Author - Jill Enders

St. Louis Housing Market Rebounds In July

St. Louis Housing Market Rebounds In July

ST. LOUIS, MO/August 25, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The outlook for the St. Louis housing market is showing promise.

The median sales price and home sales jump 6 percent amid a tightening inventory, according to the latest numbers in the July St. Louis Realtors Housing Report. This comes after a less than impressive outcome for June, with the median sales price uncharacteristically flat and an atypical drop in sales volume.

St. Louis Realtors president Barry Upchurch calls this a rebound for the St. Louis housing market.

“The flat median sales price we saw in June, during the height of the summer selling season, was certainly a bit surprising,” Upchurch said. “The good news is what we saw in June appears to have been a market anomaly rather than a trend, as our median sales price and sales volume in July were up 6 percent compared to the same period a year ago.”

The median home sales price, covering MLS sales data for St. Louis city and county combined, increased from $179,000 in July 2016 to $189,900 this year. The number of St. Louis homes sold in July increased from 1,826 last year to 1,933 in 2017.

At the same time, July data support a tightening housing inventory as active listings were down 5 percent to 7,015 compared to 7,397 for the same month last year. Days on market dropped significantly from 150 in July 2016 to 92 days in July 2017. In addition, inventory for St. Louis city and county combined stands at a 3.6-month supply, compared to 4.1-month supply in July 2016.

According to economists, a 6.5 months’ supply is the ideal balance between supply and demand. A 3.6 month supply signifies a tight inventory and ultimately is considered a strong seller’s market.

“When you take a deeper look at sales within each pricing category, many home sales were in the mid-to-upper categories – $200,000 and above. That means a large number of lower-priced homes – which includes the first-time buyer market – were sold during the first six months of the year. The result is there are not as many homes available from which to choose within that particular housing category, and in turn more sales are taking place in the upper-market segments.” Upchurch explained.

John Gormley, St. Louis Realtors CEO, agreed: “The pricing cohorts for July reflect that homes sold in the under $200,000 category dipped below 50 percent – something we’ve not seen in our market lately. That dip underscores two things. First, the fact that many first-timebuyers in 2017 have already taken advantage of low interest rates and have invested in homes and their futures right here in St. Louis earlier in the year. Secondly, and as a result, there has definitely been a tightening of inventory within the first-time buyer market segment. The good news is there are still some great opportunities available within that market area; however, there are certainly fewer homes from which to choose.”

According to a realtor.com survey, 35 percent of homeowners are planning to sell their homes next year. More than half of those sellers are millennials. The survey suggests that as millennials begin to outgrow their first homes, they are poised to enter the move-up market – something that is predicted to significantly affect the housing market nationwide.

Real Estate Experts Say Buying In The Fall Has Benefits

Real Estate Experts Say Buying In The Fall Has Benefits

August 14, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Spring and summer has typically been viewed as the best time to buy a home.  However, real estate experts claim there are advantages to purchasing a home in the fall.
RE/MAX President Geoff Lewis is one such real estate expert who agrees that there are benefits to the buyer during this time of the year, “This time of year has big advantages, like motivated sellers and less competition.”

According to RE/MAX officials, eager sellers may be more likely to negotiate and thus offer a better deal to the buyer.  Another factor that comes into play is the reduced chance of bidding wars.  According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly half of all home sales occur from May to August.  As a result, there is less competition.

Moving day may be less costly in the fall too.  Moving companies aren’t as busy during the fall and winter, which often results in more flexible schedules and lower prices.  The same applies to title companies.  With less traffic during the fall and winter, closings may be quicker and less stressful.

In addition, RE/MAX brokers recommend that sellers assess and prioritize repairs before placing their home on the market, no matter the time of the year.

“Flaws come in every form imaginable. Some result from normal wear and tear, such as worn or soiled carpeting.  Others develop as a home ages,” explained Jack Kreider, executive vice president of RE/MAX Northern Illinois. “Doors don’t close properly because of settling, mechanical systems show signs of fatigue or porch railings have deteriorated from weather exposure.  And of course, there are those things that just happen, like the bedroom your teenager painted black and purple and then put stars on the ceiling that glow in the dark.”

These all come under the category of cosmetic issues.  A prospective buyer may be impressed or want to walk away depending on the visual impression of the home.  RE/MAX experts recommend fixing the cosmetic flaws and then move on to any issues an inspector could identify as a problem.

Survey Shows Pets Motivate First Time Millennials Home Buyers

Survey Shows Pets Motivate First Time Millennials Home Buyers

August 6, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Pets appear to be the motivation for many millennials to pursue home-ownership.

