STL Real Estate News

Category - Residential Real Estate

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

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

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.09 percent

30-year mortgage rate

WASHINGTON/January 19, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) 30-Year Mortgage Rate — Long-term US mortgage rates marked their third week of declines this week, after snapping a nine-week run of increases.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans fell to an average 4.09 percent from 4.12 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 3.81 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.34 percent from 3.37 percent last week.

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Picture courtesy of KTUU.com

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bill aimed at first-time Nebraska homebuyers draws scrutiny

Nebraska homebuyers

LINCOLN, Neb./January 19, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — An effort to increase the number of first-time home-buyers in Nebraska faced heavy scrutiny Wednesday from lawmakers who suggested the proposal could lead to abuse.

The measure presented to a legislative committee would allow residents to earmark up to $150,000 to help their children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries to cover a down payment and closing costs on their first home.

Participants could only contribute post-tax dollars to the account, but once the money is deposited, any investments made would be exempt from state taxes until the total amount reaches the $150,000 cap. If the bill passes, Nebraska would join at least eight other states and the District of Columbia with similar programs.

Sen. Joni Craighead of Omaha said she introduced it in hopes that it would encourage young people to settle in Nebraska. Craighead acknowledged that her proposal needs work but argued that it would ultimately help the economy. The bill is backed by the state’s banking and real estate industries, which stand to benefit from more residents buying homes.

“This is a way to keep our kids in the state,” Craighead said in testimony to the Legislature’s Revenue Committee.

Some senators said the bill could favor wealthy families who can afford to contribute money to the accounts, and might help some people avoid paying taxes.

“In the end, the folks who are getting the most out of this are the folks who have fairly well-to-do grandmas, grandpas, moms and dads,” said Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus.

Schumacher said the bill could encourage people to invest money in the account, buy a home, and then quickly sell it to dodge their taxes. He also questioned how the state would enforce the requirement that participants withdraw money from their accounts once their value exceeds $150,000.

Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha questioned whether the bill could contribute to inflation by providing buyers with easier access to money. He pointed to college and health care costs, which have soared in part because students can borrow money and patients have little incentive to shop around for medical care.

“If we provide more money into the stream, are we just raising the cost of housing?” he said.

Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte said he would have preferred a bill that lets people deposit pre-tax dollars into the account, which would allow them to pay less in taxes by lowering their taxable income. Craighead, who works as a realtor, introduced a measure in 2015 that would have done so, but it died in committee.

“I don’t see many average working people or young couples doing this,” Groene said.

Craighead said the bill was intended to benefit “normal people” rather than the wealthy. She said she was open to adding income limits to the proposal to keep it focused on middle-class residents.

The measure could help boost Nebraska’s home ownership rate, which has slid to a 50-year low in recent years in part because millennials aren’t buying, said Arla Meyer, a Lincoln-based realtor.

“We’ve got to either get proactive or lag behind and see what ends up coming our way,” she said.

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The bill is LB15

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GRANT SCHULTE, Associated Press

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Picture courtesy of LEAD Technologies Inc.

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Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter at —https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte

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

Carson questioned about housing views, experience

Carson questioned about housing views

WASHINGTON (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson defended his experience and credentials Thursday to serve as the nation’s new housing secretary, turning to his life story to show that he understands the needs of the country’s most vulnerable.

President-elect Donald Trump wants Carson, a former White House rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a sprawling agency with 8,300 employees and a budget of about $48 billion.

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, House and Urban Affairs Committee, the famed neurosurgeon talked about growing up in inner-city Detroit with a single mother who had a third-grade education and worked numerous jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

“I have actually in my life understood what housing insecurity was,” he told lawmakers.

Democrats in the GOP-run Senate questioned his experience. Carson said one of the things he’s learned in private life as part of various boards is how to find a good CEO. He said a good CEO doesn’t necessarily know everything about running a particular business, but he knows how to select people and use their talents.

Carson said HUD’s rental assistance programs are “essential” to millions of Americans. The department, he said, has a lot of good programs, but “the progress perhaps has not been as great as one would like to see.”

He added: “We don’t want it to be way of life. … We want it to be a Band-Aid and a springboard to move forward.”

