The Impact of Credit Scores on St. Louis Real Estate Decisions

Whether you’re looking to buy or rent a home, your credit score is more than just a number—it’s a gateway to your future residence. A recent survey by LendingTree has shed light on the significant role credit scores play in Americans’ access to financial products, including those crucial for securing a home. Here’s a recap of the findings and their implications for the St. Louis real estate market.

Key Findings:

  • High Denial Rates: 42% of Americans reported their credit scores prevented them from obtaining a financial product in the past year, with this figure soaring to 74% among those with poor credit. For St. Louis residents, this could mean increased challenges in securing mortgages or rental agreements.
  • Credit Cards and Personal Loans: The top products consumers were denied due to their credit scores were credit cards (25%) and personal loans (12%). While not directly related to real estate, these denials can impact one’s ability to consolidate debt or cover moving expenses, indirectly affecting home buying or renting capabilities.
  • Perception of Financial Responsibility: 40% of Americans believe their credit scores do not accurately reflect their financial responsibility. This sentiment is even higher among those with poor credit (60%), millennials (47%), and women (44%). For potential homebuyers or renters in St. Louis, this discrepancy could lead to frustration and barriers in the housing market.
  • Payment History’s Importance: Despite being the most crucial factor in credit score calculations, 50% of Americans are unaware that payment history holds the most weight. This lack of knowledge can lead to missed opportunities for improving credit scores and, by extension, securing better terms for mortgages or leases.
  • Improving Credit Scores: The survey revealed that paying off debt was the primary method for improving credit scores over the past year. For St. Louis residents, understanding and applying this knowledge can be a strategic move towards enhancing eligibility for home buying or renting.


Implications for St. Louis Real Estate:
The survey’s insights highlight a critical barrier to homeownership and renting: the impact of credit scores on financial product accessibility. For St. Louis real estate professionals and potential homebuyers or renters, this underscores the importance of credit education and management as foundational steps towards achieving housing goals.

  • Educational Opportunities: Real estate professionals, such as the Masters of Real Estate at MORE, REALTORS®, can provide valuable guidance to clients on improving credit scores, emphasizing the role of payment history and debt management.
  • Strategic Planning: Understanding the weight of credit scores in financial decisions can help potential buyers or renters in St. Louis develop strategies to improve their scores before applying for mortgages or leases.
  • Market Accessibility: For those with poor credit, exploring alternative financing options or seeking professional credit counseling could open doors to the real estate market that might otherwise remain closed.

In St. Louis, as in the rest of the country, a strong credit score is more than just a number—it’s a key that unlocks the door to future housing opportunities. The recent LendingTree survey provides a basis for understanding the challenges and strategies related to credit scores in the real estate market. By focusing on credit education and management, St. Louis residents can navigate these challenges more effectively, making the dream of buying or renting a home more attainable.

 

2024’s Top Paint Colors: Boost Your St. Louis Home’s Appeal

In 2024, the focus for homeowners is clear: refreshing interiors with colors that offer both a sense of calm and a reflection of personal style. The 2024 Paint & Color Trends Report from FIXr reveals a shift towards warm, earthy tones and nature-inspired hues, designed to transform homes into serene havens. Greens, blues, bright yellows, and deep olives are set to dominate, promising spaces that not only stand out but also provide an escape from the daily grind. This year, it’s all about bringing the tranquility of the outdoors inside, with a nod to personal expression through bold color choices.

The report, a comprehensive guide compiled with insights from top industry experts, serves as a valuable resource for anyone looking to update their home. It underscores the importance of creating environments that are not just visually appealing but also emotionally resonant. For St. Louis residents contemplating a home makeover, this guide offers a wealth of information, from the most sought-after colors to tips on enhancing home value and personal comfort. It’s an invitation to rethink your space, ensuring it reflects the latest trends while catering to your unique taste and lifestyle.

For those interested in exploring the full spectrum of 2024’s paint and color trends, the complete report is accessible below for in-depth review. It’s an essential read for homeowners aiming to infuse their spaces with the year’s most captivating and soothing colors.


2024 Paint & Color Trends Report

(click image below to access complete report in PDF form)

2024 Paint & Color Trends Report

St Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for January 2024 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for January 2024, presented below, provides an overview of the St Louis real estate market for each county within the St Louis MSA. This infographic is a unique offering from MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area.

St Louis Metro Real Estate Report for January 2024

(click on infographic for complete report including all counties in the St Louis Metro Area)St Louis Metro Real Estate Report for January 2024

Consumer Confidence in Mortgage Rates Soars, Marking a Positive Shift in Housing Sentiment for 2024

The latest release from Fannie Mae on the Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) is particularly illuminating, showing a notable uptick in consumer optimism towards mortgage rates. For the first time since March 2022, the HPSI has climbed to 70.7, a 3.5-point increase driven largely by heightened confidence in job security and an unprecedented share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to dip in the coming year. This optimism isn’t just numbers on a page; it’s a palpable shift in the air, with 82% of respondents now feeling secure in their employment prospects, and an all-time survey high of 36% predicting lower mortgage rates ahead. Yet, despite this optimism, the stark reality remains that only 17% believe it’s a good time to buy a home, underscoring a persistent pessimism around purchasing conditions.


