Tag - Property

The new normal: staying put

The new normal: staying put - STLRealEstate.News

May 17, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Staying Put – The ebb and flow of real estate norms and what’s expected in a given time-frame is constantly changing.  Sometimes, homeowners are eager to sell their home and upgrade in a house far away.  Other times, the urge to move isn’t so high.  It’s dependent upon real estate trends and financial circumstances at the time of the evaluation.  Today, rising interest rates are encouraging homeowners to renovate their homes instead of moving to a bigger place.

Homeowners are moving less, creating a drag on the economy, fewer commissions for real estate brokers and a brutally competitive market for the first-time home shoppers who are not able to land a house of their dreams in a price range they can actually afford today.  For most today, reported the New York Times, the desire to stay put began out of caution or necessity.  After the Great Recession, millions of homeowners lost out on their businesses and were forced to go into damage control.  Thinking about upgrading houses and moving was definitely not at the top of the list.

Even though the economy today has improved with unemployment below 5 percent and home prices are steadily climbing, homeowners with historically low mortgage rates do not want to take on the new interest rates that will come with new home mortgages.  Most Americans refinanced when mortgage rates were incomparably low.  Grabbing one today just wouldn’t compare.

Data shows that the median length of time people have owned their homes rose to 8.7 years in 2016, which is more than double what it had been 10-years prior.  Now that interest rates are being risen by the Fed, the housing market may face a problem called the lock-in effect: homeowners are reluctant to move, since moving entails taking out a mortgage at a much higher rate than what they have today.

Amazon to release Hazelwood decision

Amazon to release Hazelwood decision

HAZELWOOD, MO/May 16, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Amazon – Hazelwood has patiently awaited a response from Amazon.com regarding their decision to open a new distribution center in the Hazelwood Logistics Center.  To include more than just one distribution facility, the confirmation from Amazon would be huge for many reasons, and provide numerous, lucrative job openings sought after by local residents.  The online retail giant would occupy about 400,000 square feet spread over two buildings in the business park, which is being developed by Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development.

Prior to today, David Cox, an economic developer with the city of Hazelwood, reported to the St. Louis Business Journal that Amazon was indeed scouting the business park located near the intersection of Hazelwood Logistics Center Drive and Lindbergh Boulevard.  The center, according to Cox, would be a last mile distribution center where products can go from the warehouse right to the front door that day.  Amazon already owns two large fulfillment facilities in Edwardsville that opened in 2016.

NorthPoint Development did not respond with a comment at this time.

Hazelwood’s City Council this past April approved issuance of $25 million in industrial revenue bonds that will allow NorthPoint to buy construction materials without having to pay a sales tax for Buildings V and VI of the development.  Building V, according to local officials, is planned to be a $148,853-square-foot facility with Building VI expected to be 269,545 square feet.  JLL’s David Branding, a leasing agent for NorthPoint at Hazelwood Logistics Park, stated that there was no deal for them to report on quite yet.

This past January, Amazon released a statement indicating their intention to grow the company’s full-time U.S.-based workforce from 180,000 last year to more than 280,000 by the middle of 2018.  Most of these jobs are to be created from the new fulfillment centers that the company is erecting around the country.

$90 million Rehab Planned for Old St Luke’s Hospital Building

$90 million Rehab Planned for Old St. Luke's Hospital Building

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 16, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Old St Luke’s – A development power team has big plans for a 1904 building on Delmar Boulevard that once housed the old St. Luke’s Hospital.

Build-A-Bear CEO Maxine Clark and Clayco Inc. plan to turn the building into apartments and collaborative office space for nonprofit organizations.  Plans call for 180,000 square feet of office space and 160 apartments with storefront businesses on the ground floor.  Possible neighborhood businesses include a bank, a child care center, restaurants or a gym.

The building is just on the north side of the dividing line between University City and the city of St. Louis. In a nod to the location, developers are calling the complex Delmar DevINe.  The campus was home to St. Louis ConnectCare, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

It’s hoped that the development will be a nonprofit version of the Cortex Innovation Community, a tech hub which has brought new life to part of Midtown and the Central West End.  Clark hopes that the new development will be a collaborative space for nonprofits and community organizations that seek to improve the lives of families in the city.

Earlier this year, the city solicited bids to redevelop the complex.  The Clark/Clayco proposal was one of two submitted to the St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, owner of the former hospital.

St. Luke’s moved to Chesterfield in 1975.  Areas such as the Central West End and Delmar Loop thrived while the building sat vacant for long periods of time.  As more Delmar Loop development has migrated east, the building’s location is more attractive, according to developers.

Plans are for small apartments that are affordable to young professionals and employees of nonprofits.  Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with initial occupancy available in early 2019.
By Kathy Bratkowski

Millennials are big on home renovations

Architect couple turns crumbling building into modern home 

May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Generally today, millennials are choosing to settle down and become first-time homebuyers at a much older age than previous generations.  Because of this leaning, when millennials do finally decide to call an American suburb their home, they’re investing much more in renovations from their saved capital.  Since their first-time home shopping carries much more weight with it than when Baby Boomers checked out starter homes at ages 22 to 24, millennials are packing a serious monetary punch when it comes to creating the first home of their dreams.

