

How much effect does a school district have on home prices, whether a good district or bad?  

To address this, I first went to SchoolDigger.com to find school district rankings for St Louis area districts.  I then chose the five districts that were ranked highest and the five ranked the lowest, which are:

  • Highest Ranked-
    • Lindbergh (3)
    • Clayton (6)
    • Brentwood (11)
    • Kirkwood (12)
    • Rockwood (14)
  • Lowest Ranked-
    • Riverview (502)
    • St Louis City (497)
    • Normandy (495)
    • Ferguson-Florissant (464)
    • Ritenour (458)

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Where The Real Estate Market Is Headed In 2015

Around this time of year every year, people start asking me “Where is the real estate Market headed next year?”  The real estate market is affected by so many factors that predictions on what the market will do are hard, however there are some basic fundamentals that can be looked at to make a good educated guess.  One of the industry experts out there that I think does a good job at this and, offers a somewhat less biased look at the market than some, is Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.   Below are highlights of his most recent report on the outlook of the housing market along with my comments relating his projection to our St Louis market:

Home Sales:

  • 5.31 million total homes (new and existing) sold in 2014, a 3.6% decrease from 2013.  Projection for 2015 is an increase of 5.5% to 5.6 million homes sold.
  • For St Louis (the 5-county core market), I am projecting that home sales will be down roughly the same as above, maybe just slightly higher, perhaps 4%, for 2014 from 2013.  I would also project an increase in home sales in St Louis in 2015 at a rate close to the rate projected by Mr. Nothaft for the market as a whole.

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Home Buyers Are King

There are still some St Louis neighborhoods where home buyers have the upper hand even though in many St Louis neighborhoods the seller is clearly in charge.  The table below shows St Louis buyer’s markets based upon our Market Action Index that scores a neighborhood based upon supply and demand and then determines whether the data is indicative of a seller’s market or a buyer’s market.  An index of 30 indicates a balanced market not favoring buyers or sellers and below a 30 a buyer’s market.  The lower the index goes, down to a low of 0, the colder that market is and the more it favors buyers.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Lowest Level In Over A Year

Mortgage interest rates fell to an average of 4.13 percent in July on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, marking the lowest mortgage interest rate we have seen in over a year.  The last time mortgage interest rates were this low was back in June of 2013 when the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.07 percent, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac.

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Mortgage Interest rates

Source: Freddie Mac

St Louis Home Sales and Prices Increase From Year Ago

St Louis Home Sales as well as St Louis home prices have increased in the past year 3,179 homes sold in June 2014 in the St Louis core market (St Louis city and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) an increase of 3 percent from June 2013 when there were 3,086 homes sold.  During this same period, St Louis home prices increased 5.81 percent from a median price of $155,000 in June 2013 to a median price of $164,000 in June 2014, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.

As the table below shows,  St Louis County and St Charles County both saw a decline on home sales from June 2013 to June 2014 while the other 3 counties in the core market saw an increase in home sales during the same period.  Home prices were up in all the counties in the St Louis core market with the exception of Jefferson County, and St Louis County saw the biggest increase in median home prices at 11.76%.

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St Louis Lofts Making Comeback

St Louis Lofts are making a comeback both in popularity and price, according to the latest data available from Mid America Regional Information Systems (MARIS), the St Louis REALTOR® MLS.  As the charts below show, loft sales in St Louis peaked in 2006 (when all real estate peaked) with sales of lofts hitting 218 for the year and the median price of lofts sold that year coming in at a record $215,700.  After 2006 however, sales fell year after year finally hitting a low in 2010 when only 67 lofts were sold, a decline of almost 70% from the peak.  Loft prices in St Louis did not hit bottom until the following year however, 2011, when the median price of a loft sold in St Louis was $152,500, a decline of almost 30% from the peak in 2006.

The comeback began last year, with St Louis loft sales hitting 1o7 in 2013, a six-year high, and the median price climbing to $173,500, a three-year high.  Thus far, it appears as though this trend will continue through 2014 with loft sales, as the one-year chart below shows so well, shooting up in May with 18 lofts sold, the most in one month in nearly 3 years (since June 2011) at a median price of $186,250, a recovery of over half the decline in loft prices from the peak in 2006.   Year to date, through May 2014, there have been 50 lofts sold in St Louis, an increase of 25% from the same period last year when 40 lofts were sold, and median loft prices increased 6.7% during the same period, rising from $174,500 in May 2013, to $186,250 in May 2014.

 

St Louis Lofts For Sale

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Piqued your interest?  If you would like more information on any of these homes or for a private viewing, click here.

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St Louis’ Hottest Housing Markets

St Louis’ Hottest Housing Markets are pretty well concentrated into an area within 3 zip codes and 3 municipalities, with the exception of Valley Park which is actually number on the list in terms of our Market Action Index.  As the Hot Markets table below shows, after Valley Park, the next 4 markets are both zips in Ballwin, and then the 63122 zip area of Glendale and Kirkwood.  The months inventory table gives a clue as to at least part of the reason these markets are hot as the inventory of homes is very low with all the aforementioned areas only having about a 2 month supply of homes for sale.