 

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart

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

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart

St. Louis Housing Affordability Increases Slightly In Last Quarter of 2023

The latest figures from the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index reveal that 70.8% of people in the St. Louis MSA, with a median income of $101,200, could afford to buy a median-priced home. This percentage has seen a slight increase from the 3rd quarter of 2023, when it was 69.3%. As demonstrated in the chart below, this positions St. Louis as the 31st most affordable metro area for home purchases, out of the 242 that were ranked.

  

St Louis MSA Housing Affordability & National Rank (2014-2023)

St Louis MSA Housing Affordability & National Rank (2014-2023)

Home Ownership Rate in St. Louis Metro Area Fell to Lowest Level in Four Years in 2023

The latest home ownership data from the U.S. Census Bureau for the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reveals that the ownership rate in the 4th quarter of last year was 69.5%, a decline of over 2 full percentage points from the same quarter in the previous year. The Census Bureau reports home ownership rates on a quarterly basis, and the average rate for 2023 in the St. Louis metro area was 69.5%. This marks the lowest average homeownership rate for St. Louis since 2019, when it was 68.1%. The homeownership rate reached a recent peak in St. Louis in 2021, registering at 73.8%.

 

 

St Louis Metro Area Home Sales Fall to Lowest Level in 9 Years

As 2023 drew to a close, the St. Louis metro real estate market concluded the year with a total of 31,747 homes sold. As highlighted in the chart below, this figure represents the lowest annual home sales in the St. Louis MSA in nine years, since 2014, when the total was 31,531 homes sold.

Home prices in the St. Louis MSA have shown more resilience than sales volumes. As 2023 came to a close, the 12-month median home price per foot stood at $169, marking a 5% increase from the previous year. This trend provides a stark contrast to the sales figures. Over the past nine years, while the number of homes sold initially rose, it eventually reverted to levels seen nine years ago. In contrast, the median price per foot for homes sold has witnessed a substantial increase of over 74%, soaring from $97 per foot to $169 per foot.


12-Month Home Sales and Price Trend For the St Louis MSA For the Past 15 Years

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

12-Month Home Sales and Price Trend For the St Louis MSA For the Past 15 Years

St. Louis Retirement Real Estate: A New Era According to Latest Report

Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New ChoicesIn the St. Louis real estate market, understanding the choices of retirees is crucial. The Merrill Lynch-Age Wave report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices,” offers valuable data-driven insights. It reveals a significant shift in retirees’ housing preferences, with a focus on lifestyle-driven relocation rather than just downsizing.

Key Insights:

  • Renovation Trends: Retirees are increasingly focusing on home renovations to improve comfort and safety. This trend is driven by the desire to age in place comfortably, adapting their living spaces to suit changing mobility and health needs, as well as to accommodate visits from family and friends.
  • Financial Stability through Homeownership: The report indicates that home equity is a significant aspect of retirees’ financial security. Many retirees own their homes outright, providing a stable financial base and the possibility of leveraging this equity for additional income or security in retirement.
  • Community and Location Preferences: Retirees show a growing preference for living in age-specific communities or areas with desirable amenities and climates. This shift is influenced by the desire for social interaction with peers, access to health care and recreational activities, and the appeal of living in a more comfortable and suitable environment for their lifestyle needs.

At MORE, REALTORS®, we recognize the unique real estate needs of the senior market in St. Louis. Our team includes several agents specialized in this sector, having undergone extensive training to acquire specialized designations such as Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA), Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES), Certified Senior Housing Professional, and Certified Downsizing Coach. These qualifications equip us to offer tailored services and advice to retirees, ensuring they make informed decisions that align with their lifestyle, comfort, and financial goals. Our expertise positions us as a trusted partner for seniors navigating the St. Louis real estate market.

For a complete understanding of these trends, the entire report is available for review.


 

 

Exploring the 2024 Rental Affordability Report: Insights for the St. Louis Real Estate Market

Today, ATTOM released its ‘2024 Rental Affordability Report,’ presenting a comprehensive analysis of the current state of home rental and ownership in the United States. The report indicates that renting a median three-bedroom home is more affordable than owning a similarly-sized property in nearly 90% of the U.S. markets. This trend continues despite rents growing faster than home prices. A significant finding for our industry is that both renting and owning pose substantial financial burdens on average workers, consuming over a third of their wages in most county-level housing markets.

Data for St. Louis County is consistent with the report.

Since the report covered only counties with a population of 1 million people or greater, St. Louis County was the sole county from our area included.  The report highlights that in St. Louis County, MO, renting remains more affordable compared to owning. This reflects the national trend, with median three-bedroom rents requiring only 24% of average local wages compared to higher percentages for home ownership costs. It’s worth noting that the affordability gap between renting and owning in St. Louis County is much narrower than in many counties in the U.S., particularly coastal areas.

Things may change soon though based upon trends shown.

The report reveals that in 2024, median rents for three-bedroom homes have risen more than single-family home prices in a majority of counties. This indicates a shift in the rental market dynamics, emphasizing the growing challenge for renters in finding affordable housing.


Rent vs. Wage Growth

An alarming trend noted in the report is that median three-bedroom rents are increasing faster than average local wages in over half of the markets analyzed. This disparity is a crucial factor contributing to the affordability crisis, as it indicates that wage growth is not keeping pace with rising housing costs.

Buying a Home: Long-Term Certainty vs. Short-Term Instability.

