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Average US 30-year mortgage rate slips to 4.17 percent

30-year mortgage

30-year mortgage rates slips to 4.17%

WASHINGTON/February 9, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Long-term US mortgage rates eased slightly this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans slipped to an average 4.17 percent from 4.19 percent last week.  That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971.  A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.65 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.39 percent from 3.41 percent last week.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.  The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.  One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage fell this week to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.  The fee on 15-year loans also declined to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans eased to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent.  The fee remained at 0.4 point.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cops: Woman used $1.2M forged check to try to buy house

buy house

Attempt to buy house for $1.2 million with a forged check

DILLSBURG, Pa./February 9, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Police say a Pennsylvania woman tried to buy a house by forging a $1.2 million check from a credit union.

Police in Carroll Township, York County, say that happened in January.

Investigators say 49-year-old Katherine Kempson used the internet to copy a business logo from Members First Federal Credit Union to create the $1.2 million check.  She’s also accused of writing a bad check for $60,000 to a real estate agency as part of the bogus transaction.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Kempson.  She faces a preliminary hearing March 20 on forgery and bad check charges.

Police Sgt. David Smith says the credit union’s fraud department first raised red flags, prompting police to investigate.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published by K Amant’s, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News – Licensed material by AP (Associated Press).

At a cool $250M, LA mega-mansion is priciest listing in US

At a cool $250M, LA mega-mansion is priciest listing in US

LOS ANGELES/February 9, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — In the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles sits a new monument to opulence, a $250 million mega-mansion that’s now the most expensive home listed in the United States.

The four-level, 38,000-square-foot mansion comes with a seven-member staff, a $30 million car collection and an infinity pool complete with a swim-up bar, 270-degree views of the city and a monstrous 20-foot outdoor television.

It has 12 bedroom suites, 21 bathrooms, five bars, three gourmet kitchens, a spa, a 40-seat movie theater, and a bowling alley.

The mansion was built on speculation, or with no buyer in mind. And only 3,000 people in the world could afford to buy it, said Bruce Makowsky, the developer and owner of the home who made his fortune as a handbag designer.

The Associated Press recently interviewed Makowsky inside the mansion. Here’s what he had to say about why he built it and who would spend $250 million on a house.

Q: Why did you build this house?

A: “After being on major mega-yachts across the world and on beautiful private aircraft, it didn’t make sense to me people were spending $350 million on a boat, $100 million on a plane and they’re living in $20 million and $30 million homes … The homes have not kept up with the toys. So my feeling is if you’re going to spend over 12 hours a day in your home it should be the most amazing experience in the world.”

Q: What is it like being inside the house?

A: “I would say it’s the eighth wonder of the world. I’ve had a couple people come in here and say it’s in the top seven — one of the other seven could go away … Every single inch of this house is breathtaking. It’s a sensory overload. I’ve shown this house about 25 times now. People go in and use just about every adjective on half of the lower level. There’s no more adjectives. They just become numb. Every single thing in this house makes you feel like you’re in heaven.”

Q: How did you reach $250 million for the listing price?

A: “The reason it’s $250 million is because of all the work for the past four years of having 300 people inside here, the art curations inside the house. We have over $30 million worth of cars, exotic sports cars and vintage cars … We have a 270-degree view from the snow-covered mountains all the way down to LA. Seven full-time staff come with the house, which is crazy. So if you want the best chef in the world, you have her, and if you want a masseuse we have you all hooked up … We have water features that go completely around the house. We have stones from 50 different quarries from around the world, the most beautiful precious stones running through the house … I truly believe the value is here.”

Q: Why would someone spend so much money on a house, even with all these amenities?

A: “It’s the kind of thing where I can’t sell it. Somebody has to fall in love with it and die over it. And when a person sitting with $2 billion, $5 billion or $20 billion in the bank and it’s just a number, do they really want to enjoy every second of their life — because this isn’t rehearsal, this is real life — or do they just want to look at a number in the bank?”

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AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press

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This version corrects the spelling of the developer’s last name, Makowsky not Makowksy.