Remember, a hot sellers market does not always mean higher prices, but I charted the median price per square foot of homes in the top five markets over the past year and, as the charts show, for the most part, there appears to be some pricing strength.

Find out what your home is worth online in less than 1 minute! Click here.

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Where in St Louis can home buyers find a good deal?

Everyone loves a deal!  When it comes to buying a house, over the past few years there have been many “deals” out there as a result of the housing market meltdown.  However, now that the worst of it is over, and many markets have already started recovering,  the question for many are “where in St Louis can home buyers find a good deal?“.  This is not easy to answer and what is a “good deal” for a home buyer looking for a place to call home for the foreseeable future is not necessarily going to be viewed in the same way by an investor looking to buy rental property or for something to flip.  However, the are some basic market indicators that buyers can follow to point them in the right direction.

By looking at different types of market data it is pretty easy to determine what markets or neighborhoods are still challenged and where opportunities may be found out.  Below are tables and charts that will help find those neighborhoods:

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Where Are St Louis’ Fastest-Selling Neighborhoods?

St Louis’ fastest-selling neighborhoods today can be found throughout the St Louis area, however, as the list of the 15 fastest selling neighborhoods below shows, the lions share are found within St Louis County.  Ten of the neighborhoods are within St Louis County and then primarily mid-county and west county, then 3 can be found in St Charles county and then finally 1 in Franklin county and 1 in the city of St. Louis.

Beneath the list you will find a slideshow of the homes currently available in St Louis’ Fastest-Selling Neighborhoods. Better move quick, before they’re all gone1

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Is Buying a Home a Good Investment?

When asked “Is Buying a Home a Good Investment” about half (49%) of the Americans surveyed in a recent Rasmussen Reports survey said yes that a home would be a good investment for their family.  Before you “glass is half empty” people say that means then the other half don’t agree, that is not accurate as only 27% percent said they felt that a home is not a good investment for a family presently while the remaining 24% just weren’t sure whether buying a home would be a good investment or not.

The survey results above are pretty consistent with the results from the same survey throughout the past two years however is down from May 2009 when 67% of Americans surveyed said that buying a home a good investment, an all-time high.

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St Louis Real Estate Market Outlook 2014

St Louis New Home - Dennis Norman, St Louis REALTORWhat is the St Louis real estate market outlook for 2014?  Where are home prices and sales headed? Are we out of the slump and on the path to recovery in the St Louis housing market?  What about St Louis new home construction activity and St Louis new home sales? 

I had the pleasure this morning of discussing this and much more with Kristi Carson, host of “Today’s Issues” , her show that airs on  KSHE 95, Classical 107.3, KHITS 96.3, 105.7 The Point and FM NewsTalk 97.1.  In case you don’t catch the show on the radio, you can get it here.

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St Louis Housing Market Recovery Underway

St Louis Realtor, Dennis Norman, Past President St Louis Association of RealtorsIt’s hard to believe that it has been over 5 years since the housing market bubble burst but, as we begin this new year, it is good to continue to see market data that supports a St Louis housing market recovery is underway!

As we have been reporting here on St Louis Real Estate News, over the past few months we have seen a solid recovery trend in the St Louis real estate market.  Home prices have increased as have home sales, the new home market continues to make progress with new home construction and sales on the rise and distressed home sales (foreclosures, REO’s, etc), which cause downward pressure on home prices and make a sustained recovery difficult, are on the decline.

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St Louis Home Sales Increase In Past Year; Buck National Trend

St Louis homes sales (the 5-county core market*) for the 12 month period ending November 30, 2013 increased 4 percent from the same period a year ago,  in contrast to national home sales which are down 1.2 percent from a year ago.  As the table below shows, St Louis distressed home sales (foreclosures, bank-owned and short sales) have declined by more than a third and are currently responsible for just 5 percent of the overall home sales.

St Louis home prices are increasing too with the median home price for the past year coming in at $149,600, an increase of 10.81 percent from a year ago when the median price was $135,000.  St Louis home prices have increased more than the national rate of of 9.4 percent for the past year.

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St Louis Neighborhoods Where Homes Are Selling Fast

The 12 Fastest Selling St. Louis NeighborhoodsAll 10 of the St Louis neighborhoods where homes are selling the quickest are found in St. Louis County, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.  As the table below shows, the 63040 zip in Grover has the lowest median time homes for sale have been on the market at just 35 days.

The chart below the table shows the number of homes that were sold during October 2013 in each of these zip codes that made the top ten list for fastest selling St Louis neighborhoods.  Ballwin saw the most home sales with almost 70 in the 63021 zip and another 60 in 63011.