For those who have been following my articles over the past few years, I hope you’ve realized that I don’t blindly advocate for homeownership. I recognize that owning a home isn’t the best choice for everyone. In many cases, renting a home or an apartment is a better fit. However, considering the details in this report, it’s clear why buying a home can be advantageous for those in a position to do so. It offers the long-term certainty of fixed costs, contrasting sharply with the volatility of the rental market. This contrast is especially pertinent in light of the report’s findings that rent increases are outstripping wage growth.

Understanding Your Real Estate Options

At MORE REALTORS®, we pride ourselves on having a team of some of the most skilled and professional real estate agents in the St. Louis area. Our agents are dedicated to providing informed guidance tailored to each individual’s needs. Whether you’re considering buying or leasing, we’re here to offer insights and assistance based on your unique situation. For more information about our agents and the services we offer, please visit morerealtors.com. Alternatively, you can contact me directly at Dennis@STLRE.com, and I’d be happy to connect you with one of our knowledgeable real estate professionals.


St Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for December 2023 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for December 2023, presented below, provides an overview of the St Louis real estate market for each county within the St Louis MSA. This infographic is a unique offering from “MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area


St Louis Metro Real Estate Report for December 2023

(click on infographic for complete report including all counties in the St Louis Metro Area)St Louis Metro Real Estate Report for December 2023

Real Estate’s Game Changer: Decoding the Latest Twists in the Sitzer Saga

Since the suit was first filed in 2019, I’ve been following the the Sitzer v. National Association of REALTORS® case closely and sharing my thoughts on the potential impact it could have on the real estate industry, as well as on home buyers and sellers. This task has been far from dull, as the litigation has been filled with action, especially since the Missouri jury’s ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in October. The past week has seen an increase in legal activity from the defendants, making the situation even more intense. Below is a breakdown of the latest events and their implications, from my perspective (bear in mind, I’m not an attorney, just a real estate broker):


Key Motions Filed:

  • National Association of Realtors Seeks a New Trial: This motion contests the fairness of the original trial, highlighting potential procedural and evidentiary errors that might have skewed the jury’s decision.
  • Calls for Judgment as a Matter of Law: Various defendants, including Keller Williams and BHH Affiliates, have challenged the verdict based on the argument that it contradicts the evidence presented. They point to possible legal oversights, such as flawed jury instructions.
  • Questioning the Class Action Status: A notable move by BHH Affiliates and HomeServices of America, this motion disputes the class action’s suitability, arguing that individual differences overshadow commonalities crucial in such lawsuits.

Analyzing the Legal Landscape:

  • The Frequency of Post-Verdict Motions: In complex cases like this, it’s quite typical for defendants to pursue motions for a new trial or a judgment reversal. These legal steps, while common, underscore the high stakes involved, especially in a sector as impactful as real estate.
  • Prospects of These Motions: Historically, the success of such motions varies. They can occasionally lead to new trials or judgment alterations. However, overturning a jury’s decision is often a challenging hill to climb, given the U.S. legal system’s respect for jury findings. These motions are more likely precursors to an appeal.
  • Real Estate Industry at a Crossroads: The decisions on these motions are critical. Their outcomes could prompt significant changes in how real estate transactions are conducted, especially regarding agent commissions and competitive practices.

What Does This Mean for Home Buyers and Sellers?

Now, you might be wondering, “All this legal talk is great, but how does it affect me as a home buyer or seller?” Well, I have some thoughts on that as well:

  • Changes in Commission Structures: The heart of the Sitzer case is about how real estate commissions are handled. Depending on the outcome, we might see a shift in how agents are paid. This could mean more flexibility or different options when it comes to commission rates.
  • Increased Transparency: The case also touches on transparency in real estate transactions. We could be looking at a future where there’s more clarity on how agents operate, which means you, as a buyer or seller, would have a clearer picture of what you’re getting into.
  • Potential for More Competitive Pricing: If the verdict leads to changes in how commissions are structured, this could open the door for more competitive pricing in the real estate market. It could mean better deals for buyers and more options for sellers.

In short, this trial isn’t just about big real estate companies; it’s about potentially changing the playing field for everyone involved in buying or selling a home. It’s about making sure that the process is fair and transparent for you, the consumer. So, stay tuned – the decisions made in this courtroom could be game-changers for how we buy and sell homes.

Compilation of Motions Filed In The Past Week in Sitzer v NAR

(click below to access the document containing all the motions filed)

Compilation of Motions Filed In The Past Week in Sitzer v NAR


 

St. Louis Housing Market Sees Shift: Key Insights from 2023 Year-End Data

The “STL Market Report,” below exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS, provides a comprehensive look at the St. Louis residential real estate market as 2023 ended. This report outlines a mixed array of trends, highlighting a notable decline in the number of homes sold contrasted with a modest increase in median sold prices, offering in-depth knowledge for prospective buyers and sellers to navigate the market.

Decrease in Home Sales Volume
The St. Louis metro area witnessed a noticeable reduction in the volume of home sales year-over-year. A total of 31,704 homes were sold in the year ending December 2023, which marks a 13.13% decrease compared to the previous year’s figure of 36,498. This drop could signal a shift toward a buyer’s market, as fewer transactions typically indicate less competition among buyers.

Modest Rise in Home Prices
Despite the decrease in sales volume, St. Louis saw a modest increase in home prices. The median sold price for homes rose by 2.04% from $245,000 in December 2022 to $250,000 in December 2023. This growth, although not steep, suggests that home values in the region continue to appreciate, offering a silver lining for homeowners looking to sell.

