Author - Alexandra R. Fasulo

Indicted St. Louis developer cost investors $724,000

Indicted St. Louis developer cost investors $724,000

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A St. Louis County developer’s deception cost two investors $724,000 recently, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from a federal indictment claim.  The indicted individual, Paul Everett Creager, a resident of Wildwood, was officially indicted recently, both for wire fraud, and was arrested the next day.  He was released on a $10,000 bond.

Creager’s lawyer told the Post-Dispatch that they “deny the charges” when reached by phone earlier this week.  “We are fully cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office,” said Kenneth Leeds, adding that they will continue to make the process as easy and painless as possible.

The indictment claims that Creager financed his development company in St. Louis using promissory notes and by selling interest in his businesses to other investors in the region.  He solicited $724,000 from two different investors, who were both identified in the indictment only by their initials.  To make it happen, Creager claimed that his business was worth millions and his personal net worth was in excess of $1 million, also reported in the indictment.

At the same time, he failed to disclose to his investors that a private lender, Financial & Marketing Solutions LLC, had lent him more than $3.2 million and had a priority secured position in his real estate developments, his home, and even his vacation home.

Also reported by the Post-Dispatch recently, Creager supposedly cost a Navy veteran from St. Louis County more than $400,000 in a fault investment with him and his company.  His lawyer, David Neuman, also reported, he spoke with the FBI regarding the separate case that is now receiving coverage because of the new illegal uncovering.

Creager also received coverage in Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois this past summer as the Better Business Bureau warned consumers to stay far away.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

St. Louis free restaurant space competition winner announced

St. Louis free restaurant space competition winner announced

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) After months of rigorous competition and amazing submissions by entrepreneurs and business owners around the St. Louis region, an urban farming nonprofit is the official winner of a contest for free restaurant space in St. Louis’ Old North area. James Forbes, and his partners at Good Life Growing, the head of the nonprofit, will be opening Old North Provisions, a restaurant, grocery store, and co-op at 2720 N. 14th Street.

Old North Provisions will offer its own and other local produce on the warehouse shelves, a buffet line, and take-out packages for those who are on the go. Forbes stated to the St. Louis Public Radio that his operation would provide an alternative to neighboring Crown Candy Kitchen, known for its ice cream and hearty, mostly unhealthy, sandwiches. “I love Crown Candy, don’t get me wrong,” said Forbes. “But we can offer something else besides a BLT, a burger, and a shake.”

Forbes and the three company co-founders, Matt Stoyanov, James Hillis, and Robert Forbes, are known for their kale growing, tomatoes, and another vegetable harvesting in the 20 urban gardens around northern St. Louis today. Experimenting with futuristic botany, the founders grow food using methods that don’t rely on soil, such as hydroponic environments, which use only water today.

Through their newly established Old North Provisions, the partners will be able to offer a daily buffet that includes comfort food, minus the thousands of calories found at other establishments today. “Like a healthier version of biscuits and gravy, a lot more baked and grilled items as opposed to deep-fried,” said Forbes.

Forbes went on to confirm that they plan to charge from $6 to $9 for the buffet. They will portion out excess food into meals, seal them into deliverable packs that are ready to microwave or boil, and offer those up at a slightly less price of $5 to $7.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

St. Louisans can now fly direct to Iceland

St. Louisans can now fly direct to Iceland - STLRealEstate.News

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The St. Louis region is about to have a direct link to Reykjavik, an Iceland-based WOW Air company that will provide direct flights from St. Louis into the capital of the Arctic-based nation.  WOW Air will begin four flights per week between St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Keflavik International Airport starting May 2018.  From there, passengers will also have the option of continuing onto European cities like Berlin, Paris, and London.

The announcement, which came out this past Wednesday, is part of an expansion by WOW into four Midwestern cities.  Looking to capitalize from eager and interested tourists in the middle of the United States, Iceland is working hard to promote their tourist and travel sectors.  Additional Midwestern cities include Detroit, Cleveland, and the Cincinnati area, bringing the number of American destinations for the airline to 12 now.  WOW initially kicked off its U.S. offerings in Boston slightly more than 2-years ago.