Ellisvilles’ Greer Brewing to open late March or early April

Greer Brewing

ELLISVILLE, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Chris Greer, founder/owner of Greer Brewing Company is targeting late March or early April for the opening his new microbrewery and Ellisvilles’ first brewery.

Leaving a career at UPS last May to pursue his dream of brewing craft beer, a love he discovered by home brewing.  With the support of his wife and family, he is in the final stages of creating his own brewery with 8 craft beers on tap and one on pump.

Greer Brewing

The brewery is being built in a building that had set empty for many years.  He is excited and had nothing but good things to say about the community, its neighbors and the city.  “It will not be a bar”, says Greer.

He showed us around the facility and the building is designed as if it was intended for Greer’s dream.  The building is constructed almost entirely of brick, mortar, steel and wood rafters in the ceiling.

Around the back is a great L-shaped covered patio like area that would be perfect for outdoor seating.  However, the city of Ellisville considers it to be inside because it covered by roof, which would require a sprinkler system costing in excess of $100,000.  With such rules, he is now limited to seating inside only with more plans and dreams to add a sprinkler system at some point so he can utilize the outdoor seating.

In the early stages Greer plans on a limited menu with cold items, with again, future plans to expand to a full kitchen.

Greer had been planning this dream for approximately 3 years before terminating his UPS career.  In addition to the craft beer and cold menu items there will be pool tables, darts and plenty of parking.

There has been questions about if there are too many microbreweries in the St. Louis metro area.  Greer says it is 20 miles to get to the nearest brewery.  Great idea in a community

 

How stricter rules for brokers will affect retirement savers

retirement savers

WASHINGTON/February 4, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — President Donald Trump is delaying a series of rules that require financial professionals to put their clients’ best interests first when giving advice on retirement investments.

The rules, which were set to take effect in April, will be delayed for 90 days for review.

Under the so-called “fiduciary rule,” brokers who sell stocks, bonds, annuities and other products would have to do more than just make sure the investments they recommend are “suitable” for clients. They would have to meet a stricter standard that has long applied to registered advisers: They will be considered “fiduciaries” — trustees who must put their clients’ best interests above all.

Full compliance originally was required by January 2018.

At stake are about $4.5 trillion in 401(k) retirement accounts, plus $2 trillion in other defined-contribution plans such as federal employees’ plans and $7.3 trillion in IRAs, according to the Investment Company Institute.

Too often, regulators say, brokers steer clients toward questionable investments for which the broker receives a fee, thereby acting in their own financial interest instead of the client’s.

The problems often arise when people who are retiring “roll over” their employer-based 401(k) assets into individual retirement accounts. Brokers may persuade them to put those assets into variable annuities, real estate investment trusts or other investments that can be risky or otherwise not in the client’s best interest.

The Obama administration previously said investors would save about $4 billion annually under the new rules. The industry countered that investment firms will have to shell out more than that just to comply with the rules. Financial firms also argued that the stricter rules will likely shrink Americans’ investment options and could cause brokers to abandon retirement savers with smaller accounts.

Americans increasingly seek guidance in navigating their options for retirement savings. Many professionals provide advice. But not all are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest.

Here are some questions and answers about the delayed rules:

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BROKERS? FINANCIAL ADVISERS? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

It’s significant. Brokers buy and sell securities and other financial products on behalf of their clients. They also can provide financial advice, with one key stipulation: They must recommend only investments that are “suitable” for a client based on his or her age, finances and risk tolerance.

So they can’t, for example, pitch penny stocks or real estate investment trusts to an 85-year-old woman living on a pension. But brokers can nudge clients toward a mutual fund or variable annuity that pays the broker a higher commission — even without disclosing that conflict of interest to the client.

Registered investment advisers, on the other hand, are “fiduciaries.” In that way, they’re more like doctors or lawyers — obligated to put their clients’ interests even ahead of their own. That means disclosing fees, commissions, potential conflicts and any disciplinary actions they have faced.