Price Per Square Foot Analysis
The median price per square foot (PPSF) for sold homes remained relatively stable at $173.08 in December 2023, a slight decrease compared to the median PPSF for current listings at $171.87. However, a significant point to note is the 11.02% drop in PPSF for current listings compared to the sold listings from the past 12 months, indicating a possible adjustment in market expectations.

Inventory and Market Supply Dynamics
St. Louis’s home inventory levels also present an interesting narrative. With 2,956 listings currently up for sale and 2,348 homes sold last month, the market is experiencing a supply of approximately 1.26 months. This figure represents a brisk market that favors sellers, as a supply under 6 months typically does. However, it is important to monitor whether this inventory will rise or fall in response to changing market conditions.

Days on Market: A Consistent Pace
Homes in St. Louis are selling at a consistent pace, with the median days on market holding steady at 37 days. This indicates a stable demand for homes, with properties moving from listing to sale in just over a month on average.

What This Means for You
For sellers in the St. Louis area, the market still offers a favorable environment with steady prices and a relatively quick selling period. Buyers, on the other hand, might benefit from reduced competition, though they should be mindful of potential value appreciations.

 

STL Market Report – St Louis MSA

(click on report below for complete report)

STL Market Report - St Louis MSA

 

 

St. Louis 2024 Housing Forecast: What to Expect in Home Sales and Prices

As 2024 approaches, I conducted my customary in-depth analysis of historical St. Louis real estate market data to get my projection for St. Louis home sales and prices. Home sales in the five-county St. Louis core market appear to be gradually declining, based on statistics and trends from the previous ten years, as seen in the chart below

2024 St Louis Home Sales…

The data for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2023, will be available in a few days. I anticipate that home sales will be roughly 22,600 for the year, but there will be a slight decline by the end of 2024, bringing St Louis home sales down to about 22,400. This isn’t a huge drop (0.8%), but it is a noticeable change that could give buyers in the market a bit more leeway.

2024 St Louis Home Prices…

While home prices have been on the rise, the median price per square foot is increasing at a slower rate than in previous years. I anticipate St. Louis home prices will increase by only about 1% from their 2023 peak, reaching a peak in the summer of 2024 at approximately $196/foot, and then leveling off slightly, falling to around $184/foot by December 2024. It’s important to bear in mind that this type of fluctuation is common, whether you’re buying or selling. Prices are not falling dramatically, but they’re also not rising sharply. This follows a more consistent, dependable pattern. These are the trends to watch out for in the St. Louis market in 2024 if you’re in the game.

A little CYA…

It’s worth noting that the aforementioned estimates are based on the current economic conditions and patterns. Interest rates, inflation, and unemployment are just a few of the many factors that influence the economy, and even experts (who know a lot more than me) can’t always agree on where these trends are headed. As a result, any major shifts in these areas might significantly impact the direction of the St. Louis housing market in the upcoming year.


 

St Louis 5-County Core 12-Month Home Sale and Price Trend – Past 10 Years

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)St Louis 5-County Core 12-Month Home Sale and Price Trend - Past 10 Years

NAR’s Tumultuous Year: Insights and Implications for St. Louis Real Estate

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is facing unprecedented difficulties, including antitrust lawsuits and charges of sexual harassment, according to a lengthy report published in the New York Times today by Debra Kamin. The analysis by Kamin offers a perceptive look at the internal turmoil and external challenges that NAR is facing.

The customary practice of listing agents paying buyers’ agents fees is called into question by a landmark lawsuit in Missouri that resulted in a $1.8 billion verdict against NAR. The report quotes Compass’s Jason Haber as saying, “This is an extinction-level event,” highlighting the seriousness of these occurrences. The situation is made more complicated by the exit of important NAR executives, like as President Kenny Parcell, amid allegations of sexual harassment. These developments could have a big effect on the real estate market, even in our St. Louis market.

Readers of St. Louis Real Estate News are familiar with my analyses on these issues over the past years. At MORE REALTORS®, we have been proactively addressing these industry changes. Our agents are well-informed and prepared for the evolving landscape, ensuring we stay ahead in the game.

Kamin’s article serves as a reminder of the ongoing transformation in the real estate sector. As we navigate these changes, our commitment at MORE REALTORS® remains steadfast: to uphold the highest ethical standards and adapt swiftly to serve our clients best in the St. Louis area.


St. Louis Real Estate Market Ending Year on High Note: Surge in Home Sales and Listings

In a remarkable end-of-year surge, the St. Louis real estate market has shown significant growth in both home sales and new listings, according to the latest reports below, available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®.  The week of December 17-23, 2023, marked a notable increase in accepted contracts for home sales, jumping 26% compared to the same week in 2022. The rise was led by St. Louis County, which experienced an impressive 60% increase, indicating a robust demand in this area.

Simultaneously, new listings in the St. Louis area rose by 10%, with St. Charles County, in particular, witnessing a 31% jump in new properties hitting the market followed by Jefferson County with a 20% increase in new listings over the prior year.

This increase in listings, coupled with the growth in sales, suggests a continued good real estate environment as we head into the new year.