Ranking Committee Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pressed Carson about whether he could guarantee that no HUD money would benefit Trump or his family, which has made its fortune in real estate.

“I will not play favorites for anyone. … I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people,” Carson said.

Carson displayed a softer approach toward the role of the federal government than he sometimes did on the presidential campaign trail. When reminded that he had called for across-the-board agency spending cuts of 10 percent during the campaign, Carson noted that he later modified that amount to 1 percent.

Carson talked about a more “holistic approach” to helping people and developing “the whole person.” For example, he said, HUD could work with other agencies such as the Education and Labor Departments on better access to a quality education and apprenticeship programs to train workers.

Several former HUD secretaries, Democrats and Republicans, wrote the committee in support of Carson. The letter was signed by Henry Cisneros, secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Mel Martinez, Alphonso Jackson and Steven Preston, who worked for President George W. Bush.

The soft-spoken Carson, the only black major-party candidate in the 2016 presidential race, grew up poor. He attended Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School, and was the first African-American named as head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

In 1987, Carson pioneered surgery to separate twins joined at the back of the head. In 2013, he entered the national political spotlight when, during the National Prayer Breakfast, he railed against the modern welfare state. President Barack Obama was sitting just feet away.

Before Thursday’s hearing, Carson had said little publicly about federal housing issues. In a 2015 opinion piece, he criticized an Obama administration fair housing rule as government overreach. At his hearing Thursday, he told lawmakers he would work with local HUD officials to “make sure that fairness is carried out.”

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JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press

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Picture courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor

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Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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

Home builders on the move in West St. Louis County

Home builders

Home builders are growing in West St. Louis County with multiple new communities underway and more planned

ST LOUIS COUNTY/January 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Home builders in West St. Louis County are growing with multiple new communities that will help to meet the demand for homes in the St. Louis metro area.

However, there are challenges ahead as interest rates have began to rise and much uncertainty in the direction of our economy created by the new administration in Washington.

The new administration has created hope for better economic times many hoping that President-Elect, Donald Trump, pushes for tax bill changes that will have a positive impact on the real estate community.  That hope is justified considering he owns billions of dollars of real estate himself.  Its his expertise and fortune.

We will be writing about all new communities and the builders that help shape our community and future.  These are just a few of the communities that these builders and others are involved in.  However, we will be covering the rest over the next few weeks, in addition, to writing articles with more detail about each community, and builder.

This article features five communities involving seven different builders including prices ranging from the 200s to the 790s.  A price range for a variety of budgets:

Pictures courtesy of St. Louis Media, LLC

Schoettler Grove, Chesterfield, MO

Schoettler Grove, Chesterfield, MO

Cherry Hills, Wildwood, MO

Cherry Hills, Wildwood, MO

Wildwood Trails, Wildwood, MO

Wildwood Trails, Wildwood, MO

Main Stree Crossing, Wildwood, MO

Main Street Crossing, Wildwood, MO

The Arbors at Kehrs Mill, Chesterfield, MO

The Arbors at Kehrs Mill, Chesterfield, MO

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Contributing Editor: MWS

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Copyright 2016 K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Insider Q&A: Ryan Marshall, president and CEO of PulteGroup

PulteGroup

(AP)(STL.News) 2016 is shaping up as another solid year for the new-home market, as a stable job market and low interest rates help spur new-home construction to its highest level since before the Great Recession.

These trends are helping big homebuilders like Atlanta’s PulteGroup to thrive. PulteGroup’s profit jumped 24 percent through the first nine months of 2016 versus a year earlier, and sales rose even faster.

Yet new-home sales are running below their historic averages as housing continues to heal from the foreclosures and disruptions that led to the Great Recession at the end of 2007.

Chief Executive Ryan Marshall took over PulteGroup’s top job in September, after more than 15 years with the builder.

He spoke recently with The Associated Press about the builder’s outlook for 2017, as well as how millennials’ delayed entry to the home buying market is shaping the industry. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity:

Q: PulteGroup’s sales and orders are up sharply this year, as are earnings. You’ve been opening up more home communities. How is that shaping your view of how to approach 2017?

A: Housing demand clearly remains on a sustained path to recovery, even though it is still running roughly below the 650,000 new home sale average over the last 50 years.