That’s according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage. The survey found that a third of millennial-aged individuals who purchased their first home say the need to have more space or a yard for their dog influenced their decision to purchase a home.

In addition, 25 percent of 412 millennials surveyed listed marriage and 19 percent listed the birth of a child as the dominating factor for purchasing a home. The only factors respondents ranked higher than dogs are the desire for more overall living space (66 percent) and the opportunity to build equity (36 percent).

“Millennials have strong bonds with their dogs, so it makes sense that their furry family members are driving home buying decisions,” says Dorinda Smith, SunTrust Mortgage president and CEO.

“For those with dogs, renting can be more expensive and a hassle; home-ownership takes some of the stress off by providing a better living situation.” Smith added.

The survey also showed that 42 percent of millennial prospective homeowners say their dog or their desire to adopt on is a key factor in their desire to purchase a home in the future.

Smith also said that millennials are playing a significant role in the housing market.

“Demand among millennial-aged, first-time home-buyers is robust, and we expect them to continue adding strength to the housing market.” Smith explained.

That seems to certainly hold true for the St. Louis area. A recent survey conducted by apartment listing company ABODO, found that St. Louis ranks in the top ten nationwide for millennial home-ownership.

The survey, which analyzed millennial home-ownership in 100 of the largest metropolitan cities in the United States, cites the fact millennials currently make up 40.2 percent of all homeowners in St. Louis, and if housing remains affordable that number is expected to increase.

Experts Believe Housing Demand Could Boost Construction Industry

Experts Believe Housing Demand Could Boost Construction Industry

ST. LOUIS, MO/August 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The demand and shortage of residential real estate inventory could prove beneficial to the construction industry.

That’s according to economists who predict the increasing demand for homes will result in more new construction.

“Most likely a result of the trending imbalance between homes for sale and demand for new homes to purchase, housing starts finally edged up in the month of June to 8.3 percent,” says Greg Parsons, Semper Capital Management CEO.

“The need to balance the growing demand for housing with a dwindling supply, coupled with a strong economy, has given builders an opportunity to break ground and build more homes.” Parsons added.
The inventory in the St. Louis area alone is currently at a two month supply.

According to Jim Dohr, President of Coldwell Banker Gundaker – St. Louis, the fastest market with the lowest inventory is in St. Charles County, which currently has less than two months of inventory. This is followed by St. Louis County and St. Louis City, with slightly over two months of inventory. Meanwhile, Jefferson County has just over three months of inventory.

“Single-family homes continue to show steady growth, which is an encouraging sign as we move through the warm summer months, especially in areas like the Midwest and Northeast,” says Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans executive vice president of capital markets.

Banfield further said, “More importantly, starts and permits are up year over year, showing promising opportunity for the housing market.”

Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, said he believes a surge in new construction would be a relief to the shortage of inventory within the housing market.

“The latest 1.22 million in total housing starts is still well below the historical average of 1.5 million. That is why the country is experiencing a stubborn housing shortage. With rising population and steady job gains, drastically more new home construction is needed to fully and satisfactorily house new households that will be formed this year and upcoming years.” Yun explained.

Next week the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its new-home sales report.

Local Real Estate Executive Jim Dohr Forecasts Positive Market For St. Louis

Local Real Estate Executive Jim Dohr Forecasts Positive Market For St. Louis

Jim Dohr, President of Coldwell Banker Gundaker Forecasts Positive Market For St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/July 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The forecast for the St. Louis area real estate market looks bright.

That’s according to Jim Dohr, President of Coldwell Banker Gundaker – St. Louis, who said the St. Louis area is experiencing one of the best seller markets in history due to the high demand for inventory.  It is being driven by the lowest month of inventory supply in residential real estate.  Currently, the St. Louis area is at a two month supply for inventory, resulting in an advantage for sellers.

“We’ve had houses selling in hours in some cases or a couple of days with multiple offers on the property.  That’s much more common than it was in recent history.” Dohr explained.

The average days on the market in the St. Louis region for the first half of 2017 is 53 days.  This is a favorable increase from a year ago, with homes selling 16% faster than they were during the first six months of 2016.

Dohr said the fastest market with the lowest inventory is in St. Charles County, which currently has less than two months of inventory.  This is followed by St. Louis County and St. Louis City, with slightly over two months of inventory.  Meanwhile, Jefferson County has just over three months of inventory.

