St Louis Home Sales – No end in sight?

I think just about everyone that is trying to buy or sell a home in St Louis or even thinking about it, is well aware that we have been in a strong real estate market here in St Louis for some time now.  The St Louis real estate market has favored sellers for the past several years largely due to a low supply of homes for sale and continuing demand by home buyers.  The question I’m often asked though, especially right now with so much going on in our country right now that could impact the economy (COVID-19 and the Presidential election are the two biggies)  is “will the strong home sale in St Louis continue?”.  

To answer the question, being the Chief Data Nerd at MORE, REALTORS, I naturally turned to the proprietary software we have developed to help our agents answer questions like this for their clients.  Based upon the data I’m sharing below, I would say the short answer to the question is that St Louis home sales appear to be poised to continue at a historically strong rate, at least for the near future. Now for the caveats, of which there are two big ones: the first is that this is contingent upon listing inventory as if there is nothing to buy it doesn’t matter how many buyers you have, and the second is absent something dramatic happening to the economy to really rock the boat.  For the former question, I’ll address that in the next day or so with an article in which I’ll look at the listing inventory trend for St Louis.

Leading Indicators…

Looking at how many sales closed is helpful to see how the market is doing, but it’s much more advantageous and accurate to look at the current activity in the market, the leading indicators if you will, which are new contracts written on listings. Our exclusive Leading Indicators reports below show that all 5 counties in the St Louis Core market saw an increase in the number of new contracts written in the past week from the same week a year ago, in fact, overall a 21% increase.  The second report below shows the same data versus the prior week and it shows an overall decrease of 10% in the number of new contracts from the week before with 3 of the five counties showing a decrease, but given that we are headed toward winter and the holidays this is normal.  Finally, the chart at the bottom, another exclusive feature of MORE, REALTORS, which illustrates the prior 12-month home sales for each month in the past 5 years, clearly indicates an upward trend.  For the 12-month period ending November 30 (which isn’t even over yet), there have been 28,153 homes sold, an increase of nearly 5% from a year ago.

St Louis Home Sales Trending Downward Last 12-Months- Not So In St Charles and Jefferson County

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the St Louis real estate market, particularly during the late winter/early spring months as well as a low-inventory market already, it should not come as a surprise that St Louis area home sales have trended downward somewhat during the past 12-months.  As our STL Market Report below shows, for the 5-county core St Louis real estate market, there were 26,723 homes sold during the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020, a decline of 0.88% from the prior 12-month period when there were 26,960 homes sold.  That very modest decline I think is actually very encouraging given what the market has been through with COVID-19.

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales 



St Charles County and Jefferson County are the exceptions…

While the overall 5-county market was down, individually, the counties of St Charles and Jefferson have both fared better and, in fact, had modest increases in home sales during this period.  As the tables below show, there were 5,878 homes sold in St Charles county during the past 12-months, an increase of 1.08% from the prior 12 months.  In Jefferson County, there were 3,406 homes sold during the past 12-months, an increase of 0.53% from the prior 12-months.

St Charles County Home Sales

St Charles County Home Sales

Jefferson County Home SalesJefferson County Home Sales

 

Two Mid-town St Louis City Zip Codes Have Highest Percentage of Equity-Rich Homeowners

During the second quarter of 2020, 32.3% of the homeowners with a mortgage within the 63110 zip-code, were equity-rich on their mortgage, meaning their mortgage balances were less than 50% of the value of their homes, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the zip codes of 63112 and 63143 were not far behind 63110, with equity-rich percentages of 31.6% and 30.0% respectively.

St Louis Equity-Rich Homeowners

(Click on table for the complete list)

St Louis Equity-Rich Homeowners

Over 40 Percent Of Homeowners With Mortgage In 3 North St Louis Zip Codes Are Underwater

During the second quarter of 2020, 45.5% of the homeowners with a mortgage within the 63115 zip code, were underwater on their mortgage, meaning they were in a negative-equity position, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the north county zip codes of 63137 and 63136 were not far behind at 45.1% and 41.3%, respectively.  Of the 10 St Louis-area zip codes with the highest rate of underwater homeowners, 7 were in St Louis County and 3 in the City of St Louis.