STL Real Estate Trends Report

New Accepted Contracts In the St Louis 5-County Core Market

(click on table for current, live data)

STL Real Estate Trends Report

STL Real Estate Trends Report

New Listings In the St Louis 5-County Core Market

(click on table for current, live data)

STL Real Estate Trends Report

Report Shows Average Wage Earner can Afford to Buy a Home In over half of the St Louis Areas Largest Counties

A report just released by ATTOM Data Research details housing affordability for the largest counties in the St. Louis metro area for the 3rd quarter of 2023. Affordability, measured by the percentage of wages needed to buy a home, shows considerable variation across counties in Illinois and Missouri. This metric is influenced by factors such as median sales prices and average wages.

For instance, in the County of St. Louis City (yes, it’s odd, but it’s a county), it only takes 17.3% of the annualized wages of an average earner to buy a median-priced home. In contrast, in St. Charles County, it takes 38.3% of annualized wages to afford a home. As the table below illustrates, in 4 of the 7 counties covered in the report, an average wage earner could afford to buy a home. Interestingly, home price appreciation is outpacing annualized wages in those counties, indicating that this affordability may soon change.


 

Percentage Of Income Needed To Buy A Home In St Louis

Percentage Of Income Needed To Buy A Home In St Louis

St Louis Housing Affordability Index By County St Louis Housing Affordability Index By County

NAR President Traci Casper Addresses Housing Market Challenges and Commission Lawsuits in CNBC Interview

Traci Casper, NAR President

In a recent interview with CNBC, Traci Casper, the President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), shared her views on the current state of the housing market and the implications of recent commission lawsuits. Her remarks provide an insight into the challenges and changes shaping the real estate industry, particularly relevant for the St. Louis market.

Casper highlighted the impact of fluctuating mortgage rates on the housing market, mentioning, “We do have still such a pent-up buyer pool that’s just been waiting on the sidelines… we are starting to feel them come back in.” This observation reflects the interconnectedness of mortgage rates and buyer activity, a significant factor in real estate market dynamics.

Regarding the commission lawsuits, Casper spoke about the potential effects on buyers and sellers. She explained, “Our buyers are already struggling to come up with a down payment… We don’t want to see is the marginalization of those buyers.” This statement is in line with the NAR’s consistent message suggesting that lower-income buyers might be negatively impacted if sellers stop paying buyer agent commissions. I counter Casper’s position, highlighting the disagreement within the industry. Many argue that buyers are indirectly paying the commission since it is generally factored into the home’s selling price. If the payment structure shifts to where buyers directly pay the commission, this could lead to a decrease in the seller’s price, as they would no longer bear this cost. This change might not increase the overall cost to the buyer, but it could affect sellers’ pricing strategies. Additionally, I believe that lenders will adapt to these changes. Institutions like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA are likely to revise their policies to allow commissions paid by buyers to be included in closing costs, counted as part of the down payment, or financed.


Analyzing Jerome Powell’s Latest Press Conference: Implications for Mortgage Rates and the St. Louis Real Estate Market

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference yesterday, along with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement, provide crucial insights into the Fed’s economic outlook and monetary policy. These insights are pivotal for understanding the trajectory of mortgage rates and the St. Louis real estate market.

Powell’s Press Conference Highlights

  • Economic Activity and Rate Adjustments: Powell noted, “We have raised our policy interest rate by 5-1/4 percentage points… Our actions have moved our policy rate well into restrictive territory.”
  • Housing Sector Observations: He remarked, “After picking up somewhat over the summer, activity in the housing sector has flattened out… largely reflecting higher mortgage rates.”

Key Takeaways from the FOMC Statement

  • Economic and Inflation Outlook: The FOMC stated, “Recent indicators suggest that growth of economic activity has slowed… Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated.”
  • Banking System Resilience: The statement highlighted, “The U.S. banking system is sound and resilient. Tighter financial and credit conditions… are likely to weigh on economic activity.”

Anticipated Interest Rate Movements

  • Future Rate Decisions: The FOMC announced, “The Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 5-1/4 to 5-1/2 percent.”
  • Monetary Policy Considerations: “In determining the extent of any additional policy firming… the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy,” indicating a measured approach to future rate changes.

Implications for Mortgage Rates and St. Louis Real Estate

  • Mortgage Rate Trends: Combining Powell’s remarks with the FOMC statement suggests a period of careful assessment in rate adjustments. This could lead to stabilization or moderate fluctuation in mortgage rates.
  • Market Dynamics in St. Louis: Stable or gradually adjusting mortgage rates, alongside ongoing economic and inflation monitoring, could result in a balanced real estate market. Buyers and sellers in St. Louis may experience a period of relative predictability and sustained market activity.

Conclusion
The integrated perspectives from Jerome Powell’s press conference and the FOMC statement offer a detailed view of the Federal Reserve’s stance on economic conditions and monetary policy. For the St. Louis real estate market, these developments suggest a period of cautious optimism, with potential stability in mortgage rates and a balanced market environment. Real estate stakeholders should consider these insights in their market strategies and decision-making processes.


Understanding Missouri’s Place in National Migration Trends

A recent national migration study by Atlas Van Lines sheds light on the movement patterns across the United States in 2023. For Missouri, and by extension, the St. Louis real estate market, these insights are particularly revealing.

While the study highlights various states experiencing significant inbound or outbound moves, Missouri stands out for its balanced migration pattern. With 51% outbound and 49% inbound moves, this balance has been consistent since 2018, indicating a stable demographic flow in Missouri. This steadiness is an essential factor for real estate professionals in St. Louis, as it suggests a continuous opportunity to cater to both new arrivals and existing residents.