It’s taken a few months to get the local deal together in St. Louis. St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in addition to officials at Lambert have worked closely to land the new flights.  The partnership now in effect will support WOW in a marketing plan to promote the service and get the news out in local St. Louis media. St. Louis County has also stepped into the deal, playing a role in securing the low-cost flights, which will start at just $99 for a one-way ticket.

“We made a smart investment through the St. Louis County Port Authority to provide the key incentives to secure these flights,” said County Executive Steve Stenger in a statement, published by the St. Louis Public Radio.  He went on to add the WOW provides more options for people throughout the area who want to travel internationally at an affordable rate.  Plus, it’s going to aid in the flow of business personnel.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

St. Peters to receive a new FedEx facility

St. Peters to receive a new FedEx facility

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Missouri development company, Scannell Properties, this week submitted a plan to the city of St. Peters for the initial evolution of a FedEx facility build-out, which is estimated to cost close to $24 million by the time it’s completed.  The Indianapolis developer, who has nearly 114 acres in St. Peters under contract at this time, plans to build a new 491,252-square-foot distribution facility for the massive FedEx corporation.  Many real estate sources familiar with the deal at this period stated that the installation is most certainly under contract for FedEx.

The terms of the real estate deal were not disclosed at this time.  The properties, according to St. Charles County records, have a combined total market value of more than $250,000.  Also in on the deal, Lakeside 370 Levee District and Stonewolf Inc.. a business entity tied to St. Charles-based new Frontier Bank, own part of the site that is under construction.

When approached by KSDK.com to discuss plans for the future project, Scannell officials declined to provide any details.  Russ Batzel, the St. Peters city administrator today, stated that construction could start as soon as this fall depending on when the transaction officially closes.  A FedEx spokesman also spoke up, saying that the company, “continuously evaluates the need for additional facilities and routinely talks with real estate agents, developers, and government officials.  We do not publicly discuss specifics of a project until all the details have been finalized.”

FedEx is no stranger to the St. Louis region.  The shipping giant has 3 shipping centers in the area, one in Earth City at 13342 Lake Front Drive; one in Berkeley at 6143 James S. McDonnell Blvd.; and one in Maplewood at 3025 St. Hanley Road.  It is not clear at this time what the St. Peters location will mean for the other three.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

St. Louis home values still at an all-time high

St. Louis home values still at an all-time high - STLRealEstate.News

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Homeowners in St. Louis County were in for quite the wake-up call last month when the assessed value of their properties increased drastically.  The average assessed value of residential homes in St. Louis County shot up an average of 7 percent since 2015, which was the county’s strongest showing in almost a decade.  The city of St. Louis’ numbers beat the county: with nearly 12 percent increase in the same time frame.

One month later, the numbers are still sky-high, and residents are still trying to figure out how to cope with their new taxation demands.  Though higher assessments mean economic growth and development is on the horizon for St. Louis, homeowners are still asking themselves what they are going to do to afford the costs that come with a home worth more on the market.

Experts reported that it’s a sign that the region has recovered from the economic downtown of the late 2000s.  Assessor Jake Zimmerman, aware that these shifting trends are positive for the town outlook, recalled a time in 2011 when everything was looking incredibly bleak in St. Louis.  He added that the county was just barely hanging on after the massive blow of the housing crisis and foreclosure disaster.  “People were losing their homes, hard-working people couldn’t get mortgages, and neighborhoods were torn apart overnight by the real estate slump.”