This big pending on renovations is a positive sign of confidence in the housing market, stated the Houzz & Home Survey report, released this week.  The survey stated that 25 to 24 year olds spent an average of $26,200 on home renovations last year.  That’s a 7 percent increase than what they spent on upgrades in 2015.  First-time homebuyers spent $33,800, representing 22 percent more.  Looking at the entire age bracket, spending was consistent year over year, according to the release report on residential remodeling, building, and decorating activity.

“It’s a pretty strong reflection of the housing market condition,” said Nino Satchinava, principal economist at Houzz.  “The home renovation market has mostly recovered, and is in line with the prerecession peak.”

Looking at the entire home-buying population of America, those 55 and older are still outspending millennials at a rate of nearly three times as much.  Overall, homeowners who pursued renovations and upgrades last year spent, on average, $60,400, which was just a slight increase from the average of $59,800 in 2015.  When looking further at what kinds of renovations were performed in the last year, projects like kitchen, bathrooms, and exterior features led the way, which, according to Sitchinava, indicate that times are very good.  This coming year is set to take the spending even farther.

More new homes are on the way

More new homes are on the way

May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The inventory of available homes in the United States is at a historic low.  The lack of availability has squeezed many home-buyers out of the market, unable to compete with the rising real estate rates and quick closing requirements.  Realtor.com this week published an article stating that buyers need to just hang in there a little longer.  More new homes are finally on the way.

Buying a home today isn’t exactly an easy, inexpensive process.  Buyers need to throw down a down payment, secure financing, fill out more paperwork than is necessary, and have their offer accepted ahead of the 7 other competitors typical on every available home today.  Plus, not to mention, that requires buyers to find their dream home in the first place – one that is even up for sale.  Naturally, the lack of supply and the mounting demand has worked its way into the construction industry.

Builders secured more permits this past March than in the past previous years.  About 1.26 million stepped up to the plate to help the construction of the sorely needed, brand new living spaces that millions want today.  According to the seasonably adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, these permits are a strong indication that millions are already at work to help stabilize the incredibly lopsided housing market.

The March findings were a 3.6% increase from February 2017, and a 17% jump from March 2016.  “Its good news, confirming that new construction is continuing to rise,” said Realtor.com’s Senior Economist, Joseph Kirchner.  “That’s important, because it means it will help to relieve the nation’s housing shortage.”  More options for condos and rentals are already expected to hit the market as soon as this summer and fall.

Mistakes to look out for as an American first-time apartment renter

Mistakes to look out for as an American first-time apartment renter

May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Millennials are pouring out of higher educational institutions today looking for apartment rental options. Passionate about not returning home to live with mom and dad, even though millennials are living home longer than any other generation, the average college grad today is sifting the expensive apartment waters – and they’re choppy. Finding an apartment after college is a big undertaking; it can be hard to know where to start when looking through a stack of listings and comparing it to the lackluster income from an entry-level position.

In order to avoid falling victim to some of the common traps when first looking for an apartment, check out these pointers provided by Realtor.com:

1. Preparation
Contrary to most things in life, realtors actually recommend starting the apartment search only 3 to 4-weeks prior to move-in. By starting the search months in advance, the likelihood of finding a dream apartment and losing it to another tenant with an earlier move-in date increases.

2. Underestimating costs
The safest bet here is to always overestimate what the costs are going to be at the end of the month. It’s best to factor in rent, utilities, transportation, travel fees, food, and other predictable expenses. When you get to a total, inflate it to know what your possible ceiling could be when crosschecked with your income.

3. Only considering rent
To continue the previous point’s topic, there are many more expenses that go into living in an apartment than simply rent. If your paycheck is just barely covering your rent, let alone unforeseen expenses, you may want to consider a living space more complementary to your income.

4. Credit check
Unfortunately, most landlords require either a credit check on yourself or on your parents if they are your guarantors. It’s best to start the conversation with your parents now about what kind of credit they have.

Pulte Homes Lays Off Employees

American homebuilders activity slows in March

St. Louis Market Losing Pulte Homes and Employees Lose Jobs

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) The recent announcement that PulteGroup, the Atlanta-based parent company of Pulte Homes, is leaving the St. Louis market is not good news for the company’s workers.  More than 20 Chesterfield-based Pulte Home’s employees will be laid off after the company exits the market toward the end of 2018.

“Following a detailed review of our competitive position, we have determined that the market dynamics are not conducive to running a return focused business,” said Pulte Group Director of St. Louis Operations, Jeff Lear.  A letter sent from Lear sent to trade partners expressed that the home-builder would continue building out its remaining communities, which he anticipated being complete by the end of 2018.