The migration map shown below, illustrating these trends, serves as a visual guide to understanding how Missouri compares with its neighboring states and the nation. Unlike states with heavy inbound or outbound flows, Missouri’s balanced migration pattern presents a unique market scenario. Here, the focus for real estate professionals should be on sustaining and enhancing the region’s appeal to both potential newcomers and current residents.

Missouri’s stable migration pattern implies that while we may not experience dramatic shifts in population, there is a consistent demand for housing and real estate services. This demand is driven by a variety of factors, including economic stability, job opportunities, and quality of life – all critical aspects that influence people’s decisions to move.

The balanced migration in Missouri underscores the importance of focusing on holistic development and marketing strategies that address the needs of a diverse population. For the St. Louis real estate market, it’s about striking a balance between welcoming new residents and serving the needs of those who have long called Missouri home.


2023 Migration Patterns By State – Based on Interstate Household Goods Moves

(from November 16, 2022 through November 16, 2023 – click on map for full report)

2023 Migration Patterns By State - Based on Interstate Household Goods Moves

Evaluating the MLS System: Time for Change?

The real estate industry stands at a pivotal juncture, where longstanding practices are being questioned and re-evaluated. Central to this introspection is the structure of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a tool indispensable to our trade. Current legal challenges (such as the Sitzer v NAR lawsuit) and scrutiny from the Department of Justice, particularly concerning policies like clear cooperation and offers of compensation, have brought to the forefront a crucial question: Is the current MLS system, tied as it is to REALTOR® association membership, serving the best interests of our clients and the industry?

The traditional model, which intertwines MLS access with REALTOR® association membership, implies that an agent or broker not aligned with the REALTOR® association is denied access to the MLS. This setup, while historically effective in maintaining a standard of practice and ensuring a level of oversight, now faces criticism for potentially limiting competition and choice in the market.

In the St. Louis area, like in many parts of the country, this structure has been the bedrock of real estate transactions. The MLS, governed and in many times owned by REALTOR® associations (such as is the case in St Louis), has long been a symbol of professional adherence to ethical standards and cooperation. However, the landscape is changing. The industry is evolving with technology and a more informed consumer base, leading to questions about whether this model still serves its intended purpose effectively.

Recent events have brought to light concerns about whether these practices stifle competition and limit consumer choice. The clear cooperation policy, for instance, mandates that all listings be made available to all participating MLS members, tying access closely to association membership. The question arises: does this limit the ability of non-association brokers to compete fairly, subsequently negatively  impacting the consumer?

In an ideal scenario, the MLS should be a tool that enhances the market by ensuring wide visibility of listings, fostering competition, and upholding professional standards. But when access to this crucial tool is contingent on association membership, we must ask if we’re inadvertently creating barriers that go against the very principles of open market competition and consumer choice.

As we delve deeper into this issue, a compelling argument arises for decoupling the MLS from REALTOR® association memberships. Such a change could potentially open the market to a broader range of professionals, encouraging innovation and perhaps even leading to improved services and tools. This decoupling could also align with antitrust laws, addressing legal concerns around competition.

However, this proposed change is not without its challenges. The association-MLS model provides a framework for ethical standards and professional conduct. Decoupling might require the development of new systems to ensure these standards are upheld, which could be complex and resource-intensive.

While currently there are more questions than answers with regard to the issues of race, I think one thing that is certain is that we are likely to see changes to the current system on some level in the coming months.

St Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for November 2023 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis Metro Area Real Estate Market Report for November 2023, presented below, provides an overview of the November 2023 St Louis real estate market for each county within the St Louis MSA. This infographic is a unique offering from MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area


St Louis MSA Real Estate Report for November 2023

(click on infographic for complete report including all counties in the St Louis Metro Area)St Louis MSA Real Estate Report for November 2023

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Real Estate: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

The real estate industry is potentially on the cusp of a significant shift, one that could redefine the relationship between homebuyers, sellers, and their agents. Several class-action lawsuits, including the Sitzer v. NAR case decided in favor of the plaintiffs last month, have brought considerable attention to how real estate agents representing buyers are compensated. Consequently, many in the industry, myself included, anticipate that changes prompted by either court order or regulation could significantly impact everyone involved in the home buying and selling process

For Buyers: Empowerment through Transparency

Historically, buyer’s agents have been compensated by the seller, creating a perception of “free service” for the buyer. This arrangement often obscured the true cost of services provided by buyer’s agents. The anticipated changes would likely result in a direct payment model, where buyers would pay their agents directly.

What does this mean for you as a buyer? Firstly, it brings transparency. You will have a clearer understanding of what you’re paying for and why. It’s an opportunity to engage more deeply with your agent, understanding their role and the value they bring to your home-buying journey. This shift encourages informed decision-making and could lead to more personalized, high-quality services, as agents strive to demonstrate their worth.