Since 2011, property values very slowly improved, showing no real signs of a shifting tide in the future.  Zimmerman added that he and his staff were pleasantly surprised by the incredible uptick in this year’s property value results.  The trend was visible in every community in St. Louis County, leaving millions still asking themselves today what they should do in the interim, and if they should expect another hike in the years to come.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

St. Louis officials have different opinions on short-term rentals

St. Louis officials have different opinions on short-term rentals

ST. LOUIS, MO/September 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis residents have complained that the city is less-than-friendly with the concept of Airbnb, a website that pairs tourists with homeowners for a short-term stay.  Locals wishing to earn extra income by renting out a room in their apartment or house for a few nights a week are being charged an excess of $400 to register the rental and obtain a license from the city.  Many end up listing their home, and consequently receive a citation stating that they are violating city rules that require a conditional use permit in addition to a business license for the rental.”

One specific council in St. Louis, the Maplewood City Council, stated they are considering proposals that would permit residents in other zones to rent part or all of their homes for brief stays.  Back in 2015, the council approved a list of restrictions on short-term rentals.  Other areas in the city are also busy crafting ordinances on such short-term rentals.  Some of these councils include the Chesterfield and Hazelwood councils, which have closed the door on the popular home-sharing market altogether.

One woman reported to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “There seems to be a disconnect between renters and the people making the rules.  She went on to add that renting a room in her home helped her family make ends meet last year. Her assessed property value rose to $237,800 this year from $136,300 in 2011.  “In order to fill the gap of income from my rise in taxes, I created supplemental income on my property in order to cover these costs,” she said to the Maplewood City Council at a public hearing in the middle of July.

Since her proposal, the Maplewood City Council reluctantly approved her for Airbnb guests.  So far, very few have received the approval.  Officials are stilling reviewing rentals on a case-by-case basis.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STLRealEstate.News by STL.Properties

New rental giant formed in American real estate

New rental giant formed in American real estate

September 11, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The massive house-rental industry in the United States just got a new rental giant ready to make waves across the country.  A simple phone call between two real estate billionaires, property investor Barry Sternlicht and Jon Gray of the Blackstone Group, proposed combining Starwood Waypoint Homes, which Sternlicht chairs, and Invitation Homes, majority-owned by Blackstone Group today.  Initially starting with discussions tis past spring, the two companies sorted out the billion merger this past Thursday.  The company is set to be the largest U.S. single-family landlord, with 82,000 homes across the country – reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The move further consolidates the industry for corporate ownership of house rentals.  Private equity firms under the Blackstone title spent hundreds of millions of dollars during the aftermath of the housing crisis to buy homes at distressed and cheaply assigned prices.  They were able to build businesses that eventually were big enough to go public.  Today, with property values finally soaring after 10-years of recession, landlords are combining to gain scale and hone in on the positive movement in a lucrative direction.

“This merger gives the industry more credibility now that there’s a more than $10 billion company, bigger than some apartment real estate investment trusts,” said Jade Rahmani, analyst at Bruyette & Woods Inc.  “It makes a more investable sector with consistent returns.”

The investment is already proving to pay off, following Invitation Homes $1.8 billion initial public offering in January.  Its shares are up more than 8 percent since the IPO.  American Homes 4 Rent, the second-biggest house-rental landlord, has gained close to 40 percent since its 2013 IPO.  However, the companies, like everyone else, have had to adapt to the market as it continues to try and repair itself.  A logical solution is the joining of company forces and resources to ensure success as we look to 2018.

Wellston deal is on the horizon

Wellston deal is on the horizon

Wellston, MO./ September 2, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News)For over 10-years, St. Louis County has been waiting on the right deal proposal to revamp the downtrodden Wellston area. With two industries properties in the area that were up for redevelopment, the county was hoping to bring some jobs to the crime-ridden, inner ring suburb. It has taken even longer than that to get the sites prepared for redevelopment, following a 30-year timeline that has seen the county as the owner of the vacant 15-acre Wagner Electric site near Wellston’s MetroLink stop, now known as Plymouth Industrial Park.

In the mid-2000s, the county assembled 24-acres just across Page avenue from Plymouth into what is now known as the Wellston Industrial Park. The cleanup to date has taken millions of dollars, and in the last three months, both sites finally sold to new, eager owners.