St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners By Zip Code – Top 10 HighestSt Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners By Zip Code - Top 10 Highest

(Click on table for live, complete list)

 

Percentage of Underwater Homeowners In St Louis Drops To Lowest Level in Over 7 Years

During the second quarter of 2020, 9.8% of the homeowners in St Louis with a mortgage, were underwater on their mortgage, meaning they were in a negative-equity position, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, this is the lowest level of St Louis homeowners that are seriously underwater since 2013 when this data was first tracked.  In spite of financial difficulties and hardships that people may be suffering as a result of COVID-19, the downward trend of underwater homeowners in St Louis that began during the 3rd quarter of 2019 continues.

St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners

(Click on table for live, complete data from 2013-Present)
St Louis Underwater (Negative-Equity) Homeowners

More New Listings In St Louis Added Last Week Than Year Ago But Not Keeping Pace With Sales

Yesterday, I shared a report on new sales of listings in the St Louis MSA which showed sales were up 10% for the week from a year ago.  Today, I created the report below which shows new listings during the same week, and while the number of new listings was up 8% for the week from a year ago, they still didn’t keep pace with the new sales.  As the report reveals, there were 1155 new listings in the St Louis MSA last week and, as yesterday’s report showed, 1245 sales, so nearly 8% more new sales than new listings.

New Residential Listings – St Louis MSA

For the Week Ended June 13, 2020

Data Source: MARIS – Copyright 2020, MORE, REALTORS All Rights Reserved

Flipped Houses In St Louis Jumps Nearly 14 Percent During First Quarter

There were 542 homes “flipped” in the St Louis metro area during the first quarter of 2020, or 8.5% of the total number of homes sold in the St Louis metro area during the quarter, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Solutions.  This is an increase of 13.8% from the prior quarter and is a decrease of 2% from a year ago.  The median gross profit was 52,900 a 60.8% gross ROI.

Definition of a  “flipped” home…

For the purposes of this report, a flipped home is considered to be any home or condo that was sold during the first quarter of this year in an arms-length sale that had previously had an arms-length sale within the prior 12 months.  Since homeowners don’t tend to buy a home only to turn around and resell it within a year, when this does occur it is typically the result of an investor buying a property, renovating it, then reselling it.

  

St Louis House Flipping – 1st Quarter 2020

St Louis House Flipping - 1st Quarter 2020© 2019 – St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

St Louis Housing Market Stays Steady In Spite of COVID-19

The St Louis real estate market slowed when the effects of COVID-19 hit the St Louis area in early March but after continuing at a slower pace for a few weeks has quickly shifted gears to a faster pace.  The St Louis market has improved to the point that, for the 12-month period ended May 31, 2020, St Louis home sales were down just 1.84% from the prior 12-month period.  The median price of homes sold during the past 12-months was $213,000, an increase of 6.55% from the prior period.

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales and Prices

Past 12 Months vs Year Ago

(click on the table below for live report)

St Louis 5-County Core Market Home Sales and Prices  Past 12 Months vs Year Ago

Showings Of Listings In St Louis Last Week Over 12 Percent Higher Than Year Ago

COVID-19 lingers on but the real estate market in St Louis has made a quick recovery from the negative impact it had on the market.  The data supports the idea that home buyers are tired of waiting for everything to come back to “normal” (or whatever variation of normal the new normal is) and have been out looking at and buying homes.  This is evidenced by the chart below which depicts showings of listings this year and compares each 7-day period with the year before.  As you can see, showings this year (the orange line) we down, significantly from last year during the worst of the pandemic, but have rebounded to the point where last week’s showings topped the year before by over 12%!