In January 2017 the company’s newest project Skyline at Central Park Townes in Richmond Heights was unveiled to the public.  It’s advertised as offering a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle in bustling Richmond Heights, just 10 miles from downtown St. Louis in the highly regarded Clayton school district.  The starting price for each of the 42 innovative town-homes offering a variety of open floor plans with unique and flexible space is $414,990.

Has the value of your St Louis home recovered from the recession?

St. Louis real estate prices are up

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Millions nationwide are still looking at home values well below what they were at before the 2008 Housing Crisis.  The percentage of homes in the St. Louis metro specifically that have reached their pre-recession values vary widely, with a range of just 1 percent in East St. Louis to 65 percent in Edwardsville.  This information, released by real estate data platform Trulia, confirms that some of St. Louis is on its way to normalcy while the lower socioeconomic portions are still suffering greatly.

Examples of the recovery rates in the greater St. Louis region include 2 percent in Webster Groves, 7 percent in Belleville, 28 percent in St. Louis, 41 percent in Clayton, 49 percent in Frontenac, 63 and percent in Glendale.  On Trulia, there is an interactive map that enables site visitors to plug in their zip code and receive the information they seek regarding home values in specific locations.

For a national comparison, the market is still suffering as well, with only 34 percent of homes surpassing their pre-recession values today.  However, in places like Denver and San Francisco, every neighborhood has made a full recovery.  But, in places like Tucson and Las Vegas, only 3 percent have made that recovery.

To come to the findings, Trulia studied property-level home value recovery nationally and in the 100 largest markets by comparing the nominal value of each single-family home, townhouse, condo, or coop using home value estimates.  The studied range extended from March 1, 2007 to the nominal peak of value of that home before the recession Dec 1, 2009.  Overall, it looks like St. Louis is fairing somewhere in the middle of the resulting trends.  Collectively, the country is still working hard to achieve pre-recession home value levels, and St. Louis is well on its way to closing the gap in coming years.

St. Louis added to Better Homes and Garden franchise

St. Louis added to Better Homes and Garden franchise

ST. LOUIS, MO/May 5, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, a national, full-service, experienced real estate brokerage constantly determined to research and develop new ways for expanding its clientele, recently excitedly announced they have added their latest St. Louis, Missouri-based brokerage, Properties West, to their expanding franchise network.  The St. Louis office, now called Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Preferred Properties, led by brokers Charles and Laura Davis, is poised to take on any kind of request or demand in the greater metropolitan region.

The two owners went on to proclaim that, “It is rare to find a partnership with a completely aligned set of values, but that is how we immediately felt with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,” said Laura Davis.   “We are going to continue to support our affiliated agents as we always have as a small company, but with great resources from a recognized brand.”

Better Homes chimed in by stating that they are constantly searching for promising real estate agents who will carry the energy and determination of the brand into the future.  Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, stated, “The mindset is fully embraced by the entire company and makes them a perfect fit for our network.  We are thrilled to be working together to serve the St. Louis region, and cannot wait to get to work.”

As a newly formed entity, the team stated they will move the operation into a new location sometime this month.  At this time, they have not disclosed information regarding where they plan to move, what sized office, and what neighborhoods they have in mind.  Adding to a recent trend in St. Louis, this is one of many partnerships announced thus far in 2017 – the region has proved popular for real estate partnership formations this year.

Sellers market gets even stronger as spring season hits U.S.

Buyers struggling to find homes in St Louis real estate market

May 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Sellers Market – We’ve just endured the roughest months of the year for real estate and we’re staring down the most popular time of the year to list homes, buy homes, and survey future rentals for the year ahead.  In case the stringent supply of homes wasn’t tight enough during the long winter months, it’s about to get even tighter with spring season in full swing.  CNBC reports that even though more homes are coming onto the market for the springtime, they’re off just as fast, leaving the supply of homes as problematic as ever.  Home prices have now surpassed their last peak, and at the entry level, where demand is highest, sellers are firmly in the driver’s seat.

“I’ve been selling real estate for 25 years and this is the strongest seller’s market I have ever seen in my entire real estate career,” said David Fogg, a real estate agent at Keller Williams in Burbank, California.  “A lot of our sellers are optimistically pricing their homes in today’s market, and I have to say in most cases we’re getting the home sold anyway.”

Fogg went on to recall a listing of his that included a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,240-square-foot home in Burbank for $789,000 and had three offers before the first open house even hit that Sunday.  In the Los Angeles market today, the price of $789,000 is considered an entry-level home price.  The open house, much to the buyers’ dismay, brought over 100 people to the residence.  All of them appeared weary of the competition.

Typically, many agents have their clients list homes and apartments a little bit below the asking price to get a lot of attention.  This attention is getting homeowners 12 to 16 bids on the location in a matter of days. Properties sold in March were on the market for only 34 days, down from 45 in February and 47 in March of 2016.