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St Louis Most Expensive Homes For Sale

St Louis Association of REALTORS - Realtor of the year Dennis NormanSt Louis is a pretty modest place as a whole and is very affordable when it comes to housing costs. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find a multi-million dollar estate if you are in the market for one.

The proof is in the slideshow below…the most expensive homes currently on the market in the St Louis area: Continue reading “St Louis Most Expensive Homes For Sale

The 12 Fastest Selling St. Louis Neighborhoods

The 12 Fastest Selling St. Louis NeighborhoodsEleven of the 12 fastest selling St. Louis neighborhoods are found in St. Louis County with the lone exception, which also happens to be #1 on the list, found in the city of St. Louis, according to the latest data available from MORE, REALTORS.

The fastest selling neighborhoods list is ranked based upon the median time current listings have been on the market.  At the top of the list, with a median time on market of 25 days, is the 63101 zip area of the city of St Louis, followed by the 63040 zip area in Grover at 29 days.  At the bottom of the top 12 list is the 63117 zip inRichmond Heights with a median time on market of 48 days.  The first St. Charles County appears on the list is at number 15 with the 63304 zip at 53 days.   Continue reading “The 12 Fastest Selling St. Louis Neighborhoods

St Louis Foreclosures Decline Over 36 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis Foreclosures

The number of St Louis homeowners with a foreclosure filing in July was 1,183 homeowners, a decline of 1.09 percent from June and a whopping decline of 36.4 percent from a year ago when 1,860 properties had a foreclosure filing, according to a report just released this morning by RealtyTrac.  This works out to one in every 1,052 St Louis properties receiving a foreclosure filing, slightly lower than the national rate of one in every 1,001 properties and well below the 1 in every 250 rate in Miami, the metro area with the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in July.

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The Typical St Louis House

Typical St Louis House - St Louis RealtorThe typical St Louis house is owner occupied (64.4 %), has 2+ bathrooms (62%) a garage or car port (84%)  and a porch, deck, balcony or patio (96%),  according to data just released by the U.S. Census bureau.  According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, 68.5 percent of St Louis homeowners have a mortgage equal to 72 percent of the value of their house on average and  with a median payment of $900 per month.

Click here for complete American Housing Survey Results.

 

St Louis Housing Markets On The Rebound

St Louis Housing Markets On The ReboundThere are St Louis Housing markets on the rebound with prices and demand on the rise and inventories down.  For the  9 areas of St Louis where the real estate market is on the rebound listed below, I have charts showing what home prices have done over the past 3 years (the red line) as well as what our Market Action Index is for the area (an index that rates an area based upon supply and demand – the Olive colored line).   As the data shows, these markets are seeing home prices on the rise and the market heating up!

(note: these charts are “real-time”, so as you check back in the future they will be updated to current pricing – click here to request charts for other areas and I’ll send them to you) Continue reading “St Louis Housing Markets On The Rebound

Ten Fastest Selling Areas In St Louis

fastest selling areas in st louisThe fastest selling areas in St. Louis in April included 7 areas  in St Louis County, 2 areas in St Charles County and 1 in the City of St. Louis, according to the latest data from MORE, REALTORS.  At the top of the list of the ten fastest selling areas in St Louis is the 63121 zip code, comprised primarily of the city of Normandy in St Louis County where the median time on the market of homes sold in April was under three weeks.

See the chart below for the top ten fastest selling areas in St. Louis:

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St Louis Is 4th Best Place In The U.S. For Investors To Buy Property

best areas for investors to buy propertySt. Louis is the 4th best place in the U.S.  for investors to buy property, based upon a recent report by Radar Logic.  In compiling the list of cities, Radar Logic examined where institutional investors (i.e., corporations, LLC’s, partnerships and trusts) were buying property and how big of discounts they were receiving compared to other home sales in that area.

The Top 10 Markets For Investors Based Upon Discounted Home Prices:  Continue reading “St Louis Is 4th Best Place In The U.S. For Investors To Buy Property

Real Estate Terms Defined

Real Estate TermsMaking Sense of Confusing Real Estate Terms

If you are buying, selling or refinancing a home you will come across real estate terms and industry lingo that may sound foreign to you.  To help address this issue, below you will find definitions for the most common real estate terms that you are likely to come across when buying, selling or refinancing a home.   If you have other questions about title insurance, or the role of the title company in these transactions, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

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How to avoid being the victim of a loan modification scam

dennis-norman-st-louis-real-estateAccording to a recent report by the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN), a national anti-scam effort comprised of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), and NeighborWorks America, there have been more than 30,000 loan modification scams reported in the past three years. According to the group, the scammers are becoming “increasingly aggressive online, using targeted web advertisements to reach homeowners who are searching for mortgage relief over the Internet.” The group cautions that homeowners should be aware that no one other than your present lender can guarantee any form of mortgage relief.

Below are six (6) warning signs to look for that may indicate you are dealing with a loan modification scammer: Continue reading “How to avoid being the victim of a loan modification scam