St Louis Area Showings Of Listings

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis Area Showings Of Listings

40 Zip Codes In The St Louis MSA Have 1 Month Or Less Supply Of Homes For Sale

It’s no wonder home buyers are tripping over themselves and getting into bidding wars to buy a house as the supply of homes for sale is at or near historic lows.  As our table below shows, there are currently 40 zip codes in the St Louis MSA with a one-month or less supply of homes for sale (7 of the zips have no homes for sale) and a total of 76 of the 127 (60%) zip codes within the St Louis MSA have a supply of homes for sale of 2 months or less.

This low inventory, along with low-interest rates and pent-up demand from the COVID-19 induced stay at home orders, is creating a real feeding frenzy of sorts for homebuyers in the St Louis market.  For sellers, this is a dream come true, plenty of demand and little competition!  Granted, this is not true in all areas and all price ranges, but for the most common prices ranges in the more popular areas it is very true.

Sellers should sell now!

If you are someone that has been thinking about selling, I would act on those thoughts now and take advantage of the current low-inventory conditions.  While I don’t know that I agree, there are folks out there predicting that the market is going to get flooded with homes for sale shortly turning the tide on sellers.  For me, I’ll believe that when I see it, but nonetheless, now is definitely a great time to sell.

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Continue reading “40 Zip Codes In The St Louis MSA Have 1 Month Or Less Supply Of Homes For Sale

More Showings of Listings In St Louis Last Week Than Year Ago

As the St Louis real estate market continues to distance itself from the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting stay at home orders and business shutdowns, I continue to see market activity that is encouraging.  For example, as the chart below shows, for the most recent week, reported (through last Thursday) the showing activity on listings in St Louis and surrounding areas were at a level that is 3.9% higher than for the same period last year. This is a huge rebound since showings hit bottom in the middle of the lock-down on April 9th and fell to a level that was barely half of the year before.

St Louis Area Showings Of Listings

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis Area Showings Of Listings 

 

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – May 2020

The St Louis real estate market continues to be on the upswing and recovering from the impact of COVID-19.   The pandemic did slow the St Louis real estate market down for a while but it appears to be recovering quite quickly.  Get all of this and more in this month’s update. Interest rates, the “cherry on top”.  In case the market rebound isn’t enough, mortgage interest rates are at near historic lows making now a great time, and an affordable time, to buy a house if you are in a position to do so.
Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller's market? Contact us and we'll  answer that question for you.
You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

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St Louis Real Estate Market Continues To Rebound From The “COVID-19 Effect”

As the St Louis area slowly moves toward starting to come back to life, so to speak, the St Louis real estate market continues to heat up!  After getting a gut punch from the COVID-19 pandemic, which I now refer to as “The COVID-19 effect”, the St Louis market has been steadily making a come back. As the table below shows, the total number of new sales of residential listings last week for the St Louis MSA as a whole was down just 6% from the same time last year, and down just 10% for the 5-County core St Louis market.  In fact, Jefferson County and Franklin County both saw more sales last week than at the same time a year ago!

St Louis Area New Contracts On Residential ListingsSt Louis Area New Contracts On Residential Listings

Data source: MARIS – Copyright© 2020 St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

 

 

We’re Back! (Showings that is…)

I may be jumping the gun just a little, but showing activity on residential listings during the past week is just about back to where it was this time last year when there wasn’t a COVID-19 pandemic!  As the chart below illustrates, the weekly average for showings through May 8th is just down a little over 2% from the same time last year and is up 40% from the first week of January this year.

Showing Activity For St Louis and Surrounding Market Areas

(click on the chart for a live, interactive chart)

Showing Activity For St Louis and Surrounding Market Areas

 

St Louis New Listings Down Nearly Double What Sales Are From Last Year

Prior to COVID-19, there had already been a shortage of residential listings for sale in many areas and price ranges through St Louis going back a couple of years.  However, the problem may be getting worse as we are continuing to see new sales of residential listings in St Louis picking up the pace to the point that they are down just 16% from the same time a year ago but, new listings in the St Louis MSA are down 30% from the same time a year ago.