Although it’s sellers’ market, Dohr stresses the importance of pricing a property appropriately.  “Buyers today, more than ever are looking for houses that are in great condition, but if you can’t afford to put your house in pristine condition because it may have some level of disrepair, that’s okay as long as you price it appropriately and discount the price to reflect the condition it is in.”

Dohr said he also attributes low interest rates to the strong real estate climate.  The current average interest rate for home loans is around 4%.

Dohr anticipates this positive trend to continue, “I do think we’re going to continue to fight the challenge of low inventory, but the outlook for the foreseeable future, the rest of the year has been pretty bright.”

Dohr adds, “The National Association of Realtors and others are forecasting a very strong market through the balance of this year and beyond.”

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Local resource: St. Louis REALTORS®

Construction On New Wildwood Residential Development Underway

Construction On New Wildwood Residential Development Underway

WILDWOOD, MO/May 17, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Construction is underway for a new subdivision in the west county community of Wildwood.

Nearly 200 single-family homes are being built along Highway 100 near Route 109.  This residential development called The Villages at Brightleaf is a team effort between St. Louis-area based companies Consort Homes and Fischer & Frichtel.

We’ve done deals in the past and we’re friends.  It’s a good project and so we thought we’d partner with a company we think is compatible with us.”  Said Ken Stricker, President and CEO of Consort Homes.

The builders recently bought the 78.5 acres of land for the development from the family of Bill Jones Sr. A price tag for the purchase of the land was not disclosed.

The Villages at Greenleaf will consist of five unique villages, with four collection plans.

The main appeal of The Villages at Brightleaf is its close proximity to Wildwood Town Center.  “It’s probably one of the biggest development projects for residential purposes that’s been proposed around Town Center,” explains Chirs DeGuentz, Vice-President of Development and Construction for Fischer & Frichtel.

DeGuentz adds that residents will be within walking distance to Wildwood Town Center as well as Wildwood Park and elementary schools. In addition, the subdivision will be connected to walking trails.

The neighborhood itself will be built to the architectural character and standards of Town Center in terms of landscaping and street lighting.” DeGuentz explains.

Some of the new home sites will be laid it out in the “neo-traditional” style with alleys between back yards.

Phase 1 began in March with a completion date expected by late summer or early fall. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in early 2018. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2021, according to Striker.

The home prices will start in the upper $200,000 range to $800,000.

Those interested in purchasing a home in The Villages at Greenleaf may find more information online at www.fandfhomes.com.

Local Real Estate Professional Receives Top Award

Local Real Estate Professional Receives Top Award

St. Louis, MO/April 18, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A professional within the St. Louis area real estate community is being recognized for her performance.

Liz Connolly, President and master stager at INhanceIT Home Staging, has been presented with the International Masters of Real Estate Staging Award.  According to real estate leaders, this award is considered to be the highest professional accolade.

“I am so proud to have achieved this designation!  It is quintessential recognition for all the achievements I have attained over the years.” Connolly stated.

“It is wonderful to present this stellar award and well deserved recognition to Liz Connolly” said Christine Rae, President and Founder of the Staging Business Academy.

“The International Masters of Real Estate Staging designation signifies a standard of achieved excellence in the field as well as acknowledged value for a stager who has worked tirelessly in the field.”  Professor John Ramsey said, “Credentials are about setting you apart, make you more employable, more valuable and knowledgeable.  Strong credentials trigger the magical feeling of achievement.” Rae added.

Since the inception of INhanceIT Home Staging in 2007, Connolly and her partner,CSP International Master Stager Courtney Schomburg have staged over 3,000 builder displays and re-sale properties.  The team specializes in full merchandising of builder models, vacant re-sale properties, along with re-styling for occupied properties and finish selections.  Connolly & Schomburg have the unique distraction of the only International Master designation holders in the state of Missouri and the only team with two principals who have earned the award.

Connolly’s award follows her extensive and impressive resume.  She is a member of the prestigious Institute of Residential Marketing.  She also holds the National Home Builder’s Association designations of MCSP (Master Certified Sales Professional), CMP (Certified Marketing Professional), and is a member of the Home Builder’s Association of Greater St. Louis and the St. Louis and St. Charles Association of REALTORS® and the St. Louis and St. Charles Women’s Council of REALTORS®.

More information about the International Masters Award is available online at www.StagingTraining.com.

Kiener Plaza To Reopen In May

Kiener Plaza To Reopen In May

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 15, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A popular attraction in downtown St. Louis is expected to reopen in the spring.