Advisers must tell a client if they or their firms receive money from a mutual fund company to promote a product. And they must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, thereby opening themselves to inspections and supervision.

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WHAT DO THE RULES IN QUESTION DO?

They put brokers under the stricter requirements when they handle clients’ retirement accounts. The Labor Department under the Obama administration withdrew an earlier proposal in 2010 amid an outcry from the financial industry, which warned that it would hurt investors by limiting choices.

The rules update the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA, enacted in 1975. That was a far different time. Traditional company pension plans were still the dominant source of retirement income. Now, traditional pensions are increasingly rare. In their place are 401(k)-type plans, which require workers to set aside pre-tax money but also add a new layer of risk: Employees themselves must decide how to invest their retirement money, and many seek professional advice.

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WHAT ARE THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST?

Consumer, labor and civil rights groups have pushed for the rules. They say the current system provides a loophole that lets brokers drain money from retirement accounts in fees they receive that can tilt the investment advice they give clients.

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AND THE OTHER SIDE?

Wall Street lobbying groups, mutual fund companies, life insurance firms and other industry interests have opposed the rules.

They say the stricter requirements could limit many people’s access to financial guidance and retirement planning and their choice of investment products. They warn that that would fall especially hard on mid- and low-income employees with smaller retirement balances — say, less than $50,000 — who could be abandoned by brokers.

The requirement to act in a client’s best interest means, in many cases, that the practice of charging commissions on every trade would be replaced by a set fee for a broker as a proportion of a customer’s assets. Some brokers may decide that the smaller fees aren’t worth their trouble, opponents say.

Several financial companies and groups took the government to court over the rules.

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MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer

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Video animation explaining the rules: https://youtu.be/YPH1J1DmHvE

Old industrial building to turn into manufacturing location

old industrial building

ST LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A building that previously housed machines making barber chairs, and later hats, will someday soon have a variety of small to mid-sized manufacturers setting up shop in hopes to scale up in a singular location.  This special building, located at 2528 Texas Avenue in Fox Park will contain about 87,000-square-feet of manufacturing space and be known as Brick City Makes officially.  This large-scale project is trying to accomplish nothing ever done before in the city of St. Louis.

A collaboration between St. Louis Makes and the DeSales Community Development (DCD), Brick City Makes will combine different space sizes for manufacturers to work in, while also providing community programming, events, and even comprehensive access to education in the new-found building design.

The two behind the ambitious project, Marc Bowers and Tom Pickel, are confident they will be able to take the large industrial space and transform it into a highly sought after community hub.  About 75 percent of the local manufacturing companies have 20 or fewer employees, said Pickel, who is the executive director of DCD.  These specific companies need space and resources to scale up their operations without making overwhelming financial investments into new buildings.

“These companies are cash flow positive, new or established, but looking to accelerate growth,” said Bowers.  “They have to focus on the customer and don’t want to focus on real estate problems.  This project enables people to lease a small amount of space and the building to grow with them.”

This 2-acre facility will be parsed into 1000-3000-square foot spaces, which could house up to 36 manufacturers inside the building.  Brick City Makes is currently in the process of identifying companies with scalability and a higher degree of complexity to set up shop in the new community hub.

The project will cost $11 million and is funded through federal new markets tax credits, state and historic tax credits, as well as philanthropic donations.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

Four St. Louis companies awarded preliminary TIF funding

TIF funding

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Projects amounting to $383 million won preliminary Tax Increment Financing Commission from the city of St. Louis this past week.  Four St. Louis-area real estate developments that are combined seeking more than $50 million in public financing to help construct the projects proposed earlier this year were the lucky winners.

The projects include the $83 million rehab of the Armory, a $170 million mixed-use project in the Cortex innovation district, a $104 million rehab of the Jefferson Arms building, and a $26 million project in the Delmar Loop.  But, before each of the projects can be finished, they must first be approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

For the Armory project, Green Street’s redevelopment is expected to include mixed-use space, including a health spa, restaurant and bar, offices, and other types of developments said a document provided by the city of St. Louis.  Green Street is also planning to utilize a Community Improvement District, Transportation Development District, and full real estate tax abatement.