Since we started with a low inventory and now have the sales rate outpacing the listing rate, we are probably going to see an even tighter supply of homes for sale for at least the near future.  As our table below shows, there are some areas where this is even more pronounced, such as St Charles County where the number of new sales of residential listings for the most recent 7-day period is down just 3% from a year ago but new listings during the same period are down 37%.

St Charles County down to less than 2-month supply

As our tables at the bottom shows, currently, there is just a 1.97 month supply of homes for sale in St Charles County and, if we look at the “sweet-spot” of homes priced in the $150,000 – $300,000 range, there is an inventory of just 1.04 months.  If you own a home in St Charles County and have thought about selling, contact us now and let us show you how to leverage this market in your favor whileit lasts.

Homeownership rate for the St Louis MSA is 22nd highest of largest MSAs

The homeownership rate in the St Louis MSA for the first quarter of this year was 68.4%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  While this was just a slight increase from the prior quarter, when the St Louis homeownership rate was 68.3%, it was good enough to move St Louis’s homeownership rate from 24th to 22nd on the list of the 75 largest MSAs.

Homeownership Rates By MSA – 1st Quarter 2020

Homeownership Rates By MSA - 1st Quarter 2020 

 

St Louis Home Sales On The Rebound In Spite of COVID-19

Maybe it’s the gorgeous weather, a more optimistic outlook after receiving stimulus payments or perhaps just being tired of waiting in limbo, but homebuyers have come out strong in St Louis during the past week!  St Louis home sales are still not at the levels we would expect at this time of year but, as my table below shows, for the St Louis MSA as a whole, the most recent 7-day period is down just 16% from the same time last year.  This is about half the decline I’ve seen when pulling the data as recently as a week ago.

St Charles County home sales have come back the strongest with 185 homes sold during the 7-day period from 4/14 through 4/21, just 12% less than the same period last year and the city of St Louis is next with a decline of just 14%.  Franklin County is struggling the most with just about half as many home sales as last year.

As I wrote yesterday, with low-interest rates and the buying opportunities out there, now is a great time to buy for those that are able.  Wow, now that I think about it, maybe that’s the reason home sales are increasing, people are listening to me LOL.

St Louis New Residential Home Sales April 14 – 21 – (Table)

St Louis New Residential Home Sales April 14 - 21 - (Table)

Date Source: MARIS – Copyright 2020 St Louis Real Estate News, all rights reserved

Showings of St Louis Listings Increase Forty-Two Percent Since Low 8 Days Ago

Showings of listings for sale in the St Louis metro area started to decline on March 10th after COVID-19 hit our area and stay at home orders followed.  As the chart below shows, the number of showings, compared to the same period last year, continued to fall until hitting the bottom on April 12th.

By the time showings hit rock bottom, they had declined to a level equal to about 25% fewer showings than during the first week of January this year and nearly 50% fewer showings than the same time last year. However, since hitting bottom on the 12th, showings have increased 42% to the current point which is 7% higher than the first week of January and down just about 19% from the same time last year.

Showings in St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

Showings in St Louis metro area along with other markets served by MARIS

The COVID-19 Impact On The St Louis Real Estate Market – One Month In

The COVID-19 pandemic (coronavirus) began impacting the St Louis area just a little over a month ago and I’ve been tracking the impact on the St Louis real estate market along the way.  From the outset, we have seen a decline in the number of new listings, new sales and physical showings of listings, however, overall the decline has remained fairly constant.  New sales of listings for the St Louis area has pretty well hovered around a level equal to about tw0-thirds of the activity we saw at the same time last year.

Now that we are about a month into the “COVID-19 effect”, a few weeks into the stay at home orders and a few weeks into real estate agents adjusting to doing business in a different way, I wanted to take an in-depth look to see where we stand now.  I’ll warn you in advance, this article is a little long, mainly because of tables and data, but I wanted to include as much data as I could to paint the complete picture of the market.

The Population Increase of St Louis during past 9 years was less than one-tenth of U.S. population growth

While we are in the midst of the 2020 census, the U.S. Census Bureau released its population growth estimates for metropolitan statistical areas (MSA’s) in the U.S. which revealed the St Louis MSA  saw a population increase of just 0.6% from 2010 through 2019.  As the table below shows, the population of the St Louis MSA in 2010 was 2,787,751 and in 2019 it was 2,803,228, an increase of 15,477 people during the 9-year period or 0.6%.  Overall, the United States saw a population increase of 6.3% during the same period and the population of MSAs across the country saw an increase of 7.5%.  In terms of the rate of population increase for MSAs from 2010-2019, St Louis ranked 283rd out of 384 MSA’s.

St Louis MSA Population Change 2010-2019

St Louis MSA Population Change 2010-2019

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – April 2020

The St Louis real estate market is off to a good start for 2020 however, it is getting impacted by COVID-19.   This month’s market update video includes market data through the end of March but, even though about 2/3 of March was after COVID-19 began disrupting things here, the effects really cannot be seen yet.  A couple of weeks ago I did a Special Report video that was specifically about the impact of coronavirus on the St Louis real estate market, but it won’t be until our May market report that we really see the full impact of it on the market. Rates are back down after a brief stint on the rise. The mortgage market is a little volatile now given all that is going on but, so far, so good.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  

Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller's market? Contact us and we'll  answer that question for you.
You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

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The IRS Extends Time-Frame To Complete Exchanges and Opportunity Zone Rollovers

Last night, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance to extend the time permitted to complete a like-kind exchange or rollover into an Opportunity fund.  While the actual IRS notice has not been issued yet (I’m guessing it will come out today) and that will contain more specifics, below are highlights of the relief that is being granted to real estate investors by the IRS as a result of COVID-19:

  • 1031 Like-kind exchange – If an investor is in the midst of 1031 exchange and has already sold the property they owned and the 45-day period to identify the replacement property or the 180-day period to close on the replacement property falls between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the deadline will be extended to July 15, 2020.
  • Opportunity zone – If an investor has sold a capital asset and plans to roll over the gain from it into a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund and the 180-day deadline to do so falls between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the deadline to cmplete the investment will be extended to July 15, 2020.

As I mentioned, the IRS will likely issue written guidance today with more details.  When that happens, I’ll update this post with any pertinent information that it contains.

St Louis MSA Property Taxes For 2019 Was At Same Effective Rate as 3 Years Ago

The average property tax amount in 2019 for a residential property was $2,840, according to the latest data released from ATTOM Data Research.  Based upon the average estimated home value for the St Louis MSA of $211,816, this works out to an effective property tax rate of 1.34% which is slightly less than last year’s effective rate of 1.36% and is the same as the rate of 1.34% in 2016.

St Louis MSA Effective Property Tax Rates – 2016 – 2019

St Louis MSA Effective Property Tax Rates - 2016 - 2019

Data source: ATTM Data Solutions – Copyright 2020 -has St Louis Real Estate News

Is Real Estate Essential?

Need I answer?  Given the title of this site and if you have been here before you probably are aware I’ve been in the real estate business ever since graduating high school some 41 years ago, I’m going to guess you know I’m going to say “of course it is”.  On a more serious note though, my headline poses the question in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in a stay at home order for several counties in Missouri and, effective tomorrow night at midnight, the entire state of Missouri.

One of the exceptions in all of the stay at home orders has been for people working in “essential services” which in some of the orders is defined in detail and others in a more general fashion.  In determining whether a business is essential there are many easy ones to figure out such as anything related to the medical or health industry, public safety, sanitation, etc.  However, when it comes to other businesses such as those related to residential real estate such as agents, appraisers, home inspectors, loan officers, etc, it’s not always so clear.  Locally, within the St Louis area whle real estate may not have been named specifically as an essential service, after legal review and discussion within the industry, it has been determined that real estate activities do in fact fall within the definition of essential services.