“I can’t believe somebody hasn’t bought it before now” said Doug LaClair of LaClair Construction Services, one of the members of the investment group that bought them. He provided his statement for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, the buyers aren’t totally sure yet when the development will start or where it will go from here.

What is known today is that St. Louis County’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, which owned the sites, sold both for far less than their apprised values. Two members of the investment group called into question, John G. Rallo and Corey Christanell, have given more than $30,000 to the St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, either personally or through various companies linked to him today. “I don’t know anything about that,” said LaClair when he was questioned about the contributions.

Rallo in a statement last week confirmed that it is indeed a blighted area, but that the group was mostly attracted with what was going on around it with the MET, a county-owned employment training facility.

Real estate prices remaining moderate, report shows

Real estate prices remaining moderate, report shows

September 2, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News)–This week, the First American Financial Corporation, a leading global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, released the June 2017 First American Real House Price Index (RHPI), which measures the price changes of single-family properties throughout the U.S. adjusted for the impact of income and interest rate changes today. The report also looks at impacts on the consumer house-buying power over time and across the U.S. at national, state, and metropolitan area levels. Since the RHPI adjusts the index for home-buying power, it also serves as a measure of housing affordability.

The June report confirmed that real house prices decreased 1.3 percent between May and June, with real house prices increasing 9.3 percent year-over-year. Consumer house-buying power, defined by how much one can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, increased 1.3 percent between May and June, but fell 3.5 percent year-over-year.

When looking at the number on bigger scale, real house prices are 34.8 percent below their housing-boom peak in July 2006 and 12.3 percent below the level of prices in January 2000. During this same period, unadjusted house prices increased by 5.4 percent in June on a year-over-year basis and are 2.7 percent above the housing boom peak in 2007. The overall chief economist analysis that accompanied the report stated that affordability declined 9.3 percent year-over-year as supply continues to squeeze prices higher, a notable trend we are seeing all over the St. Louis metro today.

“On a month-over-month basis, affordability improved slightly thanks to the seventh straight month of falling rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages and modest wage gains. The increase in consumer purchasing power offset the gains in unadjusted house.

Source: Independent Freelance Writer, Alexandra R. Fasulo

St. Louis lands ranking in WalletHub’s Best Real Estate Market

St. Louis lands ranking in WalletHub’s Best Real Estate Market

St. Louis, MO./September 2, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News)–Another generous St. Louis real estate market ranking was laid out this week by WalletHub, a real estate trends and data analytics platform. Five cities in the Kansas and Missouri area were included in the list, which was officially released this past Monday. Although Overland Park trumped them all, St. Louis still made a reputable showing in the top 5 list.

To compile the new report, the online personal finance website looked at 21 metrics divided across two dimensions: real estate market and affordability and economic environment. The metrics measured, including real estate marked, looked at the home value forecast, percentage of homes underwater, average number of days until a house is sold, percentage of homes selling for a gain, median home-price appreciation, home sales turnover rate, rent-to-sale price ratio, foreclosure rate, and the list goes on.

On the affordability scale, the report looked a housing affordability, maintenance affordability, population growth rates, job growth rates, unemployment rates, and median credit scores.

St. Louis came in at number 248 nationally, with a number 51 ranking among larger cities in the United States. It’s real estate marked ranked at 236 and the affordability and economic environment rank came in at 246. Though the city lost out to other metro areas in Kansas, it was still a strong showing for the St. Louis real estate market and its ever-growing competitiveness today. With limited supply for buyers, sellers are raising their prices and driving up the market value for the first time in over a decade. As for first-time homebuyers, St. Louis could make some sustainable improvements for the future.

The past July, WalletHub conducted another study that analyzed the same 300 cities as the best and worst place for first-time homebuyers, ranking St. Louis at 167 with Overland Park coming in at number 16.

Source: Independent Freelance Writer, Alexandra R. Fasulo