Downtown St Louis Loft District Offers Value Priced Lofts

The St Louis downtown loft market had a slow start back in the early 90’s and then picked up some steam later in the 90’s after Missouri launched its historic tax credit program which gave developers another tool to use to make loft projects more financially feasible.  The loft market, as the chart below illustrates, peaked in 2005, stalling out before the majority of the residential hit its peak in 2006.  The St Louis loft market saw a kind of double peak with prices rising in 2007 after dipping the year before, but then loft prices followed suit with the rest of the market and started a long slow decline until hitting bottom in 2011.

In looking at the St Louis downtown loft district market from 2002 through the end of last year, as depicted on the chart below, you can see that loft prices, while they have increased from the bottom reached after the housing bubble burst in 2008, have not recovered to pre-bubble levels, not even back to 2002 levels.  The median price of St Louis downtown loft district lofts sold in 2002 was $192,975 in 2002, rose to a peak of $236,000 during 2005, dipped down to $205,505 during 2006 however, it should be noted, that the number of lofts sold peaked during 2006, hitting 131 sales, the highest level for the entire 15 year period covered here.  St Louis loft prices then hit the second highest level in 2007 with a median price of $209,000, however, there were only 51 lofts sold that year, less than half the year before.  Loft prices then continue to tumble until hitting bottom in 2011 at $128,250 with only 34 lofts sold that year.   Last year, there were 71 lofts sold at a median price of $152,000.  To recap, for the loft market, 2016 prices were just 19% higher than the bottom reached in 2011 and 36% lower than the peak in 2005.  Loft prices in 2016 were 21% lower than the 2002 median price of $192,875.

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Condo Share Of Home Sales In St Louis Higher Than National Average

The term Condominium usually brings to mind an image of a mid-rise or high-rise “apartment-style” building, however actually refers to the type of ownership and can be applied to attached and even detached homes as well.  The more common form of housing is a single family detached home with fee-simple ownership, particularly in smaller metropolitan areas and the suburbs.  The concept of condominiums while originally most likely begun by the Romans were first introduced into the U.S. around 1960.  Since the introduction of condominiums, they have gained in popularity, particularly in densely populated metropolitan areas such as New York Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago but also slowly made their way to St Louis and have gained in popularity here as well, particularly with older baby boomers, as well as younger millennials, both of whom are attracted to the lifestyle offered in condo living.

In St Louis Nearly One In Every 8 Home Sales Is A Condo – 

As the table below shows, during 2015 nearly one of every 8 (12.22%) home sales in St Louis has been a condominium, exactly the same as last year, and higher than the 11.61% rate on the national level shown in the second table below.  On the national level, the share of home sales attributable to condominiums is trending downward this year after peaking last year but St Louis, which also peaked last year, appears to be maintaining the pace.

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St Louis Lofts Making Comeback

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

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


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