State of Missouri Stay at Home Order allows for real estate activities…

The stay at home order issued by the State of Missouri allows an exception for essential services but instead of defining what is included in those services, it defers to the guidance issued by the U.S.Department of Homeland Security.  Included in the guidance as “essential functions” are “residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services.”

Safety first…

Throughout the real estate industry, there has been much attention given to what functions can be safely done if CDC and other health and safety guidelines are adhered to, such as private showings of homes, and which ones should not be done such as a traditional open house with groups of people coming through.  With these practices in place, along with utilizing technology for things such as virtual showings, agents have been able to serve their buyer and seller clients and facilitate sales.

Why it’s important…

I believe the inclusion of real estate activities as essential makes sense.  For one, we are talking about a large segment of the population that is all, for the most part, small businesses as each real estate agent are their own business.  They don’t get paid if they can’t carry out their real estate business, there are no salaries for agents. In addition, it’s not just the agents, it’s all the other professions involved in the transaction, building inspectors, lenders, title companies, survey companies, warranty companies, home repair, staging, movers and so on.  So if we shut down residential real estate entirely we are shutting down a huge part of our economy and likely putting a ton of small businesses out of business.

Also, it’s more than just the livelihood of those involved.  While some buyers are going to retreat from the market for now and wait until later, there are others that have reasons they need to move and want to buy.  For example, there are still people getting married, moving into or out of town for a job, have growing families or other needs or motivations causing them to want to move now.  For sellers, some may prefer to wait but for others, particularly those suffering financially from a job loss or business closing may be under the gun to get their home sold and really can’t wait.

So, just like workers in other essential services that are there to provide those needed services to their customers and clients, real estate agents are here to do the same for those people that do need to transact business during these challenging times.

 

 

How Mortgage Forbearance Works Under CARES ACT (Video)

Yesterday, I shared information about forbearance options available to borrowers with an FHA loan that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau released a very informative video titled “CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know” which is below.  This video contains a great explanation of what forbearance is, how it works and how to request it on your mortgage.


Showings Of St Louis Area Listings Trending Upward

While, rightly so, health concerns remain on the minds of home buyers, sellers, and agents, with safety practices in place, the real estate market in St Louis still has activity.  Granted, as you would expect, the activity is at a reduced rate, but there are still people that want, or even need, to buy or sell a home.  In fact, the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has put some additional pressure on sellers who have been negatively affected.

One of the things I’ve been watching to track activity in the market are showings of homes.  As the chart below shows, showings are down significantly from the same time last year (currently 42.8%) however, as the table below illustrates, the showing trend has increased over the past 3 days.  Showings hit bottom on March 28th when they were down 45.0% from a year ago and since then have regained some ground.  One thing to keep in mind is part of the decline is a result of “casual lookers” going by the wayside as the only people looking at homes today are serious home buyers.  In addition, alternatives to physical showings are  being developed to allow real estate transactions to continue with less physical contact between people.  For example, our firm, MORE, REALTORS, is launching a virtual open house online platform as well as a virtual showing online platform that will deliver an enjoyable, and safe, user experience for the buyer and will allow us to continue to safely serve sellers.

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area – Comparision to Last Year-Table

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area - Comparision to Last Year-Table

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area – Comparision to Last Year-Interactive Chart

(click on chart for live, up to date, interactive chart)

Showings of Listings In The St Louis MSA and Surround Area - Comparision to Last Year-Interactive Chart

 

 

Special Report (Video) – The Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on the St Louis Real Estate Market

I’ve written several articles over the past couple of weeks about the impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the St Louis real estate market.  Hopefully, it has been of some benefit to people that either already had their homes on the market, were in the market to buy or considering buying or selling.  Yesterday, I took all of the most recent information and updates that I think people in those situations will find useful and packed it all into a short, 4-minute, video special report on the impact of COVID-19 on the St Louis Real Estate Market.