For Sellers: A More Level Playing Field

Sellers, you’re not left out of this equation. The change could level the playing field, making the process fairer. You might find that the costs of selling your home become more predictable, and the overall market dynamics more balanced. However, sellers may experience a bit of ‘sticker shock’ initially. When selling, and basing the value of their home on recent sales, they will need to remember that those prior sale prices included the cost of the buyer’s agent. If now the buyer has to incur this cost, it will effectively add to the buyer’s overall expenses and, consequently, lower the perceived value of the home compared to listings where the seller paid the commission. In other words, sellers, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

For Agents: A Call to Elevate Services

To the real estate professionals reading this: the proposed changes are a call to action. This is an opportunity to showcase the value and expertise you bring to the table. By focusing on quality service, specialization, and client satisfaction, you can navigate these changes successfully. Remember, a more informed consumer is an opportunity to build deeper, trust-based relationships.

A Forward-Looking Industry

Change is often accompanied by uncertainty, but it also brings growth and progress. As we navigate this evolving landscape, our focus remains on empowering you with information and insights. Whether you’re buying, selling, or simply exploring the market, remember: the value of a skilled real estate professional is undisputed. The right agent is your ally, advocate, and expert.  If you are looking for such an agent, a good place to start is my firm, MORE, REALTORS® as those are the only kind of agents we surround ourselves with (shameless plug).


Missouri Homebuyers, Mark Your Calendars: The Surprising Best Month to Buy Revealed

In the ever-shifting sands of the real estate market, timing can be the key to unlocking exceptional value. A recent comprehensive study by ATTOM Data Services, which analyzed over 47 million home sales, uncovers a surprising twist specific to the Missouri housing market. While the national trend leans towards October for optimal home buying, Missouri charts a different course, offering a unique window of opportunity for prospective buyers.

Discovering Missouri’s Seasonal Advantage

This extensive study paints a vivid picture of real estate trends, providing invaluable insights for both buyers and sellers. For Missouri, the findings point to December as a golden month for home purchasing, differing from the national trend. This divergence presents a strategic opportunity for buyers in the state to potentially secure better deals.

What This Means for St. Louis Home Buyers and Sellers

In the St. Louis real estate market, the latest data presents a compelling narrative for immediate buyer action. With December’s arrival, historically marked as the most advantageous month for home purchases in Missouri, buyers are positioned to capitalize on potentially lower prices. This trend aligns closely with the findings from my recent analysis on interest rates dropping to their lowest in over two months. Together, these factors create a prime environment for buyers in the current market. For sellers, this period warrants a strategic review to align with the unique opportunities that December offers.


Best Month to Buy a Home in Missouri

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Best Month to Buy a Home in Missouri

St Louis METRO EAST Real Estate Market Report for October 2023 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis METRO EAST Real Estate Market Report for October 2023, presented below, displays data for St Clair County in Illinois and by clicking on the infographic you will reveal the market report for every county in Illinois that is part of the St Louis metro area.  This infographic is a unique offering from MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area

St Louis METRO EAST Real Estate Report for October 2023

(click on infographic for complete report for all Illinois counties that are part of the St Louis metro area)St Louis METRO EAST Real Estate Report for October 2023

St Louis Real Estate Market Report for October 2023 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis Real Estate Market Report for October 2023, presented below, merges data from both the City and County of St. Louis. This infographic is a unique offering from MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area

We invite you to dive deeper into our comprehensive demographic, which also sheds light on the St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin County markets as well by tapping on the image below.


St Louis Real Estate Report for October 2023

(click on infographic for complete report including other counties)St Louis Real Estate Report for October 2023

St. Louis Ranks 9th Lowest for Average Down Payments among Top 50 U.S. Metros

In the world of real estate, down payments have emerged as a significant financial factor for homebuyers across the United States, and St. Louis is no exception. A recent report from LendingTree sheds light on the dynamics of down payments, and it’s essential for prospective buyers and sellers in St. Louis to understand how the local market fares in this regard.

St. Louis Down Payment Statistics:

  • St. Louis ranks 42nd out of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in terms of average down payments. This ranking places it 9th in terms of the lowest down payment amount in the 50 largest metros.
  • The average down payment in St. Louis comes in at $56,251. While this figure may not reach the heights seen in some of the more expensive coastal cities, it’s still a substantial amount.

Down Payment as a Percentage of Income:

  • One critical metric to assess affordability is the down payment as a percentage of the average annual household income. In St. Louis, the average down payment represents approximately 54.87% of the area’s average annual household income.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • For many homebuyers in St. Louis, coming up with a down payment that accounts for over half of their annual household income can present challenges. It may require careful financial planning and discipline to accumulate the necessary funds.
  • On the positive side, St. Louis fares better than several major metros where down payments exceed 100% of the average household income.

Tips for St. Louis Homebuyers:

  • Prospective buyers in St. Louis should explore various options for coming up with a down payment, such as saving over time or investigating loan programs that require lower upfront cash.
  • Additionally, buyers should stay informed about down payment assistance programs available in the St. Louis area that can help make homeownership more accessible.


 

In summary, while St. Louis may not have the highest average down payments in the nation, it’s essential for local homebuyers to be aware of the financial aspects of purchasing a home. Understanding how down payments align with income and local market conditions is key to making informed decisions in the St. Louis real estate market. Stay tuned to StLouisRealEstateNews.com for more insights into the St. Louis real estate landscape.

Vigilance Against Real Estate Fraud: A Critical Reminder for the St. Louis Market

In the ever-evolving landscape of real estate transactions, the threat of fraud has become increasingly sophisticated and pervasive. Recent alerts from Westcor and other title insurance underwriters highlight a worrying trend in real estate fraud, impacting not just foreign-owned unimproved lots but also residential and commercial properties across the board. As a leading voice in the St. Louis real estate market, it’s crucial to address these concerns and reinforce the importance of vigilance among our agents and clients.