The Aloft boutique plan, proposed by Cortex, calls for the innovation district’s very first hotel and new residential apartment development with more than 200 studio, one and two bedroom units. Construction is planned for the beginning of 2018, sources report.

Four developers are working on the projects, including Boston-based CV Properties, Baltimore-based Wexford Science and technology; Florida-based Structured Parking Solutions, and Chicago-based Silliman Group.

None of this is news to the city of St. Louis as the major developers have previously submitted their planning intentions to be considered for the TIF funding.  Though they are almost to the finish line, they do require St. Louis board certification and approval before the massive construction plans can take off.

As we speak, Alterra International, a Dallas-based developer with the Jefferson Arms building under contract, is working on the historic downtown building rehab.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

Average US 30-year mortgage rate unchanged at 4.19 percent

Mortgage Rates

WASHINGTON/February 2, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Long-term US mortgage rates barely budged this week, after marking their first increase of the year last week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans was unchanged from last week at an average 4.19 percent. That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971. A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.72 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage ticked up to 3.41 percent from 3.40 percent last week.

After meeting this week, Federal Reserve policymakers left the key interest rate unchanged at a time of solid economic gains but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration. At the same time, the Fed pointed to improved sentiment among consumers and businesses.

Many economists think the Fed will put off further rate increases until more is known about President Donald Trump’s ambitious agenda, or whether his drive to cancel or rewrite trade deals will slow growth or unsettle investors.

Mortgage rates surged in the weeks following Trump’s election in early November. Investors in Treasury bonds bid yield rates higher because they believed his plans for tax cuts and higher spending on roads, bridges and airports will drive up economic growth and inflation.

But mortgage rates reversed course in the first week of the year, falling after nine straight weeks of increases.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage rose this week to 0.5 point from 0.4 point. The fee on 15-year loans also increased to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans rose to 3.23 percent from 3.20 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

Long-term US mortgage rates steady; 30-year at 4.19 percent

mortgage rates fall - US mortgage rates

US mortgage rates hold steady with 30-year mortgage rates at 4.19%

ST LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Long-term US mortgage rates barely budged this week, after marking their first increase of the year last week.

Current avg Last week 52-week high 52-week low
30-year fixed – 4.19 percent – 4.19 percent – 4.32 percent – 3.41 percent
15-year fixed – 3.41 percent – 3.40 percent – 3.55 percent – 2.72 percent
5-year adjustable – 3.23 percent – 3.20 percent – 3.33 percent – 2.68 percent

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published under a license agreement between K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News and the Associated Press (AP)

STLRealEstate.News publisher – K Amant

US pending home sales increased in December

US pending home sales

WASHINGTON/February 1, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in December.  The increase possibly reflects more people scrambling to purchase homes as mortgage rates have been rising and increasing the costs of ownership.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.6 percent to 107.3, a slight rebound after declining in November.  Pending sales rose in the West and South but dipped in the Northeast and Midwest.

Mortgage rates began to surge after Donald Trump’s presidential win in November. Average 30-year fixed rate mortgages were 4.19 percent last week, after averaging a low 3.65 percent for all of 2016.

Pending sales contracts are a barometer of future purchases.  A sale is typically completed a month or two after a contract is signed.

In terms of completed sales of existing homes, buying activity dipped in December as the number of available homes for sale fell to their lowest level since 1999.  The inventory squeeze has caused prices to rise and potentially led more people to sign contracts in December out concerns that the number of listings could keep dropping.

The Realtors said last week that sales of existing homes fell 2.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million.  For all of 2016, sales posted an annual gain of 3.8 percent to 5.45 million.

Only 1.65 million homes were listed for sale in December, a 6.3 percent decline from a year ago.

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JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

US home prices rise 5.3 pct. amid solid demand, tight supply

US home prices

US home prices rise

WASHINGTON/February 1, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — US home prices marched steadily higher in November, pushed up by healthy demand for homes and a shrinking supply of available properties.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home index, released Tuesday , rose 5.3 percent, slightly faster than October’s gain of 5.1 percent.