You can watch the report below or by clicking here.Special Report (Video) The Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on the St Louis Real Estate Market

 

Fannie Mae Offers Mortgage Payment Deferral Plans for Eligible Homeowners

Fannie Mae, the leading source of financing for home mortgages in the U.S. (they purchase home loans from lenders), earlier this week announced some payment deferral plans to help borrowers.  Fannie Mae is authorizing it’s loan servicers to provide options to borrowers that have fallen delinquent or are having trouble making their house payments,  which is likely a result of the financial impact on them of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s complicated, there are several options that Fannie Mae has made available to loan servicers to offer to borrowers that are struggling.  Complete details are in Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2020-05) but the highlights are below:

  • Eligibility criteria for a Payment Deferral:
    • The mortgage loan must be a conventional first lien mortgage loan, and may be a fixed-rate, a step-rate, or an ARM.(the property may be vacant)
      • As of the date of the evaluation, the mortgage loan must be 30 or 60 days delinquent (i.e., the borrower is not past due for more than two full monthly contractual payments); and
      • such delinquency status must have remained unchanged for at least three consecutive months, including the month of the evaluation.
    • And, the loan servicer must confirm that the borrower:
      • has resolved the hardship,
      • is able to continue making the full monthly contractual payment, and
      • is unable to reinstate the mortgage loan or afford a repayment plan to cure the delinquency.

There are some other conditions as well but those are the primary ones.  Assuming the borrower meets these requirements, there are several options available to them.  There are many options the lender can offer which include:

  • Defer the past due payments (without interest accruing) until the mortgage loan matures, until the property is sold or the loan is refinanced or paid off.

If the hardship that caused the borrower to fall behind has been resolved however the borrowers do not have the ability to pay the delinquent payments, another option is for the lender to offer to increase future payments for a period of time to make up for the delinquent payments.  If the borrower cannot afford the increased payments, that is when the payment deferral plan above kicks in.  If the borrower’s hardship has not been resolved, then Fannie Mae can offer a forbearance plan.

If you are a homeowner and having problems making your payments, the best thing to do is immediately call your loan servicer to see what options are available to you. 

New Listings In St Louis During Past 7 Days Down Just 25 Percent From Year Ago

St Louis sellers appear to remain pretty confident in the St Louis real estate market in spite of the COVID-19 threat as evidenced by the number of new residential listings that hit the St Louis market in the past 7 days. During the past 7 days, there were 701 new residential listings on the St Louis 5-County Core Market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) this is a decline of just 25% from the same period last year when there were 943 listings.  For the St Louis MSA, there were 930 new residential listings during the past 7 days also a decline of 25% from the same period last year when there were 1,253 new listings.

While the way in which we do business is changing somewhat, such as relying more on technology with things like virtual open houses, virtual showings as well as utilizing resources like Zoom Meetings, Skype and Facetime in lieu of in-person meetings, there are still homeowners that want to sell and buyers that want to buy. 

St Louis Area New Residential Listings For March 21 Through March 27

St Louis Area New Residential Listings For March 21 Through March 27

Home Affordability In St Louis Improves In 2 Of Five Counties During 1st Quarter

Homes became more affordable in Jefferson County and St Charles County during the first quarter of this year from the 4th quarter of 2019, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  As the table below shows, the affordability index for both those counties increased from the prior quarter as well as from the same quarter the prior year.  Franklin County’s affordability index was the same for the 1st quarter of 2020 as the prior quarter but improved by 5% from a year ago.  The two St Louis’s, the city and county, both saw decline in home affordability from both the prior quarter as well as the prior year.

Average wage earner can qualify to buy in 3 out of 5 Counties…

So while the city and county of St Louis saw a decline in home affordability, the average wage eaarner in those two areas can qualify to buy a home, as can an average wage earner in Franklin County.

St Louis Home Affordability – 1st Quarter 2020

St Louis Home Affordability - 1st Quarter 2020