Biden’s Rent Cap Plan Faces Criticism from Home Builders Association

President Biden has announced a plan to cap rent increases at 5% per year for corporate landlords with more than 50 units. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to lower housing costs and address the housing shortage. The plan also includes repurposing public land for affordable housing and rehabilitating distressed properties. The Biden administration emphasizes that these actions will help protect tenants from excessive rent hikes and promote the development of new affordable housing units.

However, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has expressed significant concerns about this proposal. Carl Harris, chairman of the NAHB, argues that rent control in any form is detrimental to the housing market. According to Harris, “These rent caps would also hurt existing tenants – those that the president is trying to help — because owners and developers would be unable to cover rising costs if rents are fixed.” The NAHB believes that such measures will discourage developers from building new rental units, exacerbating the housing shortage and worsening the affordability crisis.

The NAHB suggests alternative solutions to address housing affordability. They advocate for strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), reducing regulatory barriers that delay multifamily development, and adopting cost-effective building codes. Harris states, “If the Biden administration is serious about wanting to lower costs for renters, its policies should focus on increasing the rental housing supply.” By focusing on these strategies, the NAHB believes the government can more effectively boost multifamily housing production and make renting more affordable for Americans.

Discover the Hottest Real Estate Markets in St. Louis: Fastest Selling Zip Codes Revealed!

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis metropolitan area? If so, you’ll want to pay attention to the latest data on the fastest selling zip codes. According to recent statistics, the top three zip codes with the shortest average days on the market are 62084 in Madison-IL, IL, 63146 in St. Louis, MO, and 63034 in St. Louis, MO. This means that homes in these areas are in high demand and selling quickly, making them ideal locations for both buyers and sellers.

In 62084, the average listing stays on the market for just 11 days, with an average list price of $188,625. In 63146, there are 51 active listings with an average of 16 days on the market, while 63034 has 29 listings with an average of 17 days on the market. These numbers indicate a strong real estate market in these zip codes, with homes selling at a rapid pace. To get the complete list of the fastest selling zip codes in the St. Louis area, check out MORE, REALTORS®. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of these thriving communities.

Discover the Top 3 Fastest Selling School Districts in the St Louis Metropolitan Area

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis metropolitan area? If so, it’s important to know which school districts are experiencing the fastest home sales. According to recent data, the top three fastest selling school districts in the area are Wolf Branch DIST 113, Lebanon CUSD 9, and HILLSBORO DIST 3.

With an average of only 4 days on the market, Wolf Branch DIST 113 in Illinois takes the top spot. This district boasts 7 active listings with an average list price of $284,357. Coming in at second place is Lebanon CUSD 9 with an average of 8 days on the market for its 4 listings. And in third place is HILLSBORO DIST 3 with an average of 12 days on the market for its 3 listings. These fast-selling school districts are a testament to the strong real estate market in the St. Louis area.

If you’re interested in learning more about the fastest selling school districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area, MORE, REALTORS® has the complete list available. Whether you’re a family looking for a top-rated school district or a seller looking to capitalize on the fast-paced market, these districts are definitely worth considering. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to buy or sell in these highly sought-after areas. Contact MORE, REALTORS® today for more information.

New NAR Rule: What Buyers Need to Know About Written Agreements Before Home Tours

Starting August 17, 2024, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is implementing a new requirement on its members that will impact home buyers and REALTORS® alike. This new rule mandates that REALTORS® must have a written agreement with buyers before showing them any homes. This change is required as part of the settlement agreement of multiple massive class-action lawsuits where NAR was accused of anti-competitive practices. The settlement aimed to increase transparency and fairness in real estate transactions, ensuring that both buyers and agents have a clear understanding of their relationship and obligations. However, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the new requirement, including some “PSA” messages posted by agents on social media that refer to the required agreement as a “Buyer’s Agency” agreement.

A Buyer’s Agency agreement is used when you wish to engage an agent to represent you as a buyer and establishes obligations upon the agent, including fiduciary duties to put your interests ahead of all others (including themselves). This is certainly the agreement I would recommend buyers use in most cases once ready to commit to an agent. However, while this certainly meets the requirement, it is not the only type of agreement that satisfies NAR’s new rule. In fact, representation is not required at all. Yes, a written agreement is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be a full-blown buyer representation agreement. Any written agreement to show a property will suffice. The intent here is not to complicate the home buying process but to protect buyers and clarify the REALTOR®’s role and responsibilities, including the cost, if any, to the buyer and where the compensation is coming from. It ensures that you understand the services you’re getting and how your REALTOR® will be compensated, making the whole process smoother and more transparent.

Is compensation required under the agreement?

That is, of course, dependent on the agreement itself, but there is no requirement by the NAR settlement that buyers be charged anything to enter into an agreement to be shown a home. Naturally, if the agreement is a Buyer’s Agency agreement where you will, in fact, receive representation, the agent, like every other professional involved in the home buying process, will need to be compensated, and how much and who pays will need to be laid out.

How long does the agreement obligate me?

Again, there is no requirement for the agreement to last any period of time. If it’s simply a showing agreement, it may last long enough for the agent to walk you through the home.

What if the listing agent shows you the home?

If the listing agent is giving you a tour of the home (as the seller’s agent) and not “working with” you, then the agreement may not be required. Personally, though, I think it is still a good idea to use it for transparency so that you, as the buyer, clearly understand whose interest that agent is required to put ahead of yours.

What is required in the “buyer agreement”?

According to the NAR settlement, the following are the only requirements for the agreement that must be signed before showing a home to a buyer they are working with:

  • Specify and conspicuously disclose the amount or rate of any compensation the MLS Participant will receive from any source.
  • The amount of compensation must be objectively ascertainable and may not be open-ended (e.g., “buyer broker compensation shall be whatever amount the seller is offering to the buyer”).
  • Include a statement that MLS Participants may not receive compensation from any source that exceeds the amount or rate agreed to with the buyer.
  • Disclose in conspicuous language that broker commissions are not set by law and are fully negotiable.
  • Include any provisions required by law.

At MORE, we are committed to providing exceptional service and ensuring complete transparency throughout your home buying journey. Our experienced agents are ready to guide you through this new process, making it as seamless as possible. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking for your next investment, MORE Realtors INLINE TEXT Link – goes to agent website
MORE, REALTORS® is here to help you every step of the way.

