How Much Of An Impact Does Your FICO Score Have On The Cost Of A Home?

Today, thanks to many apps and access to information, all consumers have ready and easy access to their FICO (credit) score.  Anyone thinking of buying a home no doubt knows their credit score will come into play in terms of qualifying for a mortgage but just how significant is your credit score?  Is there really that much difference between a 670 and 700 credit score, or between a 700 and 741 score?  Well, when it comes to mortgage rates, it does make a difference!

A 670 FICO vs a 741 FICO will run up the typical cost of St Louis home over $17,000 over the life of your loan!

For example, as the table below illustrates, the median interest rate for a mortgage for a person in St Louis (borrowing over 80% of purchase price) with a FICO score of less than 680 is 3.962% versus an interest rate of 3.611% for someone with a FICO score above 740.  The median price of homes sold in St Louis during the past 30 days was $245,055.  So, to make it simple, if we assume that for the loan amount a person with a 679 score would be looking at a house payment of $1,153 per month (principal and interest) while someone with a 741 credit score would be looking at a payment of $1,104 or $49 per month less.  That may not sound like much, but over the 30-year life of the mortgage that means the person with the lower credit score will pay $17,640 more in interest than the borrower with the higher score.  Or, to look at it a different way, for the same payment of $1,153 that the lower score borrower will pay for a $245,055 home, the borrower with the higher score can buy a home that costs $255,823.

Mortgage-Interest Rates Hit Highest Level In Over a Year

Mortgage interest rates were at 3.667% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan as of this past Thursday, January 13, 2022.  As the chart below illustrates, after dipping slightly the week prior, the rates this most recent week hit the highest level in over a year.

Mortgage rates for an FHA mortgage also hit the highest level in over a year too with rates hitting 3.743%.

Mortgage Interest Rates – 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 12 Months

(click on chart for live, interactive chart and other loan types)

Mortgage Interest Rates - 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 12 Months

Mortgage Interest Rates – 30 Year FHA

(click on chart for live, interactive chart and other loan types)

Mortgage Interest Rates - 30 Year FHA

 

December 2021 St Louis Real Estate Report

St Louis Real Estate Report - December 2021 - St Louis Housing Report - St Louis Realtors

Smart Temperature Control and What Are the Benefits

Smart Home Certification - Smart Home Realtors

Do you like inconvenience? Spending more money than needed? Do you like things to be more difficult than needed? Do you like not knowing how much energy you use and when you use it most? Do you desire suboptimal temperature control? If you answered ‘no’ to these questions then whether you knew it or not, you’re already convinced that a Smart Thermostat is worth a couple of hundred bucks to you.

One of the primary requirements in a ‘Smart Home’ is either smart temperature control or a smart security feature. Of these two, the one to likely pay for itself first is the smart thermostat. It may sound a little creepy but most smart thermostats are self-learning which means they adjust the temperature based on your habits and schedules. The simplest example is that they know when you are sleeping, and they know when you’re awake. They know when you’re away from the house too, and because of this intuitiveness, it can adjust the temperature accordingly. How does it know these things? Glad you asked. These types of thermostats use a combination of scheduling, geofencing, and motion detection to know how to adjust.


What Is a Smart Home and What Does It Mean for a Homeowner?

Smart Home Certification - Smart Home Realtors

Simply put, a Smart Home means your home has a control system that connects with your various appliances, systems, and features to automate specific tasks and is typically remotely controlled. The real estate industry, in conjunction with CNET, accepted definition is: 

“A home that is equipped with network-connected products (aka “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or similar protocols) for controlling, automating, and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety, or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer, or a separate system within the home itself.”


St Louis Beating Region On Percentage Of Homes Selling At Full Price Or Above

Last week I published an infographic in an article illustrating that 65% of the homes sold in St Louis sold at or above the list price.  As the infographic below shows, this is a significantly higher percentage than was experienced in the midwest region as a whole where 55% of the homes sold at or above full price.  

Two-Thirds Of Homes Sold In St Louis Core Market In October Sold At Or Above List Price

Two-thirds of the homes sold in the St Louis 5-County core market (St Louis city and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin) during October sold for the asking price or above.  As the infographic below shows (exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®) there were 2,888 homes sold during October in the St Louis 5-County core market with 65% of them selling at the list price or above.  One thing to remember about home prices though, and something you won’t hear from too many people reporting prices, is that not all sold prices are the “real” price.

Have St Louis Home Prices Finally Increased Too Much?

For the past few years now, we’ve experienced quite the seller’s market in St Louis fueled, in part, by a low supply of homes for sale.  As a result, St Louis home prices have increased over the past few years at rates close to double the historic norm.  Of late, we’ve heard a lot from people within, and outside of, the real estate industry expressing concern that home prices have gotten too high and even some have made comparisons to 2008 when the housing market saw the bubble burst.  Being the data nerd I am, I’ve tried to keep emotion out of it and instead turn to the data to see if there were indications that perhaps St Louis home prices have increased too much and we are in for a correction.  Up until now, the data has led me to believe that St Louis home prices were ok and can be sustained.  However, based upon current data, I have a little different opinion as I write this.

So what has changed in the data to indicate home prices are too high?

For starters, I haven’t said St Louis home prices are too high yet, I’ve just said that the current data has changed my opinion.  Having said that, prices may in fact reached levels that cannot be sustained and may need a downward correction to put them back in line or they may have just peaked and will remain rather flat for a period of time to allow the market to “catch up” with the prices.  And, of course, data over the next month or two could change for the positive and show we’re not there yet and home prices can still go higher without a problem.  For now, I’m going to say that, based upon the data as well as the normal seasonal adjustments we see this time of year, I’m going to expect to see St Louis home prices to   decline somewhat during the winter months like normal, but then perhaps remain relatively flat come spring rather than increase in the spring like normal. 

My opinion is based upon several pieces of data that, collectively, are indicating a coming adjustment in home prices to me.  I have the charts below that illustrate this point and here’s my recap on them:

Mortgage Interest Rates Hit Highest Level In Six Months

Mortgage interest rates were at 2.65% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan at the beginning of this year, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® and rose through the late winter months and started the spring housing season with rates hitting 3.18% on April 1st.  This rate was the highest rate since June, 2020 when rates hit 3.21% and was the highest level for interest rates in 2021.  This past week, according to the same market survey, the 30 -year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate hit 3.09%, the highest level in six-months, but still below the peak rate for the year of 3.18%.

As the chart below illustrates,  mortgage interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage have spent most of the time this year between about 2.75% and 3.0%. This is a pretty narrow fluctuation range and, even at the high of the range, or at the peak rate of 3.18% for this year, is still historically very attractive as evidence by the second chart below, one that shows mortgage interest rates for the past 10-years.

Mortgage Interest Rates – 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 12 Months

(click on chart for live, interactive chart and other loan types)Mortgage Interest Rates - 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 12 Months

Mortgage Interest Rates – 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 10 Years

(click on chart for live, interactive chart and other loan types)

Mortgage Interest Rates - 30 Years Conforming Conventional Loan -Past 10 Years

 

Buyer’s Agents Aren’t Free

Like the majority of real estate companies in St Louis, our firm, MORE, REALTORS® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  One of the things that go along with membership is to agree to abide by the Code of Ethics.  Within the code of ethics, is Article 12 which states, in part,  “REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communication and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”  As with every article in the code of ethics, there are “standards of practice” to serve as examples of how that article should be applied.  For this article there is Standard of Practice 12-2 which states “REALTORS® may represent their services as “free” or without cost even if they expect to receive compensation from a source other than their client provided that the potential for the REALTOR® to obtain a benefit from a third party is clearly disclosed at the same time.

I have always taken exception to that standard of practice for a couple of reasons, including:

  1. I don’t believe the statement is true.
  2. I think good buyer’s agents work hard,  know the value they bring to their clients and earn what they are paid.  To think that an agent has to represent that their services are free in order to get a client to use them I feel is an insult to a professional agent.

The reason behind my first issue above is that while in a traditional home sale, the buyer may not directly pay the agent representing them (the buyer’s agent) they pay them indirectly.  Typically, when a home is listed and sold using a REALTOR®, the seller agrees to pay commission to their agent (the seller’s agent) as well as to the Buyer’s agent.  Why would a seller agree to do this?  Well, they basically have no choice as, if they want their home listed in the REALTORS® MLS system (who doesn’t?), they must offer a commission to the agent that sells the home as it’s a rule. So, like it or not, the seller is going to “agree” to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission.  To say the total commission the seller is paying does not affect the price they accept I think would be disingenuous.   So, if the commission the seller has to pay affects the price they will accept from a buyer and the commission the seller is paying includes the buyer’s agents commission, I think it’s safe to say the buyers agents services to the buyer are not “free”.