There are a number of other factors that we think continue to support sustained growth in the housing industry. We have outstanding demographics. We have pent-up demand. Low inventory of both new and existing homes. And when you combine that with historically low interest rates, I think that combination creates an environment that’s going to be very favorable for our company.

Q: Which types of buyers are you catering to these days. And do you see any changes to that in the years ahead?

A: Our strategy is going to be to continue to have a balanced approach to who we’re serving.

This particular recovery was really led by the move-up buyer, but in the recent few months we’re starting to see very strong buying behavior from the first-time buyer as they re-enter the housing market.

Our research would tell us that as the millennial buyers are approaching the critical ages of 28, 29, 30, they’re behaving very similar to the way their parents behaved. They’re moving to the suburbs. They’re looking to have a home. They’re looking for schools. They’re looking for safety.

We are seeing that the millennials are becoming first-time buyers, just later in the cycle than what their predecessors did.

Q: What are you doing to specifically cater to first-time buyers?

A: One of the key strategies in the way that we’re buying land is to stay closer in to the city center. One example I’d give you is right here in Atlanta. We bought a Class C, kind of 1970s vintage apartment complex … We demolished it all and are now in the process of building four different product lines that range from high-density, single-family homes all the way up to condos.

It’s a strategy that we have deployed very effectively in a number of cities. It doesn’t work everywhere, but when you look at your major urban cities — Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston — those are all places where we have a very healthy in-town business that is catering to the millennial, and even the downsizer that wants to be in the middle of everything.

Q: What do you now see as the biggest challenge for the new-home market?

A: Land. Getting entitled land is as difficult as it’s ever been, so that’s certainly a constraint that’s keeping the industry somewhat in check and not allowing all of the demand that’s out there to be satisfied.

And we simply have not seen the return of labor that left the industry to go find other work during the housing downturn.

There are not a lot of plumbers, drywallers, roofers, concrete workers, etc., with the skill sets that we need in the housing industry.

Q: Why haven’t more workers returned to the construction industry?

A: There are some generational challenges. The millennials that are coming out of school with a heavy load of student debt, I don’t know that for very many of them one of the careers they’re considering is something in one of the trades, which I think is a simple demographic, attitudinal shift that we’ve seen in the United States.

And the last piece is really about immigration.

The country’s immigration policies have not made it very easy to attract labor from other countries outside of the United States.

Q: What about affordability? Many millennials are saddled with student loan debt, which makes it more difficult to make a down payment. Is that a concern?

A: What we saw in this recovery because of tight supply, prices rose quickly because there was simply no supply there. And the growth in home prices has outpaced wage increases.

What we’ll need to see over time is the growth in wages will need to keep up with the growth in home prices because certainly affordability has been stretched.

Interest rates are low, and that’s helping to keep that equation in balance and make the overall value work.

We like the environment that we’re operating in, but we certainly acknowledge that we need to see some wage growth to keep up with the average sales price growth.

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ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

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Picture courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

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Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

STLRealEstate.Directory announces their first member – Elite Exteriors, LLC

Elite Exteriors, LLC

STLRealEstate.Directory’s first member – Elite Exteriors, LLC

St. Louis, MO: (STLRealEstate.News) Elite Exteriors, LLC – STLRealEstate.Directory is excited to announce a new member to their membership directory.  STLRealEstate.Directory is a member of the STL.Properties family of St. Louis real estate sites designed to connect consumers with local St. Louis real estate professionals and service providers.

Elite Exteriors, LLC is a St. Louis based company with more than 20 years experience.  Scott Fink is the president and founder of Elite Exteriors.  They have been in business for more than 20 years and have an A+ Rating with the BBB.  They are a full service remodeling commercial and residential licensed contractor specializing in offering roofing, siding, windows replacement, and decks.  If your repairs are insurance related they will handle all aspects of the claim filing process.

They joined STLRealEstate.Directory to enhance their online visibility and to attract new customers.  They offer free estimates and are certified by many manufacturers to assure they provide top quality service to their customers.

Contact information:

Elite Exteriors, LLC

STLRealEstate.Directory Listing

1933 Union Road

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: (314) 846-3355

Email: Scott@EliteExteriors.net