The Escalating Threat of Real Estate Fraud

  • Seller Impersonation: No longer confined to foreign-owned, unimproved land, fraudsters are now targeting all types of properties, including those with owner-occupied homes and commercial entities. This form of deception involves impersonating the property owner to illegally sell the property.
  • Earnest Money Fraud: A newer tactic involves the fraudster acting as both the buyer and seller, using counterfeit checks for earnest money deposits. These checks, often drawn from foreign banks, are for amounts higher than typical in a purchase agreement. The scam unfolds as the fraudster cancels the deal before the check clears, demanding a wire transfer refund of the deposit.
  • Fraudulent Contract Assignments: In some cases, a fraudulent buyer assigns their contract to an unsuspecting third party. This complex scam involves posting online listings for properties that aren’t actually for sale, leading to conflicting demands on escrow deposits and creating a dilemma for title agents.

Red Flags and Preventative Measures
To safeguard against these scams, it’s essential to recognize potential red flags:

  • Unusual Communication Patterns: Be wary of sellers who avoid in-person meetings or insist on communicating only via phone, text, or email.
  • Inconsistencies in Identity: Pay attention to discrepancies like accents not matching the owner’s name, inability to answer property-specific questions, or documents signed or notarized in unexpected locations.
  • Urgency and Aggression: A seller in a hurry or who becomes belligerent when asked for verification is a potential red flag.
  • Suspicious Financial Requests: Be cautious of sellers requesting fund transfers to foreign bank accounts or presenting foreign checks, especially for amounts exceeding typical earnest money.

Best Practices for Real Estate Professionals

  • Verification: Always verify the identity of all parties involved in a transaction. Utilize state websites for license authenticity checks and refer to resources like the European Union’s PRADO website for passport verifications.
  • Payment Methods: Avoid accepting foreign checks. Instead, insist on wired funds for transactions.
  • Legal Consultation: In cases of uncertainty, seek advice from a licensed real estate attorney, especially regarding escrow arrangements.
  • Reporting: If you encounter fraudulent activities, report them immediately to the relevant authorities, including providing copies of fraudulent identification and documents.

Staying Informed and Prepared

For more detailed information on these scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s guide on fake check scams and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s resources on title and escrow fraud.

Conclusion

The real estate industry in St. Louis, like many others, is not immune to the threat of fraud. It’s imperative that we, as professionals, remain vigilant, informed, and proactive in our efforts to protect our clients and ourselves from these deceptive practices. By staying aware and adhering to best practices, we can continue to uphold the integrity and security of real estate transactions in our region.

This article aims to educate and alert the St. Louis real estate community about the increasing sophistication of fraud in the industry, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and adherence to best practices to safeguard against these threats.

St. Louis Condo Sales Dip to a Nine-Year Low

For the 12-month period ended October 31, 2023, there were 3,097 condominiums sold in the St Louis 5-county core market which, as the Condo 12-Month Sales and Price Trend Chart below (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) shows, is the lowest total for 12-month sales since August 2014. The St Louis Condominium sales trend is faring slightly better than single-family homes sales are because, as I reported earlier this week, St Louis home sales have fallen to the lowest level since early 2013.

St Louis Condo prices increasing a slower pace….

As the chart at the bottom illustrates, the median price per foot for Condominiums sold in the St Louis area increased this year 8.1% from last year which, while it is a higher percentage increase than seen during the same period for homes, is a lower rate of price appreciation than the 11.0% seen in 2022 and 9.0% in 2021.


 

St Louis Condo 12-Month Sales Trend and Price Trend

(click on report for live, interactive report)St Louis Condo 12-Month Sales Trend and Price Trend

St Louis Condo Price Trends

St Louis Condo Price Trends

St Louis Real Estate Market Report for September 2023 with accurate data you can trust

The St. Louis Real Estate Market Report for September 2023, presented below, merges data from both the City and County of St. Louis. This infographic is a unique offering from MORE, REALTORS, which is renowned for its expertise in St. Louis real estate market intelligence. Additionally, our brokerage prides itself on having a team of the most experienced and knowledgeable agents who are deeply committed to serving our clients throughout the St. Louis metro area

We invite you to dive deeper into our comprehensive demographic, which also sheds light on the St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin County markets as well by tapping on the image below.


St Louis Real Estate Report for September 2023

(click on infographic for complete report including other counties)St Louis Real Estate Report for September 2023

Update: Jury Returns Verdict in Sitzer Lawsuit, Awards $1.785 Billion in Damages

In a groundbreaking development, the jury in the Sitzer v National Association of REALTORS®, et al, lawsuit has returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. According to reports by Inman News, the jury found against all defendants and awarded a staggering $1.785 billion in damages. This decision could have far-reaching implications for the real estate industry, potentially reshaping commission structures and business practices.

The lawsuit, which has been closely followed since its filing in 2019, questioned the legality of certain real estate commission practices. The verdict is likely to send shockwaves through the industry, prompting legal reviews and potentially setting the stage for further litigation.

It remains to be seen how this verdict will impact the real estate market in the long term, but it is clear that the decision marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate over real estate commissions and transparency.

Stay tuned for more updates and in-depth analysis on what this verdict means for the future of the real estate industry.