The Department of Justice must feel the same way…

Clearly, I’m not the only one out there that feels this way.  Last November the DOJ (Department of Justice) and NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) entered into a settlement agreement to end an investigation.  One of the things NAR had to agree to was to no longer permit buyers agents to advertise that their services were free.  Recently, this agreement fell apart and the DOJ and NAR are involved in legal battles now so we’ll see where that goes.

Why a good buyer’s agent is more than worth the cost…

So now I’ll get to my second point.  A good, professional buyer’s agent is worth every dollar they make on a transaction and, quite frankly, often don’t really get paid enough.  Before you roll your eyes and think I’m just another one of those people that have “drank the REALTOR® KOOL-AID®”, stick with me.  I assure you I’m not one of those, I hate KOOL-AID®, avoid sugar as much as I can, and I don’t like hypocrites.  I like to tell it like it is.  Often, I’m very supportive of the real estate industry, the people in it the practices, etc, however, there are times I am not.  But, getting back to buyer’s agents, I want to add another caveat…note the adjectives I used; “good and professional”.  I’m not in any way saying all agents are created equal nor that all agents are worth what they get paid.  However, there are a lot of great ones that are very dedicated to their profession, love serving their clients, do so in an exceptional way and more than earn the commission they make.  I feel blessed in that in our firm, MORE, REALTORS® I’m literally surrounded by agents like that.

What are you going to do for me that makes you worth the price I’m going to pay for your representation?  This is a good question to ask an agent you are considering to represent you as a buyer’s agent.  If it were me, here are some of the things I would like to hear in the response as well as be convinced that this is what past clients have experienced and what I can expect from the agent:

  • Their knowledge and experience of the local market.  They should know what the housing market is like, the prices, the trends, the inventory, etc.
  • Their knowledge of the type of real estate you are looking for.  For example, if you love older homes, such as the 80+-year-old ones that exist in Kirkwood, Webster Groves, you are going to want an agent with extensive knowledge of older homes.  This will be invaluable to you when evaluating the condition of the home, reviewing your building inspection, etc.  If you are looking for a mid-century modern, it would help to have an agent that knows what you are talking about as well as where to find that style of home.
  • Their knowledge of the process and guidance they will give you.  Today, we are very much in a seller’s market and buyers are having to compete with often a dozen or more offers on a home.  You want an agent that is detailed, knows the process, the contract, and has a great grasp on how to best prepare you so that, when the time comes, your offer is seen in the best light possible by the seller.  A good agent will not leave anything to chance in this area.
  • Their relationship and reputation in the industry.  There is a fine line on this one, as you don’t ever want to choose an agent that is more concerned with what the agent on the other side of the deal thinks of them rather than fearlessly representing your best interests.  However, you don’t want an agent that has a bad reputation in the industry or is known as someone that is impossible to work with.  I would want to find one that I’m convinced will always have MY best interest in mind, that understands their fiduciary obligation to me, and is well respected by their peers.
  • Their commitment to my best interest.  I would want an agent that is laser-focused on my interests and is going to work to do their best to get me what I want under the best terms and price.  But, at the same time, someone that is confident and professional enough to also “stand up to me” if necessary to set me on the right track or to keep me from shooting myself in the foot.

When you take the time to go through some of the things above with an agent and find one that stands out as the best and most professional to represent you, I can almost guarantee that you are more than getting your money’s worth.  I see it time and time again with our agents, where through knowledge and advice, negotiation or strategy, they save their clients not only money (and likely often more than the agent is being paid) but also time and frustration.

So, as my headline says, Buyer’s Agents AREN’T Free and as the things I point out above nor should they be.

Now it’s time for a shameless plug…do you want to be connected with a great, professional agent that is a Master of Real Estate?  Just give me a call at 314.332.1012 or email me at Dennis@stlre.com and after I understand your wants and needs, I’ll connect you with the perfect agent for you!

Has the St Louis Real Estate Market Peaked?

I’ve written a couple of articles lately addressing the news reports about the housing market cooling down.  As I’ve addressed in those articles, there has not really been much data supporting a significant cooling in the St Louis real estate market.  Additionally, I’ve noted that, due to the seasonality of the housing market, and the fact we are headed toward winter, a cooling of the market would be the seasonal norm.