CityArchRiver officials announced that Kiener Plaza west of the Old Courthouse will reopen in May.  A more specific date for the reopening of the Museum of Westward Expansion this year is expected to be announced next month.  This is all part of the Gateway Arch grounds renovation project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Much of the remaining work for Kiener Plaza, which has been closed for over a year, involves landscaping.  Project organizers say we can expect to see more planting in the next couple of months.

Another upcoming milestone for the project is that rides to the top of the Arch are scheduled to resume in late March.  This will only be on the south tram as the north tram won’t be back in operation until late April.

The entire $380 million project which began in 2013, will be completed two years behind schedule.  The initial projected finish date was for 2015.

CityRiverArch’s vision for the project is to create a safer and more user-friendly experience for visitors.  This involves a new design connecting the park’s grounds with the museums.

The design begins with a new Park over the Highway that will, for the first time, allow visitors to walk from the Old Courthouse to the Arch grounds as well as to the riverfront on one continuous greenway.

The project was designed by world-renowned landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.  The firm’s design includes new spaces for events and public education, expanded museum space, additional park acreage and bicycle trails, children’s play areas, performance venue.

The project will also have a significant impact on the regional economy, according to CityRiverArch officials.

Officials say these changes will bring an added impact of $367 million and 4,400 permanent jobs to the region.  That’s the equivalent of one additional St. Louis Cardinals baseball season each year or more than four NCAA Final Four Tournaments.  In addition, the project will bring 530 construction jobs to the region over the next three years.

St. Louis Mayor stepping down

St. Louis Mayor

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) After a 16-year tenure leading the city of St. Louis through some excellent and turbulent times, Mayor Francis Slay recently announced he will be returning to practice law with Spencer Fane law firm in downtown St. Louis come the end of this April.  The law firm, ecstatic to be acquiring the renown gentleman who has single handedly overseen a rebound in the St. Louis economy, is grateful for Slay’s dedication and service to his community.

Frank Neuner, St. Louis Managing Partner of Spencer Fane, this morning stated, “We are honored to have Mayor Slay join Spencer Fane, and we look forward to the tremendous value his experience, perspective, and counsel will provide to our clients.”  It wasn’t just Neuner who made a statement to the press about Slay’s incoming position with the firm.  Pat Whalen, Chairman of Spencer Fane, also stated, “He is a visionary who helped shape St. Louis by strengthening its core and priming it for growth and sustained success through the future. We share the same passion as it relates to the outcomes we seek to achieve for our clients, and we are pleased to have the Mayor join us.”

At the firm, Slay will primarily focus on economic and real estate development, public finance, international commerce, regulatory work, and related business transactions.  No stranger to the realm of law and practicing law with St. Louis firms, Slay received his law degree from the Saint Louis University of Law.

I have been fortunate to form many friendship with Spencer Fane attorneys and staff and, in turn, I have come to know the firm as one that places a strong emphasis on protecting its culture, its people, and its collaborative approach to serving clients,” said Slay.

No information has been released yet for who will vie for the Mayoral vacancy.

St. Louis a viable option for first-time millennial buyers

US home sales shoot up to 10-year high

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Millennial Buyers – Where millennials are looking to make their first-time home purchase may actually surprise you today.  We often associate millennials with yuppie-obsessions and hipster-leanings, making Portland, Seattle, New York, Brooklyn, Austin, San Francisco, and more their ideal settling areas for furthering their “millennial” culture. But, that assumption is where many go very wrong today, unable to identify what millennials are truly after for setting up their first family home.

A pair of real estate studies released this week confirms that the majority of millennials want to live in the suburbs, raise a family, own dogs, etc.  Millennials have already started buying outside urban areas, and basing tier home-buying decisions mainly on affordability today.  Reports notably by Zillow and Harvard break with the stereotypes of America’s largest generation, namely that they prefer to rent because they favor experiences over building equity and want to live in urban environments.  Though millennials only make up 10 percent of the nation’s homeowners today, the majority who have made the leap decided to follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents.

Nearly half of all millennial U.S. homeowners were in the suburbs in 2016, 33 percent in an urban area and 20 percent in rural places, according to Zillow’s Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.  The report came to the conclusion by using more than 13,000 home-buyers, sellers, owners, and renters.  Of millennial buyers who moved in the past year, 64 percent stayed in the same city and just 7 percent moved to a different state.

The result is that affordability is definitely the #1 driving factor here for millennials, a generation that entered the economy during a regression after living at home into their mid 20s.  As such, St. Louis suburbs and other affordable locations are hot on millennial radars for first-time home purchases in the next year.