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Freedom and Real Estate: Reflecting on Independence Day

As we celebrate Independence Day, we not only honor the birth of our nation but also reflect on the freedoms and opportunities that make America unique. For the real estate market, these principles of independence and liberty are deeply ingrained. Homeownership is often seen as a cornerstone of the American Dream, representing stability, investment in the future, and personal freedom. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of owning a piece of this great land and the value it brings to families and communities.

The significance of Independence Day extends to the real estate industry by highlighting the freedom of choice and the variety of options available to homebuyers. From historic homes that embody the nation’s rich heritage to modern developments offering the latest in comfort and technology, the market provides something for everyone. As we enjoy the festivities and fireworks, let’s also appreciate the opportunities we have to invest in our future through real estate, continuing to build and strengthen our communities in the spirit of independence. Happy Fourth of July from all of us at MORE Realtors INLINE TEXT Link – goes to agent website
MORE, REALTORS®!

 

Widespread Disapproval of National Association of REALTORS®’ Handling of Commission Lawsuit

A recent flash poll by T3 Sixty at the NAR Midyear Conference highlights significant dissatisfaction among real estate professionals regarding the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its handling of the ongoing commission lawsuit.  View the entire report and survey results below.disa

Key Findings:

  • Approval of NAR’s Performance:
    • Only 30% of respondents approve of NAR’s overall performance.
    • A striking 63% disapprove, indicating widespread dissatisfaction.
  • Handling of Compensation Lawsuits:
    • Just 32% approve of NAR’s legal strategies.
    • A majority of 62% disapprove, showing deep concerns about the settlement’s impact.

At MORE Realtors, we understand the confusion and concerns surrounding these changes. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping homebuyers, sellers, and agents navigate this evolving landscape. We provide clear, comprehensive guidance to ensure you understand how the commission lawsuit outcomes will affect your real estate transactions. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in making informed decisions in this shifting market.


T3 Sixty NAR Midyear FlashPoll

 

Housing Market Sentiment Hits New Low: Only 14% Think It’s a Good Time to Buy

According to the latest data from the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index, shown below, a mere 14% of consumers currently believe it’s a good time to buy a home. This starkly contrasts with the increasing sentiment that it’s a bad time to buy, which has surged to nearly 80%. Over the past decade, the confidence in the housing market has drastically shifted, with a significant decline in the optimism seen in previous years. The reasons behind this sentiment could range from rising mortgage rates to economic uncertainties.

At MORE, REALTORS®St, we closely monitor market trends and data like the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index to provide our clients with the most up-to-date and relevant information. Our dedicated agents are well-versed in the local market dynamics and are committed to guiding and advising both seller and buyer clients. By analyzing this data, we help our clients make informed decisions, whether they are looking to buy their first home or sell their property for the best possible price. With our expertise, clients can feel confident they are making wise decisions in an ever-changing market.


Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index Chart

 

 

Discover the Hottest Real Estate Markets in St. Louis: The Fastest Selling Zip Codes Revealed!

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis metropolitan area? If so, you’ll want to pay attention to the latest real estate data. According to recent statistics, the top three fastest-selling ZIP codes in the region are 63134, 63114, and 63117, all in St. Louis County, MO. The top three ZIP codes span a diverse market and geographic area, with 63134 primarily made up of Berkeley in North St. Louis County, 63114 consisting of Overland and several smaller, mid-St. Louis County areas, and 63117 encompassing Richmond Heights in the 40 corridor area of St. Louis County.

For a full list of the fastest selling zip codes in the St. Louis metropolitan area, be sure to check out MORE, REALTORS®. With their expertise and knowledge of the local market, they can help you find the perfect home or sell your current one quickly. Don’t miss out on these hot real estate markets – contact MORE, REALTORS® today!

Federal Reserve Projections: What St. Louis Homebuyers and Sellers Need to Know

The latest Federal Reserve Economic Projections, released on June 12, 2024, provide valuable insights into the future economic landscape that will impact homebuyers and sellers in St. Louis. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) anticipates steady real GDP growth of around 2.0% from 2024 to 2026, which indicates a stable economic environment for making real estate investments. This projection is reassuring for those considering buying or selling homes, as economic stability often correlates with a steady housing market.

Interestingly, the unemployment rate is projected to hover around 4.1% during the same period, reflecting a healthy job market. For potential homebuyers, this suggests a favorable environment for securing employment and stable incomes, which are critical for obtaining mortgage approvals. On the other hand, sellers can expect a steady demand for housing driven by a robust job market.

Inflation rates are projected to ease, with core PCE inflation expected to decrease from 2.8% in 2024 to 2.0% by 2026. This trend is crucial for maintaining purchasing power and affordability in the housing market. Lower inflation rates can help keep mortgage rates in check, making homeownership more accessible for many families in St. Louis.

For a detailed breakdown of these projections and their implications for the St. Louis real estate market, please refer to the full report below.



 

Discover the Fastest Selling School Districts in St. Louis Metropolitan Area

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis metropolitan area? If so, you’ll want to pay attention to the fastest selling school districts in the region. According to recent data, the top three districts with the shortest time on the market are Wolf Branch DIST 113 in Unincorporated, IL, Winfield R-IV in Unincorporated, MO, and Windsor C-1 in Unincorporated, MO.

Wolf Branch DIST 113 takes the top spot with an average of only 11 days on the market for its two active listings. The district also boasts an average list price of $399,750, making it an attractive option for families looking to settle down. Coming in at a close second is Winfield R-IV, with an average of 14 days on the market for its three listings. And last but not least, Windsor C-1 rounds out the top three with an average of 19 days on the market for its eight listings. For a complete list of the fastest selling school districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area, be sure to check out MORE, REALTORS®. With this valuable information in hand, you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying or selling a home in this vibrant and bustling region.

How to Successfully Negotiate Below Asking Price in St. Louis’ Competitive Market

Navigating the competitive St. Louis real estate market, where inventory remains relatively low, requires strategic thinking and a well-crafted offer. While it’s possible to make an offer below the asking price, success hinges on several factors where the expertise of a seasoned professional agent, like those at MORE, REALTORS®, can be invaluable.

First, the amount of time a listing has been on the market is crucial. Properties that have lingered longer are often ripe for negotiation. A well-priced home will see significant activity, so an experienced agent can help you gauge the market response and determine a reasonable offer. Additionally, a property that has recently had its price reduced or has come back on the market after a failed contract may present prime opportunities for negotiation. Sellers in these situations may be more inclined to consider lower offers, especially when presented by a serious and well-prepared buyer.

Moreover, structuring your offer meticulously can make a significant difference. A strong offer isn’t just about the price; it includes having a solid, fully underwritten loan pre-approval, proof of funds, and carefully considered terms. Eliminating contingencies where possible, such as opting for an information-only inspection or perhaps no inspection at all (but not doing so blindly—a great agent can show you how to have the benefit of an inspection without the contingency), can also strengthen your position. Non-refundable deposits and other buyer commitments demonstrate seriousness and can sway sellers.

Where can you easily find listings where offers may be considered?

Trudging through thousands of listings looking for the “needle in the haystack” is time-consuming and frustrating for most buyers. However, there is a site, WillingToNegotiate.com, that simplifies finding these opportunities by showing only listings from the MLS that have had recent price reductions or have had a sale fail and are back on the market. These can be easily searched by the municipality or ZIP code they are in and then filtered even further. Utilizing these tools and working with skilled agents at MORE, REALTORS® can significantly increase your chances of securing a great deal in the St. Louis metro area.

Find Offer-Ready St Louis Listings Now!

Find Offer-Ready St Louis Listings Now! 

 

Why Exposing Your Home to the Market Yields the Best Financial Outcome

Selling a home is a significant financial decision, especially for older adults who often have a substantial portion of their assets tied up in their home’s equity. While the idea of a quick sale to an investor might seem appealing, it rarely maximizes the financial potential of your property. Here’s why exposing your home to the market is the best strategy for securing the highest possible price, even if selling “as-is.”

The Drawbacks of Selling to an Investor

  1. Lower Offers
    • Real estate investors typically seek properties they can buy at a discount, make necessary improvements, and then sell for a profit. As a result, their offers are often below market value. This approach might provide a quick sale, but it sacrifices significant potential profit. Caution – some investors plan on doing nothing to the home, find another buy to “flip it” to for a profit. The investors “profit” is money that you left on the table – money that could have been used for your care or your legacy.
  2. Missed Market Opportunities
    • By bypassing the open market, sellers miss out on the competitive bidding process that can drive up the price. Multiple buyers interested in your home can lead to bidding wars, ultimately raising the final sale price.

Advantages of Exposing Your Home to the Market

  1. Competitive Pricing
    • Listing your home on the open market allows you to receive offers from multiple buyers. This competition helps ensure you get the highest possible price, reflecting the true market value of your home.
  2. Broader Buyer Pool
    • Exposing your home to the market means it reaches a wider audience, including owner-occupant buyers who may be willing to pay more than investors. These buyers are often looking for a place to live and may have emotional attachments that drive them to make higher offers.
  3. Selling “As-Is” to Owner-Occupants
    • One common misconception is that only investors will buy homes “as-is.” In reality, many owner-occupant buyers are willing to purchase homes without requiring the seller to make repairs. These buyers might be looking for a fixer-upper they can customize to their liking, or they might be priced out of move-in-ready homes in their desired neighborhoods.
  4. Emotional Value
    • Owner-occupants are often more emotionally invested in the purchase. They might fall in love with the neighborhood, the home’s unique character, or its potential, leading them to offer more than an investor who is focused purely on profit margins.

Considerations for Older Adults

  1. Equity Protection
    • For many older adults, their home represents a significant portion of their net worth. Protecting and maximizing this equity is crucial for financial stability, especially during retirement. Selling on the open market typically ensures they receive the full value of their property, which is vital for funding future living arrangements, such as moving to an independent living or assisted living community or a senior apartment.
  2. Quick Sales Are Still Possible
    • Listing on the market doesn’t necessarily mean a lengthy sales process. Homes can still sell quickly, especially in a competitive market. Setting a fair price, making minor aesthetic improvements, and marketing effectively can attract serious buyers promptly.
  3. Avoiding Elder Scams
    1. Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams and unfair offers. By working with a reputable experienced real estate agent and exposing the home to the market, seniors can avoid lowball offers and ensure they are getting fair market value. Try finding a Certified Senior Housing Professional™, Certified Downsizing Coach™, or Certified Senior Advisor
  4. Family Involvement
    • Selling through traditional means allows for more transparency and involvement from family members, ensuring that decisions are made in the best interest of the senior’s financial and emotional well-being.

Practical Steps for Selling on the Market

  1. Hire a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent
    • An experienced agent can provide invaluable guidance through the process, from setting a competitive price to marketing the home effectively. They understand the nuances of the local market and can navigate the complexities of selling “as-is.” They often go by Certified Senior Housing Professional™, Certified Downsizing Coach™.
  2. Market the Home Effectively
    • Professional photos, virtual tours, and open houses can attract a wide range of potential buyers. Highlighting the home’s strengths and potential can make it appealing even without extensive repairs.
  3. Set a Competitive Price
    • Pricing the home accurately is critical. A price that reflects the home’s condition while remaining competitive will attract serious buyers quickly, leading to faster offers and potentially higher final sales prices.
  4. Consider Minor Upgrades
    • While major repairs may not be feasible, minor improvements like fresh paint, landscaping, and thorough cleaning can significantly enhance the home’s appeal without substantial investment.

Conclusion

Selling a home, especially for older adults, should focus on maximizing the financial return to protect and capitalize on the home’s equity. Exposing the home to the open market rather than selling to an investor ensures a broader audience, competitive pricing, and potentially higher offers. There are times (few and far between) when selling to an investor makes sense. In those rare moments, hire an experienced real estate agent who can determine the true market value of the home in its current condition and then shop the home with multiple investors. This investor feeding frenzy often drives up what these cash buyers are willing to pay. I’ve been able to negotiate up to $90,000 more than the investor originally offered, “simply” by knowing the home’s true value and negotiating in the best interest of my client. Yes, I earned a commission, but the Seller is now even more comfortable in their retirement. By working with a knowledgeable real estate agent, you too can look forward an even more secure financial future.


 

The Challenges and Market Impact on Brentwood Forest Condos

Brentwood Forest Condominiums, one of St. Louis’ largest condo communities, is currently grappling with significant structural repair issues that have cast a shadow over the market’s viability. Following the revelation of maintenance problems, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) temporarily withdrew its loan approval for the development. This decision has significantly impacted both the homeowners and prospective buyers. In a recent article in the St. Louis Business Journal, it was stated that in response to this, the Brentwood Forest Condominium Association (BFCA) was “working diligently to address reported mortgage lending issues.”

The structural issues and subsequent lending restrictions have had a notable impact on property values and sales within Brentwood Forest. According to the STL Market Charts below, available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®, the median price of condominiums sold in Brentwood Forest increased from $160,000 in 2019 to $220,000 in 2023. However, in light of the recent developments, Brentwood Forest condo prices  have declined nearly 13% to $192,000 thus far in 2024. The 12-month sales trend, as the chart below illustrates, shows that during the past 5 years, condo sales peaked at 123 units sold in the 12-month period ending January 31, 2022, and have since steadily declined 50% to just 62 units sold during the 12-month period ending May 31, 2024. This decline is largely attributed to the hesitancy of lenders to approve mortgages for properties within the community, making it difficult for sellers to find buyers who are not cash purchasers or those utilizing portfolio loans.

The situation at Brentwood Forest reflects a broader trend affecting condominium communities across the nation. The increased scrutiny on long-term maintenance and structural integrity of condo buildings, spurred by incidents such as the 2021 Surfside, Florida collapse, has led to stricter lending criteria. Condominiums deemed “non-warrantable” by entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac face similar challenges, with sales slowing and prices becoming volatile as a result. The case of Brentwood Forest underscores the importance of proactive maintenance and transparent governance in condo associations to maintain market confidence and ensure the financial stability of their communities.

This is why it’s important, when considering purchasing a condominium, that you be represented by a buyer’s agent with extensive knowledge and experience in condominium sales and challenges, as well as a good understanding of the current situations at area complexes so you are aware of issues like those at Brentwood Forest. You can find agents like this at MORE, REALTORS®.


Brentwood Forest Condominiums Sold Prices and List Prices – Past 5 Years

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Brentwood Forest Condominiums Sold Prices and List Prices - Past 5 Years

Brentwood Forest Condominiums 12-Month Sales Trend – Past 5 Years

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Brentwood Forest Condominiums 12-Month Sales Trend - Past 5 Years

Maximizing Home Sale Value for Seniors: A Comprehensive Guide

Selling a home, especially for seniors, can be an emotional and complex process. Whether the decision stems from downsizing, moving to an assisted living community, or addressing economic security concerns, ensuring the home sells for its maximum value is crucial. Here’s how to achieve that, regardless of the home’s condition, without resorting to real estate investors who more often than not offer the best price.

Understanding the Motivation

Firstly, it’s essential to recognize why the sale is happening. Common reasons include:

  • Downsizing for seniors to a more manageable living space.
  • Transitioning to a senior apartment or assisted living community.
  • Financial necessities, where economic security for seniors becomes a priority.
  • Preparing for end of life scenarios and ensuring proper estate and financial planning.

Understanding the motivation helps tailor the selling strategy to meet specific needs and goals.

Essential Steps to Maximize Value

  1. Home Repair and Maintenance
    • Minor Repairs: Focus on inexpensive but impactful fixes such as repairing leaky faucets, patching holes, and repainting walls. These improvements can significantly boost the home’s appeal.
    • Major Repairs: If the home has more significant issues like a damaged roof or outdated electrical systems, consider whether these repairs are financially feasible. Sometimes, the increased sale price can justify the investment.
  2. Declutter and Depersonalize
    • Remove personal items and excess clutter to make the home appear more spacious and allow potential buyers to envision themselves living there. This is especially important in the context of downsizing for seniors, where a lifetime of accumulated belongings can overwhelm the space.
  3. Professional Staging
    • Staging a home can increase its perceived value. Professional stagers know how to highlight a home’s strengths and downplay its weaknesses, making it more attractive to buyers.
  4. Enhanced Curb Appeal
    • First impressions matter. Simple landscaping, fresh paint on the front door, and clean walkways can make a big difference.
  5. Accurate Pricing
    • Setting the right price is crucial. Overpricing can lead to the home sitting unsold, while underpricing leaves money on the table. An experienced real estate agent specializing in senior moves can provide a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine a competitive price.

Senior-Specific Considerations

  1. Elder Abuse and Scams
    • Unfortunately, seniors are often targets for scams. Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true or pressure to sell quickly. Consulting a trusted senior advocate or involving family members in the process can provide an extra layer of protection.
  2. Family Communication
    • Transparent and open communication with family members is vital. Involve them in the decision-making process to ensure that everyone’s concerns and wishes are addressed. This is especially important if the sale is part of end of life planning or to ensure economic security for seniors.
  3. Aging in Place
    • For seniors who prefer to age in place rather than move to a senior living community or senior apartment community, the focus might be on making the home more livable rather than selling. However, if selling is the chosen route, emphasize the home’s potential for other seniors looking to age in place. We’re talking grab bars, walk in showers, better lighting, non slip flooring, and a main floor laundry.
  4. Estate and Financial Planning
    • Ensure that all financial and legal aspects are in order. This includes updating wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Consulting with a financial planner or estate attorney can ensure that the proceeds from the home sale are managed effectively to support future needs.

Marketing Strategies

  1. Professional Photography and Virtual Tours
    • High-quality photos and virtual tours can attract more buyers, especially those who may be relocating from other areas. Highlight the home’s best features and any recent upgrades or repairs.
  2. Targeted Advertising
    • Focus on marketing strategies that reach the right audience. For example, advertising in publications and websites frequented by seniors or their families can attract buyers who appreciate the value of a well-maintained home suitable for aging in place.
  3. Highlight Senior-Friendly Features
    • If the home has features that are particularly beneficial for seniors, such as a single-story layout, grab bars, or a walk-in shower, make sure these are highlighted in all marketing materials.
  4. Open Houses
    • Hosting open houses can create a sense of urgency and competition among buyers. Ensure the home is in top condition and consider offering light refreshments to make visitors feel welcome.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
Working with a real estate agent experienced in senior transitions can make a significant difference. They understand the unique needs and concerns of senior sellers and can provide valuable guidance throughout the process. Ensure the agent is knowledgeable about elder abuse prevention, can spot potential scams, and is sensitive to the emotional aspects of selling a longtime home. When interviewing agents, ask them for examples of the resources they have in place to provide a turnkey solution. Some of the best prepared real estate professionals have designations like Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist™ (CHSP), Certified Downsizing Coach (CDC)™ and Certified Senior Advisor®(CSA). CSA’s are background checked every 3 years.

Conclusion
Selling a home, regardless of its condition, requires careful planning and strategic execution, especially for seniors. By addressing necessary repairs, staging effectively, pricing correctly, and marketing to the right audience, seniors can maximize their home’s sale value. Ensuring family communication, protecting against scams, and integrating estate and financial planning are essential to achieving a successful and beneficial sale. Remember, the goal is not just to sell the home but to do so in a way that best supports the senior’s next life stage.

Affordable Homeownership: How House Hacking Helps First-Time Buyers in St. Louis

House hacking is becoming an increasingly popular strategy among younger and first-time homebuyers in many parts of the country, including the St. Louis Metro Area. What is house hacking? Essentially, it involves purchasing a multi-unit property or a single-family home with rentable spaces, offering the new homeowner the opportunity to offset their mortgage payments with rental income. This approach not only reduces living expenses but also helps build equity faster and generate additional income streams.

House hacking offers numerous benefits, particularly in a market like St. Louis where property values are competitive and rental demand is strong. For first-time homebuyers, it provides an opportunity to enter the real estate market with lower financial risks. Investors can also leverage this strategy to diversify their portfolios and maximize returns. By renting out portions of their property, homeowners can enjoy the dual advantage of having a place to live while their tenants help pay down their mortgage.

If you’re considering house hacking or need expert advice on navigating the St. Louis real estate market, the experienced agents at MORE, REALTORS® are here to help. With a deep understanding of the local market trends and a commitment to client success, they can guide you through every step of the home buying process.


May 2024 Housing Market: Homeowners Locked in by Low Mortgage Rates

The Freddie Mac U.S. Economic Housing and Mortgage Market Outlook for May 2024 reveals significant insights into how mortgage interest rates are impacting the housing market, particularly across different generations. With the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage recently surpassing 7%, many prospective homebuyers find themselves priced out of the market. At the same time, current homeowners are hesitant to sell, clinging to historically low rates secured in 2020 and 2021. According to Freddie Mac’s chart below, over 60% of mortgages have rates below 4%, creating a substantial financial disincentive for homeowners to move, effectively locking them into their current homes. Homeowners who secured these low rates have, on average, locked in $66,000 in savings, which they would forfeit if they sold their homes in the current high-rate environment.

Analyzing the borrower-level National Mortgage Database, it becomes clear that Millennials and Gen Xers have benefited most from the low-rate environment, with average rates around 4%. Millennials, who entered the market en masse during the low-rate period of 2020-2021, secured favorable rates primarily through purchases, while Gen Xers capitalized on refinancing opportunities. In contrast, Gen Z, stepping into the market more recently, faces the highest average rates at 4.9%, with many having purchased homes during the higher rate periods of 2022 and 2023. This generational disparity in mortgage rates suggests that while refinance opportunities remain slim, should rates decline, there could be significant refinancing activity, especially among Gen Xers and Millennials.


 

Percentage of Homeowners with Mortgages at Various Rate Levels

Percentage of Homeowners with Mortgages at Various Rate Levels

Discover the Hottest Zip Codes in St. Louis Metro Area for Home Buyers and Sellers

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis metropolitan area? Look no further! According to recent data, the fastest selling zip code in the area is 62084 in Madison-IL, IL. With an average of only 3 days on the market, homes in this zip code are in high demand. And with an average list price of $187,375, sellers can expect to get top dollar for their properties.

But that’s not all. The second and third fastest selling districts in the St. Louis metro area are also located in Madison-IL, IL and St Clair-IL, IL, respectively. These areas have an average of 6 and 12 days on the market, making them hot spots for both buyers and sellers. So, whether you’re a family looking for a new home or an investor searching for a lucrative opportunity, these zip codes are worth considering.

To see the complete list of the fastest selling zip codes in the St. Louis metro area, be sure to check out MORE, REALTORS®. With their expertise and knowledge of the local market, they can help you find the perfect home or sell your property quickly and efficiently. Don’t miss out on these hot zip codes – start your search with MORE, REALTORS® today!

Discover the Top 3 Fastest Selling School Districts in St. Louis!

Attention all home buyers and sellers in the St. Louis metropolitan area! Are you looking for a quick and seamless real estate experience? Look no further than the top three fastest selling school districts in the region. According to recent data, Freeburg DIST 70 in Illinois takes the top spot with an impressive average of only 12 days on the market for its two active listings, with an average list price of $344,000. Coming in at a close second is Windsor C-1 in Unincorporated, MO, with six listings and an average of just 15 days on the market. And rounding out the top three is Dupo DIST 196 in Illinois, with five listings and an average of 18 days on the market.

For those looking to buy or sell a home in these areas, this is great news. The fast pace of these school districts means that homes are in high demand and are selling at a quick rate. And for families, this is a great opportunity to find a home in a top-performing school district. For a complete list of the fastest selling school districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area, be sure to check out MORE, REALTORS®. Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of these thriving communities. Start your home search or listing process today!

St. Louis Real Estate Set for a Comeback: Insights from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS

In his forecast yesterday at the 2024 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun delivered a promising outlook for the real estate market with expectations for rising existing-home sales. According to Yun, the U.S. is likely to see existing-home sales increase to 4.46 million in 2024, a 9% rise from 2023, and surge to 5.05 million in 2025. Yun highlighted, “More jobs mean more home sales and higher housing demand. You need a strong local economy for a strong housing market.”

Additionally, Yun noted a significant calming in rental markets, which will help stabilize the consumer price index, encouraging the Federal Reserve to consider lowering interest rates. He remarked, “The Federal Reserve has delayed rate cuts. I would have thought that, by now, rates would be lower and rate cuts would have begun. Whatever rate cut the Federal Reserve does not do this year will simply get pushed back to 2025.”

For individuals looking to navigate the St. Louis real estate market, the expertise of MORE, REALTORS® can prove invaluable. Our agents are equipped with the latest insights and are prepared to guide clients through the intricacies of buying or selling homes in today’s economic landscape. As Yun emphasized, the strong economic fundamentals support a vibrant housing market, underscoring real estate as a prudent investment for building personal wealth.


St Louis Metro-Area Home Sales and 12-Month Trend – Past 15 Years

(click on report for live report)

St Louis Metro Area Home Sales and 12-Month Trend Past 15 years

Lease Options: An Innovative Path to Home Ownership

In today’s real estate market, characterized by low inventory and somewhat high interest rates, the idea of buying a home can be daunting for some, especially those who are undecided about their long-term plans. Lease options present a compelling solution, offering flexibility and a strategic stepping stone toward owning a home. This approach is ideal for individuals who are still considering their options in terms of location, saving for a substantial down payment, or waiting for potentially lower interest rates.

A lease option allows tenants to live in a property with the option to purchase it at the end of the lease term at a previously agreed-upon price. This setup is especially beneficial for those who may want to test out a neighborhood before fully committing or for those looking to amass more savings before securing a mortgage.

MORE, REALTORS offers a program that empowers tenants to shop like home buyers from the start, enhancing their flexibility and control over the home-buying process. Designed as a proactive choice, this program enables tenants to make more informed decisions about their future home. It provides an excellent opportunity to transition smoothly from renting to owning, aligning with their financial planning and readiness to commit to homeownership. Find out more at StLouisLeaseOption.com.


 

Missouri Homeowners Insurance Holds Steady Amid National Crisis Concerns

The St. Louis Business Journal today published an article with the headline “A hidden cost of homeownership is mounting — and approaching crisis levels”. The article began with “homeowners across the country are facing an insurance crisis — and it’s driving up housing costs”, and then quoted a study indicating that 72% of U.S. homeowners said the cost of their homeowners insurance had increased over the past year. Well, sometimes it’s better to not have ocean views, mountains, and the like, and to be situated in the middle of the country like we are here in St. Louis—and this would be one of those occasions.

Homeowners Insurance Not Projected to Increase in Cost in 2024:

According to a study by Insurify, home insurance rates are expected to rise by 6% this year after a 20% increase over the last two years. However, the study indicates that in Missouri, the average cost of homeowners insurance in 2023 was $2,706 and for 2024 it’s projected to be $2,697. So, no increase in Missouri and actually a few bucks in savings.

Within Missouri, the cost of insurance varies by location. Here are a few examples of the average monthly quote for homeowners insurance for several cities within Missouri:

  • Florissant – $206
  • St. Charles – $186
  • St. Joseph – $213
  • St. Louis City – $232
  • Springfield – $224

There are many factors that come into play regarding the cost of insurance beyond the location, such as the home’s replacement cost. This figure represents the cost to rebuild your home using similar materials and is influenced by several factors, including the age of your home, its square footage, architectural style, and the local rebuilding costs in your area. Coverage options also play a vital role. Homeowners who opt for additional coverages, such as protection for sewer lines, natural disasters, and high-value possessions, will generally see an increase in their insurance rates.

This is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable insurance agent and preferably one with access to coverage from many different companies to help you select the right company and coverage for your situation. A good place to start is STLBestInsuranceAgent.com, where you can find many helpful short videos about homeowners insurance, particularly from the standpoint of a homebuyer.


Most Expensive States for Home Insurance in 2024

Most Expensive States for Home Insurance in 2024

Steady Increase in Commercial Real Estate Foreclosures Over the Past Year

Based on the data from the recent ATTOM report on U.S. commercial foreclosures, there is a noticeable trend that highlights the challenges and changes in the commercial real estate market over the past decade. The report indicates a significant increase in commercial foreclosures, rising to 625 in March 2024 from a low of 141 in May 2020—a time characterized by pandemic-induced economic shocks and responsive fiscal interventions. This sharp rise represents a 117% year-over-year increase and underscores a broader economic narrative where, despite short-term stabilizations, long-term market corrections have been a constant presence.

States like California, New York, and Florida have borne the brunt of these fluctuations. For instance, California experienced a dramatic 405% increase from last year, showcasing how regional factors and state-specific economic conditions have influenced foreclosure rates. This analysis not only offers insights into the challenges faced by the commercial real estate market but also highlights the sector’s resilience and capacity to navigate through a continuum of economic cycles.

The recent spike in commercial foreclosures has raised questions about the interconnectedness of the commercial and residential real estate markets. Historically, these two sectors have shown some level of correlation, as economic factors affecting businesses often spill over into the residential sphere. For instance, a downturn in commercial real estate can lead to job losses and reduced consumer spending, which in turn can soften the residential market. However, the current trends suggest a more complex relationship, with the residential market remaining relatively stable despite significant upheavals in commercial real estate.  In the coming months we’ll see if that trend continues.

US Commerical Foreclosures 2014 – 2024 (Chart)

US Commerical Foreclosures 2014 - 2024 (Chart)

Slowest Selling Zip Codes in the St. Louis Metro Area

The St. Louis Metro area (MSA), which spans parts of Missouri and Illinois, has a diverse real estate market with some zip codes seeing properties sell slower than others in spite of the low-inventory market we are in. Based upon the report below, available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®, the slowest selling zip code in the St Louis metro area is 63131 in St Louis County, Missouri where the current average days on market for active listings is a whopping 201 days. Next is 62249 in Madison County Illinois with an average of  152 days on the market.Notably, 8 of the top 10 slowest-selling zips are located in Missouri and 4 of those within the city of St Louis.

 

Slowest Selling Zip Codes in St Louis

(click on table for complete list with current data)

Slowest Selling Zip Codes in St Louis

Will the NAR Commission Lawsuit Settlement Change Real Estate Practices in St. Louis?

Since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the plaintiffs in the following lawsuits—Christopher Moehrl v. The National Association of Realtors et al., Rhonda Burnett (originally Sitzer) v. The National Association of Realtors et al., Dawin Niel Umpa v. The National Association of Realtors, et al., and Don Gibson v. The National Association of Realtors—reached a settlement agreement on March 15, 2024, which is still pending court approval and thus preliminary at this point, the topic has dominated industry conversations. The focus of these lawsuits on buyer’s agent commissions has attracted more media attention since mid-March than it seems to have received in the over 40 years I’ve been in the business before that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all this attention is bad. In fact, I believe it is beneficial. I’ve long advocated for educating consumers, feeling that the more home buyers and sellers know, the better decisions they can make. This is why I’m rapidly approaching the milestone of 3,000 articles on the topic of real estate in St. Louis on this site.

Now, I don’t do this solely for altruistic reasons; sharing the information and knowledge I’ve gained either through experience or research is also self-serving. As a broker-owner of MORE, REALTORS®, I’ve put forth just as much effort in sharing knowledge with our agents, and I am blessed to be surrounded by real estate professionals who are as eager as I am to increase their knowledge and hone their skills to better serve clients. Here’s the reward for me: informed and knowledgeable consumers seek out better and more professional agents, like the ones we’re in business with, creating a win-win situation.
Having said all that, while the attention from the media is beneficial, unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information out there and assertions being made that don’t seem to be based on facts, but rather on opinion. Oh yes, I have opinions too, plenty of them, many of which are shared on this site, but to the extent possible, I try to base them on facts and include the sources of my opinions.


Supreme Court Affirms Property Rights in SHEETZ v. COUNTY OF EL DORADO

The Supreme Court has rendered a unanimous decision in the landmark case SHEETZ v. COUNTY OF EL DORADO, involving petitioner George Sheetz and the imposition of a traffic impact fee by El Dorado County, California. The key points of the decision are as follows:

Background: George Sheetz was mandated to pay a $23,420 traffic impact fee as a condition for obtaining a residential building permit, which he contested as an unlawful exaction under the Takings Clause.

Court’s Decision: The Supreme Court, in an opinion delivered by Justice Barrett, vacated the ruling of the California Court of Appeal. The decision clarified that the Takings Clause does not differentiate between legislative and administrative land-use permit conditions, reinforcing property rights protections against arbitrary government exactions.

Legal Principles Invoked: The Court applied the tests from Nollan v. California Coastal Comm’n and Dolan v. City of Tigard, emphasizing that permit conditions must both have an “essential nexus” to the government’s land-use interest and be “roughly proportional” to the impacts of the proposed development.

Impact and Precedent: The ruling underscores the necessity for governmental authorities, whether legislative or administrative, to adhere strictly to constitutional principles when imposing conditions on building permits. This decision is a significant affirmation of property rights, setting a precedent that both legislative and administrative exactions are subject to the same constitutional scrutiny.

This decision marks a critical juncture in property law, reaffirming the Supreme Court’s commitment to protecting individual property rights against overreach by local governments.


Supreme Court Decision: SHEETZ v. COUNTY OF EL DORADO

(Click below to view the entire decision)

Supreme Court Decision: SHEETZ v. COUNTY OF EL DORADO

Refinance Activity Surges Despite Rising Mortgage Rates – Purchase Applications Fall

Last week, the interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed past the 7 percent mark. Despite this increase, as the chart below illustrates, there was a significant 10 percent increase in refinancing applications. This is in sharp contrast to a 5 percent decline in purchase applications. The growth in the refinancing segment is notable, representing 33.3 percent of the total application volume, up from 30.3 percent the previous week. This surge in refinancing interest is particularly intriguing, given the highest reported 30-year mortgage rates in over a month, at 7.01 percent.

Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist, attributed the rising rates to the Federal Reserve’s cautious stance on adjusting policy amidst persistent inflation and resilient economic indicators, including strong employment data. Despite the unfavorable rate environment, the demand for refinancing, especially VA refinancing, remained robust.

Other notable trends include a decrease in average loan sizes, with purchase loan sizes—often viewed as a proxy for home prices—dropping to $449,400 from $453,000. Additionally, there was a shift in the composition of mortgage applications, with increases in FHA and VA loan shares.

So, what explains the rising number of homeowners refinancing their mortgages even with rising mortgage interest rates? There are numerous reports indicating that many homeowners across the country are becoming cash-strapped and having a difficult time paying bills, thus resorting to pulling out equity from their homes, even if it means accepting a higher interest rate. I’ve also observed reports indicating that consumer credit card debt is at historically high levels, with interest rates on this debt being astronomical. This situation is prompting people to refinance their home loans again, even at higher rates, because even though their mortgage may be at a higher rate, it still appears to be a bargain compared to the 27 or 28% on a credit card. I haven’t seen enough verifiable data to confirm if either of these situations is true, but both are plausible.


Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed Mortgage Chart

(click on image for live, interactive chart)

Refinance Index vs 30 Yr Fixed Mortgage ChartHous

Interest Rate Insights: Traci Everman Unveils the Latest Shifts

The ebb and flow of St. Louis’s real estate market are linked to the broader economic currents, and recent weeks have witnessed a significant uptick in mortgage interest rates.  In the video below, Traci Everman, Senior Mortgage Banker with Flat Branch Home Loans, does a fantastic job of explaining what is happening and why.  Below the video are some highlights and a recap.


Here are are few highlights of what Traci’s covers in the video:

Recent Economic Impacts on Mortgage Rates:

  • Economic reports released over the past day have precipitated a downturn in the bond market and a subsequent rise in interest rates. This movement stems from inflationary pressures, which erode the value of long-term investments like mortgage-backed securities.

Analyzing PCE Inflation and Jobs Reports:

  • Key economic indicators such as the PCE report, which reflects inflation sans food and energy costs, revealed a 0.3% increase, signaling a direction contrary to the market’s desires. Furthermore, the employment data, despite being a bearer of good tidings on job creations, did not spell out positive news for the bond market.

Current State of Mortgage-Backed Securities:

  • Currently, the mortgage-backed securities market is taking a hit, down 88 basis points, leading to a predicted quarter percent increase in interest rates between yesterday and today. This fluctuation reminds us of the volatility that peaked in October 2023.

How Recent Trends May Affect Future Rates:

  • The Federal Reserve’s stance and upcoming meetings are pivotal. While rate cuts were anticipated, the outcome was status quo, leaving predictions for future rate cuts in 2024 uncertain. Inflation, driven by rising oil prices and other factors such as soaring auto insurance premiums, continues to play a crucial role.

Conclusion: Staying Informed on Market Changes:
As Traci Everman sums up the market update, it’s clear that keeping a close eye on inflation and Fed decisions is crucial for anyone involved in real estate. With potential rate cuts on the horizon, the coming quarters could be crucial for buyers and sellers in St. Louis.

For a more detailed dive into what this means for your home buying or selling decisions, stay connected with St. Louis Real Estate News.  Stay informed.

St. Louis Area Residential Real Estate Market Report For March 2024

The St. Louis MSA residential real estate market is experiencing a phase of transformation. While the sales volume has seen a downturn, median sale prices have held steady, indicating a resilient market underpinned by solid demand.  The complete STL Market Reports for the entire metro area as a whole, as well as the major counties, are available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS® and are below.

Key Findings:

  • Sales Volume Decline: The St. Louis MSA experienced a 9.30% decrease in the number of homes sold during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2024, compared to the previous year.
  • Median Sold Price Growth: Despite decreased sales, median sold prices rose by 2.40% from $248,000 to $253,950 during the same period.
  • Price Per Square Foot (PPSF):  The PPSF of current listings is 3.74% than the PPSF of homes that sold during the prior 12-months. This suggests an adjustment in the market with current listings being priced lower than what was sold in the past year.
  • Inventory and Supply:  There is currently a 1.07 months supply of homes for sale, indicating a tight inventory reflective of a seller’s market.
  • Median days on the market: The median time on the market of current listings is just 22 days, showing homes are selling relatively quickly.

County Highlights:

  • St. Louis City and St Louis County:
    • A decrease of -5.14% in homes sold year-over-year.
    • A reduction in median sold price by -1.21%.
    • A significant drop in PPSF for current listings by -15.93% compared to the last 12 months.
  • St. Charles County:
    • The number of homes sold dropped by -14.64%.
    • Median sold prices increased by 5.97%.
    • PPSF for current listings increased by 12.61%, signaling strong market growth.
  • Franklin County:
    • A decrease of -9.72% in homes sold year-over-year.
    • Median sold prices increased by 9.09%.
    • PPSF for current listings rose by 8.86%.
  • Jefferson County:
    • The number of homes sold decreased by -16.63%.
    • An increase in median sold prices by 4.02%.
    • A substantial increase in PPSF for current listings by 12.63%.

Market Implications:

The St. Louis MSA real estate market is currently defined by a decrease in the number of homes sold but a general uptrend in prices. The PPSF analysis reveals a market correction, yet the trend suggests prices might increase shortly.

  • For Sellers: The current market presents an opportunity due to low inventory levels and a consequent seller’s market, indicated by the low months’ supply.
  • For Buyers:  The decreased competition and market adjustment could benefit buyers, yet they should be mindful of the resilient pricing trends.

The real estate landscape in the St. Louis metro requires careful navigation, with sellers possibly leveraging the low supply and buyers staying cautious of the potential for increasing prices. Stay informed with St. Louis Real Estate News for ongoing analysis and insights into local market trends.

Continue reading “St. Louis Area Residential Real Estate Market Report For March 2024

Will MLS Access Be Untethered from REALTOR Membership?

In the wake of recent legal developments, including a proposed settlement by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in March addressing buyer agent commissions, the real estate industry finds itself at another critical juncture. This time, attention turns to a lawsuit spotlighted in my article from a week ago, “New Lawsuit Against NAR Spotlights Tying of MLS Access to Realtor Membership in Ongoing Commission Debate“, which challenges the longstanding practice of tying MLS access to Realtor association membership. Unlike the NAR settlement that focused on commission structures, this new legal action delves into the exclusivity of market information access, a matter that has long spurred debate and litigation.

A Recurring Theme in Real Estate Litigation

The intertwining of Realtor association membership and MLS access has been a contentious issue, sparking several lawsuits over the years. This relationship, critics argue, creates barriers to competition and innovation in the real estate market.

Significant Legal Precedents

A pivotal moment in this ongoing discourse was the “Thompson v. Metropolitan Multi-List, Inc. Lawsuit,” where the 11th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991 ruled against restricting MLS access to Realtor members in Georgia. This case set a significant precedent, affirming that such practices could violate federal antitrust laws if the MLS wielded “market power” in the relevant geographic market.

Further complicating the landscape, California courts in the late 1970s found similar restrictions in violation of state antitrust statutes, thereby requiring Realtor associations in the state to open their MLS to non-members.

Looking Ahead

As the real estate industry continues to evolve, the relationship between REALTOR® associations and MLS access remains a focal point for legal scrutiny and industry reform. The implications of these legal battles extend beyond the courtroom, potentially shaping the future of real estate transactions, market competition, and consumer choice.

While the NAR settlement and recent lawsuits highlight different facets of the industry’s challenges, they collectively underscore a broader call for transparency, fairness, and innovation in real estate practices.

Conclusion

The dialogue surrounding MLS access and REALTOR® association membership is far from concluded. As legal actions continue to unfold, stakeholders across the real estate spectrum must remain vigilant and adaptable to the changing regulatory and business environment.  At MORE, REALTORS®, we’re keenly aware of these potential shifts and are proactively strategizing to ensure our agents are well-positioned to navigate any changes that may arise. Our focus remains steadfast on providing exceptional service to our clients, irrespective of the evolving industry dynamics. As always, we’re committed to transparency, adaptability, and unwavering professionalism.

 

DOJ Delivers Regulatory Blow to NAR: Court Reopens Antitrust Investigation

In a significant turn of events that has captured the attention of homebuyers, homesellers, and real estate professionals nationwide, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has delivered a landmark judgment that underscores the intricate balance between regulatory oversight and the operational freedoms of real estate associations. This case, National Association of Realtors (NAR) versus United States of America, et al., centers on the alleged anticompetitive practices within the real estate industry, specifically scrutinizing the policies implemented by NAR.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), through its Antitrust Division, initiated an investigation into NAR’s policies, which culminated in a settlement in November 2020. This settlement aimed to address four out of six policies identified by the DOJ as potentially anticompetitive. Crucially, it also included the issuance of a closing letter by the DOJ, indicating the closure of its investigation into two key NAR policies: the “Clear Cooperation Policy” and the “Participation Rule.” These policies relate to the operation of multiple-listing services (MLSs) and the commission structure within real estate transactions, respectively.

However, in a dramatic shift, the DOJ reopened its investigation into these policies in July 2021, leading to a legal challenge by NAR. NAR argued that the DOJ’s action breached the settlement agreement, which, in their view, included an implicit assurance against reopening the investigation into the specified policies.

The Appeals Court, in its decision, highlighted the legal nuances of the settlement agreement and the scope of the DOJ’s commitments. The court concluded that the settlement did not preclude the DOJ from reopening its investigation. This decision not only emphasizes the DOJ’s ongoing authority to regulate and scrutinize industry practices for anticompetitive behavior but also signals to real estate professionals the importance of adaptive compliance with evolving regulatory landscapes.

This ruling carries profound implications for the real estate industry, reinforcing the principle that regulatory oversight is a dynamic process, subject to revision and reassessment in light of new information or changing circumstances. For homebuyers and homesellers, the decision underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring fair and competitive practices within the real estate market, aiming to protect consumer interests and promote market transparency.


 

United States Court of Appeals Judgement –  NAR vs United States of America

(click on image below to access entire judgment) 

United States Court of Appeals Judgement -  NAR vs United States of America