So far, home sales have remained healthy even as mortgage rates have risen, suggesting homebuyers are trying to lock down purchases before rates increase further. Americans bought existing homes at the fastest pace in nearly a decade in November. Yet the number of homes for sale has fallen to a 17-year low, fueling bidding wars in many cities.

Prices in Seattle jumped 10.4 percent in November from a year earlier, the biggest gain among the 20 cities tracked by the index. Portland followed with a 10.1 percent gain. Denver reported an 8.7 percent increase.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The November figures are the latest available.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at housing data provider Zillow, said some relief from higher prices may be on the horizon. Rising mortgage rates and a leveling off of rents in many cities could cool demand for homes in the coming months, potentially slowing price gains.

The flattening of rents could also encourage developers to build more single-family homes rather than apartment buildings, which would provide more choices to potential buyers.

“These emerging trends could start impacting the market in time for the busy spring and summer home shopping season, and bear watching,” Gudell said.

Sales of both new and existing homes slipped in December after posting solid gains in November. But the number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes climbed last month, a sign that sales may soon increase. A signed contract is usually followed a month or two later by a closed sale.

Steady job growth and modest wage gains have helped fuel a rebound in home sales and prices following the housing bust that began in late 2006. Home prices nationwide began to rebound in 2012 and by some measures fully recovered to their pre-recession levels in September.

Low mortgage rates have been critical to the recovery. The average 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 4.5 percent in 2011 and averaged just 3.65 percent for all of last year. They have risen since the election as investors have pushed up interest rates on expectations of faster growth.

The 30-year fixed averaged 4.19 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said, up from 4.09 percent the week before.

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CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer

St. Louis median home price rose 4 percent in 2016

St. Louis median home price

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis median home price – Realtors and residents may have scoffed skeptically when experts predicted that St. Louis would be one of the nation’s hottest real estate markets in 2016, but no one’s laughing anymore: homeowners did their laughing straight to the bank, as homes flew off the market in a fraction of the 2015 time.  The area’s median home prices rose four percent in 2016, from $160,000 to $167,000, despite the total number of sales being up 8 percent.  Additionally, the number of days on the market in St. Louis dropped from 103 to just 86.  The months of inventory for the year dropped from 4.3 to 3.9. Wow.

That’s all according to St. Louis REALTORS, which predicted this upward tick throughout the past year. The site commented, “We have been watching our housing market meet and exceed all economic predictions for the past twelve months,” said the group’s president, Barry Upchurch.  “We all heard and appreciated what Realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke was saying about our area in February 2016.  His prediction for the year was spot on.  Now, we have the data to finally back it up.”

The trend shows no signs of slowing either.  The media sale price in December was up six percent from the previous year.  This sustainability means the prices are only going to keep rising, especially with the lack of sellable inventory.  Real estate agents’ groups believe the numbers suggest healthy growth, not an unsustainable bubble like in past years.

“Throughout the year we have experienced consistent price appreciation,” said CEO John Gormley.  “It has not been a real estate roller coaster – instead, what we have seen in St. Louis are the economic indicators that you look for in a healthy, affordable housing market including a steady incline in sales and a decreased time on market.”

It’s all great news for the residents of St. Louis.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

HUD nominee Ben Carson details steps to untangle business ties

Ben Carson

WASHINGTON/February 1, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development has disclosed detailed steps to distance himself from business holdings and charities to avoid potential conflicts of interests.

Ben Carson filed an ethics agreement with the Office of Government Ethics pledging to resign from the board of the Carson Scholars Fund and other charities if he is confirmed by the Senate. The fund established by the retired neurosurgeon provides $1,000 scholarships to schoolchildren.

A multimillionaire, Carson said he will turn over control of his assets to a manager. He said he will resign as a managing member of his companies BenCan LLC and American Business Collaborative LLC, though he will continue to hold an ownership stake and receive revenue from them. BenCan’s holdings include commercial real estate properties in suburban Pittsburgh.