So today, I decided to pick an easier question to answer, “has the St Louis real estate market peaked?”  The short answer is yes, I believe it has.  This statement, by itself, is not all bad as it would NOT be good for St Louis home prices to continue to increase at the rates they have over the past couple of years.  Not to mention, if we stay in this low-inventory market strongly favoring sellers much longer, many buyers are going to just give up and shelf the idea of buying for a while.

As usual, I’ll let the data speak for itself.  I have several charts and tables below (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) that I believe support that we have probably seen the St Louis market peak.

St Louis Area Housing Market Report For September

The St Louis housing market appears to be cooling off slightly with fewer home sales last month than a year ago in 3 of the 5 St Louis area counties that make up the St Louis 5-county core real estate market.  As the charts below illustrate, the decline in the overall St Louis market was very slight, with 3,164 homes sold last month just 11 sales fewer than September last year when there were 3,715 homes sold in the St Louis5-county core market.  The charts have complete details but below is a recap of home sales and prices by county for last month versus September 2020:

  • St Louis City & County – These two counties combined are the only in the core market to see an increase in sales last month from a year ago.  Last month there were 1,710 homes sold, an increase of 4.6% from a year ago when there were 1,634 homes sold.  Last month the median price of homes sold was $247,000 and increase of nearly 7.5% from last year when it was $229,900.
  • Franklin County – Last month there were 127 homes sold, a decrease of 13.6% from a year ago when there were 147 homes sold.  Last month the median price of homes sold was $227,050 and increase of nearly 14.5% from last year when it was $198,300.
  • Jefferson County – Last month there were345 homes sold, a decrease of 6.8% from a year ago when there were 370 homes sold.  Last month the median price of homes sold was $229,000 and increase of nearly 9.0% from last year when it was $210,000.
  • St Charles County – Last month there were 617 homes sold, a decrease of 10.8% from a year ago when there were 684 homes sold.  Last month the median price of homes sold was $303,000 and increase of nearly 12.2% from last year when it was $270,000.

St Louis Home Sales Trend Slows Slightly In August

There continue to be conversations by St Louis REALTORS® as well as other industry professionals as to whether or not the market is cooling off somewhat or slowing down.  I keep watching the data closely to look for signs of a substantive change and while there are some, the market adjustments appear to be somewhat insignificant at this point. Last month, in an article about July’s market, I pointed out a slight slowing of the trend in July.  Now, I’m taking a look at August, specifically, the number of new listings that came on the St Louis real estate market during that month versus the number of new sales during the month.

More new listings in August than a year ago, fewer new sales:

As the STL Real Estate Trends Reports below show (exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®) 3,702 new listings came on the market in the St Louis 5-County core during August, an increase in new St Louis listings of 3.2% from a year ago when there were 3,586 new listings.  Conversely, there were 3,861 new sales of homes last month, a decrease in St Louis home sales of 2.2% from a year ago when there were 3,949 new contracts written.

New contracts written exceeded listings again but not by as much margin:

During August 2020, the number of new contracts written on listings exceeded new listings in St Louis by about 10 percent (10.1%).  Last month, new sales of St Louis listings only exceed the number of new listings by just over 4 percent (4.2%).

So, as I mentioned, the change in trend is slight, but something worth keeping an eye on.

St Louis Area Home Sales Trend Slows Slightly After Setting Record in June

There has been talk of “the market slowing down” and while there hasn’t been a lot of data to support that, we did see the sales trend slow slightly in July.  As the home sales trend chart below shows, exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®, the home sales trend for the 12-month period ending has increased every month of this year over the prior month through June. For the 12-month period ending in June, there were 30,055 homes sold marking the highest record since we’ve been tracking the data, however, for the 12-month period ending in July home sales decreased slightly to 29,974 homes.

More new listings than new sales…

A change I’ve also noticed lately is that the number of new listings hiring the St Louis market is outpacing the number of new sales, a reversal of the trend we saw until recently.  As the STL Trends Reports below show, there were 881 new listings in the most recent week and 816 new sales.  For the prior week, the trend was the same with 895 new listings and  807 new sales.

St Louis Listing Supply Increases 50 Percent in July from June…still low

For the past couple of years now you’ve heard how low the inventory of homes for sale is, and, if you are a buyer, you have no doubt experienced some grief or hardship in buying a home as a result.  However, this may be changing.  As the table below shows, there are currently 3,565 active listings in the St Louis 5-county core market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) which based upon the rate of home sales, works out to a supply of 1.41 months. This is a 50% increase from the supply (inventory) from June of 0.94 months.  Granted, at 1.41 months, it is still VERY LOW from a historical perspective, but this is something to watch as it could be indicative of a change in the market.

What do the leading indicators show?

We don’t want to base too much on just one report for one month so to drill down a little further lets look at the STL Trends Reports, available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®.  Below the table is the New Listings Trends Report which shows for the most recent week reported, new listings were up 23% from the same period a year ago.  There were 885 new listings in the St Louis 5-county core market during the week 7/18/21 – 7/24/21 as compared with 718 new listings for the same period last year.  On the other side of the deal, so to speak, as the New Contracts Trends Report shows, there were 890 new contracts written during that same week, a decline of 1% from the same period the year before.

Don’t sound the alarm yet..

As I’ve said, even with the increase in inventory it is still low and the trend reports are just for one week so we need to give it more time and watch the trend in the coming couple of weeks before we can determine that there is possibly a significant trend indicating a change in the market.  Stay tuned…

St Charles County Homes Sold For Largest Percentage Over List Price In June

As the chart below illustrates (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®), homes in St Charles County sold for a median price equal to nearly 105% of the current list price of the listing in June, which is the highest percentage of list price for the counties that make up the St Louis 5-county core market.  For the 9 months up to and including January of this year, 4 of the 5 counties all had a median sold price equal to 100% of the current list price with Franklin County averaging less.  In January St Charles county took off followed by Jefferson County, St Louis County and St Louis City all of which saw the median sold price exceed 100% of the current list price.  Franklin County made it up to 100% but has stayed there.

St Louis Area Counties $ Of Current List Price Homes Sold For During Past 13 Months

(click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis Area Counties $ Of Current List Price Homes Sold For During Past 13 Months

St Louis Home Sales And Prices Saw Double-Digit Increase In Past 12-Months

For the 12-month period ended May 31, 2021, there were 30,225 homes sold within the St Louis 5-County core market, an increase in home sales of 13.91% from the prior 12-month period, according to the STL Market Report below, available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®.  During the same period, St Louis home prices increased 11.5% from a median of $213,000 to $237,500.  As the report also shows, the current supply of listings for sale is low at 0.86 months.

STL Market Report For the St Louis 5-County Core Market

(click on report for live, complete report)

STL Market Report For the St Louis 5-County Core Market

 

STL Market Report – May 2021

St Louis Realtors Home Prices and Sales Market Report May 2021

Sixty-Three Percent Of St Louis Homes Sold In Past 12 Months Sold At Or Above List Price

It’s no secret how competitive the St Louis housing market is currently.  In effort to get their offer accepted, homebuyers are waiving financing contingencies, building inspections and doing everything they can to convince the seller to take their offer.  However, in addition to those aforementioned things, while it’s not necessarily the most important thing, price is pretty close to the top of the list.

As a result of everything mentioned above, almost two-thirds of the homes sold in the St Louis 5-County core market (St Louis city and the counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) during the past 12 months sold for the asking price or above.  As the infographic below shows (exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®) there were 34,225 homes sold during the past 12-months in the St Louis 5-County core market with 63% of them selling at the list price or above.  One thing to remember about home prices though, and something you won’t hear from too many people reporting prices, is that not all sold prices are the “real” price.

St Louis Area Housing Market Report For April

In spite of the challenge of a low-inventory housing market, St Louis City and County, St Charles County and Franklin County all saw double-digit increases in the number of homes sold in April while Jefferson County saw a double digit decline.   As the charts below illustrate, the median price of homes sold in those counties increased from a year ago in all the counties, two of them in the double digits.

Not all housing data is the same….nor accurate for that matter…

One thing worth noting is that there are housing market reports out there from many different sources, including many credible ones that may or may not be accurate.  In most cases this is not due to an error on the part of the person or entity sharing the data but a result of either bad data,  inaccurate data or misinterpreted data.   For example, when preparing to write this article I noticed two different reports on “St Louis” home prices for homes sold in April.  One, which indicated it was for St Louis City and County combined, reported $250,000 and one which reported the “St Louis area” was $266,000.  In the case of the latter, my first guess was that they were reporting data for the St Louis MSA but when I checked that the actual sold price in April was only $223,750 so I have no idea where the data came from.  For the former, the $250,000 median price is not only higher than the median price for St Louis City and County, it’s higher than the median price for the whole MSA and while the source is indicated, I’m not sure how this number was arrived at.

So what does it matter?

In the crazy market we are in where buyers are getting in bidding wars to get a home, I think it’s more important than ever to have good, relevant and accurate data available to your agent so your agent can help you make an informed decision.  You ultimately may decide to pay above what you think the current value of the home is but it would help to know what the real value is.  If you look at my chart below for St Louis City and County you’ll see the median price of homes sold in April was $230,000 which is quite different than the $250,000 price and $266,000 I saw reported elsewhere.  Would being $20,000 – $36,000 off on the value matter to you?  I think it might.

So how do I know I’m right?

Well, for starters I’m a data junky and for the past dozen or so years I’ve probably spent, on average about a dozen hours a week or more studying market data for St Louis.  In addition, for the past 6 or 7 years we have worked to develop our own proprietary software to compile and report housing data and are constantly checking and double checking the output.  Finally, we have a very credible source for data, the REALTOR® MLS and we constantly update and check the data.  Put all of this together and while there’s no way to say it’s 100% correct, but I’m confident it’s about as close as you can get.

Why St Louis Is Not Headed Toward Another Housing Market Bubble or Crash

Lately, I’ve noticed several articles questioning whether the kind of crazy real estate market we’ve in for a while now is reminiscent of the early 2000’s which lead to a housing bubble that eventually burst in 2008.  Granted, even in St Louis where we tend to not see the market extremes one way or the other like the coasts do, one could get the idea that maybe we’re headed that way with buyer’s fighting over new listings and bidding wars that have homes often selling for over the list price.  However, in my humble opinion, this market is very different than the 2000 – 2007 market and we are not headed to a crash at this point.

Before I go further…my disclaimer…

I’m not an economist and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I’m just a long-time real estate industry data junkie who has ridden the real estate roller coaster for 40+ years and have some thoughts on the current state of the market.  While my comments may apply outside of our local market, my focus and commentary are on the St Louis housing market.

What’s different now from before…

St Louis Climbs To 5th Highest Homeownership Rate of Major Metros In Q1 2021

The homeownership rate in the St Louis MSA for the first quarter of 2021 was 73.1%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  This is a big jump upward from the 4th quarter of last year when St Louis ranked 23rd on the list.

New Contracts For Home Sales Over 50 Percent Higher Than For Same Period Last Year

The inventory of homes for sale may be low, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing down the pace of home sales.  As the STL Real Estate Trends Report below shows (which is exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®) during the most recent week that data is available for, there were 1,151 new contracts written on listings in the St Louis MSA, an increase of 54% from the same period a year ago when there were 746 contracts written.

New listings are up as well during the same period.  Again, referring to STL Real Estate Trends Report from MORE, REALTORS® this time for listings, we see that there were 908 new listings during the most recently reported week, an increase of 26% from the same period last year.

For the week ended April 3rd, new sales out paced new listings by 26% so it doesn’t appear we are going to see any change in the low supply of homes for sale anytime soon.

Local Home Trends Report- New Contracts

(click on report for live, current report)Local Home Trends Report- New Contracts

Local Home Trends Report- New Listings

(click on report for live, current report)Local Home Trends Report- New Listings

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Is The St Louis MSA Real Estate Market Better in Missouri or Illinois?

There are a total of seventeen counties that make up the St Louis MSA with 9 of them being on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River and the other 8 on the Illinois side.  For some reason, I was curious today if the portion of the St Louis MSA in one state was outperforming the other or if they were performing about the same.  I guess my expectation was probably the latter but the data showed that in fact, during the past three months, they were closed, but each state has its bragging rights depending on which data point you look at.

The tables and charts below (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) show more details but below are some highlights of the comparisons between the counties in the two states:

  • Sold home prices in Missouri for December were at a median price of $226,500 in December then dipped in January, as expected but rebounded back in February to a median price of $225,000 or 99.3% of the December price.  Illinois, on the other hand, had a median price of $150,000 in December then actually increased in January but then fell to $137,750 in February, or 91.8% of the December price.
  • The number of home sales paints a different picture though.  For the Missouri counties, there were 2,819 homes sold in December and  1,849 in February, for a decrease of 34%.  In the Illinois counties, there were 744 homes sold in December and 554 in February for a 26% decrease.


St Louis 12-Month Home Sales Sets 15-Year Record In February

For the 12-month period ended February 28, 2021, there were 29,402 homes sold in the St Louis 5-County core market.  As the 15-year chart below (available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) shows, this is the highest 12-month sales period in more than 15 years!  Going back to 2006, a historic banner year for real estate, we find that the 12-month period ended March 31, 2006, came in close at 28,797 homes sold, but that’s a little over 2% below our most recent 12-month period.

But, can St Louis home sales keep up this pace?

Having a record-setting period for home sales is great but, practically speaking, it’s hard to sustain a record level for long so typically sales would ease after a record period and settle into a “norm”.  Having been in this business for 40 years, I’ve seen many of these periods and the $64 question is always the same.  How long can it last?  I’m not going to even pretend I have that answer as there are too many variables including the continued impact of the pandemic on the economy and life in general, rising oil and gas prices, rising government debt, and uncertainty about the economy to name just a few.  Oh, and did I mention the lack of inventory?  It’s hard to maintain record sales levels when there are not enough products to sell.

21 Zips In 5-County Core Where Listing Inventory Is More Than Double The Median

If you are in the process of trying to find a home to purchase or have gone through the process in the last couple of years, I don’t need to tell you how low the inventory of homes for sale is.  Currently, in the St Louis 5-County core market, there is less than a one-month supply of homes for sale (0.85 months).

However, within that area, there are 21 zip codes that have a current supply of at least double that, 1.7 months or more.  As the chart below shows, the supply of homes for sale in these zip codes ranges from a high of 9 months in 63115 down to 1.71 months in 63367.  There are a total of 9 zip codes that have a supply greater than triple the median of 0.85 months  (2.55 months+).

COVID-19 Pandemic Driven Serious Mortgage Delinquencies To Highest Levels Since The Great Recession

According to a report just released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), titled “Housing insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic“, there are over 2 million homeowners that have fallen behind at least three months on their mortgage payments.  This represents a 250% increase from pre-Covid-19 levels and is now at a level we haven’t seen since the height of the Great Recession in 2010.

Homeowners with an FHA mortgage delinquency rates double rate for all loans:

As the chart below shows, homeowners with an FHA mortgage hit a serious mortgage delinquency rate of 10.8% during the 3rd quarter of 2020, with the rate for all mortgages was just under half that at 5.2%.

Serious Mortgage Delinquency Rate By Loan Type- Q1 2005 – Q3 2020

Seroious Mortgage Delinquency Rate By Loan Type- Q1 2005 - Q3 2020

Seven Of the Ten Fastest-Selling School Districts In St Louis MSA are in Outer Ring Counties

As the list below shows, seven of the ten school districts in the St Louis MSA where homes are selling the fastest, are in outer-ring counties, with the remaining three districts being in St Louis County.  This list is based upon the average time it took homes to sell that closed in the past 30 days and Wright City R-II District came in at the top of the list with an average of 14 days for homes to sell.  St Charles County was home to the largest number of the fastest-selling school districts with 4 followed by St Louis County with 3, Warren County with 2, and 1 in Jefferson County.

Ten Fastest-Selling School Districts In The St Louis MSA

(click on the list for a complete and current list)

Ten Fastest-Selling School Districts In The St Louis MSA

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – February 2021

The St Louis real estate market has started off 2021 strong, but is a change coming?  Closings of home sales in January were strong with more sales closing than in January of last year, but with everything going and the uncertainty of the economy will it continue?  I address both the current state of the St Louis real estate market, as well as discuss our “leading indicator” data which gives us a glimpse of where the market is headed in the St Louis Real Estate Market Update video you can access below.
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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’s Most Expensive Home Sale In The Last Two Years

One of the many benefits to living in St Louis is it’s a very affordable place to live and much easier to be a homeowner than in most other major metro areas.  Having said that, we do have areas, such as Ladue, Huntleigh, and Clayton to name a few where we do see home prices that are out of reach for most of the folks living here.   One such example is a magnificent 10,000+ square foot Ladue manse that sold earlier this month.  At a final sales price of $6,150,000, it is the highest-priced home sale in the REALTOR® MLS in more than 2 years.

See what $6 million gets you in a St Louis home by clicking here – be sure to click on the video to see the tour of this beautiful home.