Carson will also continue to receive royalties from a number of publishing companies for books that include his autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.”

As a Cabinet secretary, Carson would be subject to a raft of federal conflict-of-interest provisions intended to prohibit him, his spouse or business partners from profiting from his position. A former Republican presidential candidate, Carson is nominated to lead a sprawling agency with 8,300 employees and a budget of $47 billion.

Though he is not divesting from his businesses, ethics watchdogs said that shouldn’t be a problem as long as Carson or his partners don’t try to seek government contracts or other business.

“Carson is not required to divest if he holds no assets which conflict with HUD business,” said Jordan Libowitz, spokesman for the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Compared to other Trump appointees, his assets are fairly straightforward: mutual funds, book royalties, rental properties and the like. As long as a HUD review finds no conflicting assets, what he is doing meets with the law.”

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MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press

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Follow Associated Press reporter Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck

Developer buys Railway Exchange Building in downtown St. Louis

Railway Exchange Building

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Railway Exchange Building – Downtown St. Louis had a bit of real estate activity this past week with the official announcement of a Florida-based developer completing a purchase of the century-old Railway Exchange Building.  After the purchase, the new owner, Hudson Holdings of Delray Beach in Florida, paid just above $20 million for the building that occupies an entire block in the middle of downtown.  When asked about the transaction, Hudson Holdings did not respond to request for comments about its plans.  The company put the building under contract last spring.

Sources are still speculating what the firm is up to, and think that redevelopment would include a mixture of residences, stores, and perhaps even a hotel.  The building comes with lofty history, having been constructed in 1914.  It has 21 floors and 1.2 million square feet of space.  It was formerly the headquarters of the May Department Stores Co. and downtown’s Macy’s Store location.

Macy’s moved out of the building when it closed in 2013.  Since its closure, the building at 601 Olive Street has been vacant.  The property includes the parking garage connected to the Railway Exchange by a fourth-floor sky-walk over Olive Street.

Recently updated on the Hudson Holdings website, the company emphasizes the “downtown historic adaptive re-use” of the location and sees potential in the older, transformational assets.  The real estate firm is no stranger to historic renovations, having projects that include the nearly century-old Huntington Building in downtown Cleveland, the Textile Building in Cincinnati, and the Mark Twain Building in downtown Kansas City.

When Macy’s downtown St. Louis closed, it occupied the Railway Exchange’s three lower floors, less than a third of the space the Famous-Barr store previously filled.

Stay tuned for information and details on what the development company plans to new with the new-found historical and strategically located acquisition.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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Picture courtesy of Preservation Research Office

2016 ends on a high note for St. Louis

Mortgage rates - St. Louis, MO

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Though it wasn’t the second hottest market in the nation as one expert had predicted at the start of the year, it was one hot year for local real estate, specifically in the St. Louis region.  The year ended with closings up 7 percent, and prices up a modest 3.3 percent. Homes sold 11 percent faster than in 2015, and the overall vitality of the market is looking strong heading into 2017.

The president of Coldwell Banker Gundaker, Jim Dohr, says a lot of things came together at the right time to make a real estate year to remember.  “You couple increasing jobs and a little better local economy with very low interest rates and affordability – that’s an extremely profitable recipe for a very good housing market.”

Dohr went onto say as 2017 gets underway, the supply of homes on the market in St. Louis is the lowest it’s been in the last decade.  But, despite the tiny supply, he expects prices to increase only modestly this year.  “I read an article last week which said the Midwest is the new frontier in real estate, especially for millennials because of its affordability.  We’re just in the very unique spot here where prices are modest – and that is a great thing moving forward.”

Dohr ended by stating that if anyone is considering selling their home and moving out or around St. Louis, now is the time to do it.  With supply low and demand high, anyone intent on selling a home is going to get the best bang for their buck, and witness their property on the market for a very short amount of time if they list it now.

All in all, it was a great year for St. Louis, and as millennials pour into the city, it only means good things for the local economy.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo