Tag - real estate

Gen X having a considerable impact on American real estate

corporate office relocation

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 23, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t noticed that 90s fashion is back in style, with chokers and Doc Martens lining the shelves of clothing stores today.  Celebrities are even sporting Nirvana T-Shirts with black lipstick.  This was the thriving time of Gen-X, and they’re having their impact on real estate now, too.  The generation was the only one to buy more homes last year than it did in the previous one, according to the latest National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey.

The survey went through 5,500 home buyers who purchased a house between July 2015 and June 2016 answered the 132-question sheet.  Their responses were compared with results from the previous 12-month period.  The people falling into the category of 37 to 51, went from making just 26% of home buyers to purchasing about 28% of properties.

Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke or Realtor.com stated that Gen-X is the group that suffered the most during the great recession.  “They were entering home-ownership at the peak of the housing bubble and were also the ones most likely to suffer job losses.”  When the housing market crashed, many of Gen-X members were suddenly underwater, owing a lot more than they were bringing in.  Since they owed more on their homes than they were worth, they were essentially stuck.

But, today, with a stronger economy, housing values, and a job market, the tide has begin to turn for this generation. Gen-X is in their prime earning years and most of them have families.  They’re in the process of moving to better neighborhoods and school districts to give their kids the life they want to provide.  They’re no longer stuck like they were 10 years ago.  There are home options and affordable suburbs just outside of every big American city today.  Things are looking up.

Flat sales rock Austin

Austin, TX

March 22, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Has activity finally peaked in the highly sought after Austin market?  Flat sales as of recently have indicated a cooling trend in the Texas metropolis.  February displays a market correction after two straight years of record Central Texas home sales.  Single-family home sales across the metro inched up 0.9 percent to 1,829 last month, compared with the same month a year prior, stated the Austin Board of Realtors in a release put out this past Tuesday.  At the same time, it is worth noting that home inventory is still historically low at 2.1 months, up form 2 months in February 2016.  Real estate experts state that a supply of at least six months is what’s required for having a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Sales volume decreased year-over-year in many area cities last month. Austin’s home market is just finally beginning to catch up with itself, experts proclaimed this week.  “The Central Texas housing market is just now beginning to slow after years of unprecedented sales growth,” said Brandy Buthrie, the 2017 president of the Austin Board of Realtors.  “It’s important to remember that current figures are being compared to very strong housing market activity in 2016, so a decline in home sales growth does not automatically mean that the market is softening.”

Others proclaimed that local market trends could also be affected by national monetary policy with the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the benchmark interest rate, which will subsequently increase mortgage rates in the short term.  These rates will slowly creep up throughout the rest of 2017, definitely deterring some home-buyers away from areas that were a budget reach.

Despite the changes, homes still remain relatively affordable in Austin, despite the massive demand.  It will be interesting to see if Austin joins the likes of Boston, New York, and San Francisco in upcoming years.

Retailers continue to try and compete with Amazon.com

Amazon.com

March 22, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) It’s been a rough few years for retail stores unable to compete with the rise of online shopping and the domination of Amazon.com.  The mammoth delivery platform is able to promise consumers same-day delivery on products they can purchase right from the click of a mouse.  The convenience is unmatched, and more on-the-go individuals are opting for the Amazon experience over any other type of retail purchasing.  As a result, retailers nationwide are closing down and selling property, especially American malls.  It’s not a pretty site, but it’s one that is a daily reality unfortunately today.

The problem is that Amazon has made major investments in its logistics networking, buying 1M SF distribution centers, closer-in 500K SF fulfillment centers and a wide network of last-mile depots where products are taken to their destination.  It’s also planning to increase its vehicle delivery network as it aims to be on par with FedEx and UPS.  Amazon has been able to make these investments because the company’s investors provide it with the capital to not worry about the short-term effects.  Today, the company can guarantee free, two-day shipping to 65 million Amazon Prime customers, and offer same-day delivery in a few dozen markets, making it even harder for traditional retailers to keep up.

Mid-size to large retailers are struggling to keep up with their expansion rates.  For most stores, the first step to drawing people away from Amazon and into their physical stores is to offer in-store pickup for online purchases.  But, offering this service requires more labor demands and having a round-the-clock staff waiting to present this kind of service.

Even more, these stores know they have to provide at-home delivery as well.  They simply don’t have the network Amazon does, so they are trying their best to come in second place.

Real estate agents still relevant despite Internet

Real estate agents

March 21, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The Age of the Internet has disrupted life has we know it.  Every single industry has been streamlined and digitized to benefit from the productivity available to us when using the Internet.  The amount of change and growth that has hit our country in the last 20 years is equivalent to decades of change before that.

But, despite all these changes created from the world of digital, one thing still remains: the human-to-human connection element.  This is the very element that ensures realtors are still just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

Steve Murray, president of consulting firm Real Trends, has been tracking for 40 years how U.S. real estate agents do their jobs.  Over the past decade, more real estate information is available to everyday people now more than ever; leading one to believe the demand for realtors would go down.  Real Trends has found, however, as new home-buying season kicks off shortly, one thing remains unchanged: the traditional 5 to 6 percent commission paid to real estate agents when a home sells.

If anything, Murray announces, the average commission paid to a real estate agent has gone up slightly since 2005.  In 2016, it stood at 5.12 percent.  “There’s not a shred of evidence that the Internet is having an impact,” said Murray.

Experts have been predicting the demise of real estate agents for years.  Back in 1997, people started claiming that real estate agents would be insignificant with the rapid expansion of technology today.  Fast-forward 20 years, and their relevance is more prominent now more than ever.  Despite Redfin, Trulia, and Zillow, though people are able to get their hands on listing information and prices, those apps aren’t able to provide the most crucial element of all: one-on-one human interaction and conversation.  It clearly matters.

St. Louis residents to vote on safety tax increases

safety tax increases

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis doesn’t have the safest city reputation throughout the country.  After the Ferguson shooting and subsequent rioting, the city is in need of a little law facelift in the national media’s eyes.  Local communities are all-too-aware of this, and want to put some more of their taxes into police and safety spending this year.  The topic is open for an April 4 vote on the matter.  Up for discussion is a series of tax increases to boost spending on public safety.  There’s a wholesome consensus that police and fire departments need the extra money, and various spending measures are being put out to voters in specific municipalities to see what they have to say.

For St. Louis County in particular, citizens will be able to vote on what is called Proposition P, in which the funding would come through a sales tax.  The amount would be a half-cent, bringing the base sales tax rate to 7.613 percent.  The funding from this tax, which is expected to be $80 million in one year, will be given to the St. Louis County police and other municipalities based out of the region.  In particular, $46 million will be given to the police officers to increase officer pay and purchase equipment like body and dashboard cameras.  The remaining $34 million will be distributed out to communities.

Close to St. Louis, Crestwood residents will get a different proposition, called Proposition C, which will get its funding through a property tax.  The tax will be 45 cents, bringing the rate to about 70 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.  The proposition is meant to bolster the city’s general fund, which has lost millions of dollars since Crestwood Mall closed in 2013.  Crestwood is currently running a $525,000 deficit.

Will you be voting on either of these propositions this April?  Let us know!

St. Louis Metro Transit System makes case for federal money

St. Louis Metro Transit System makes case for federal money

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 20, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) It was a big week for the St. Louis Metro Transit System as the group traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby the current presidential administration and fellow lawmakers for steering federal money their way to fund upcoming projects. Headed by John Nations, the group feels confident they will get their fair share of money after Trump completed his recent address to Congress asking for a trillion dollar infrastructure package. It’s no secret the present administration cares about infrastructure, and the St. Louis Metro Transit System wants to take advantage of that.

“One thing about President Trump that we all know is he was a real estate developer in New York and understands how important infrastructure is for our regions,” said Nation. Nation went on to say he thinks a federal transportation program that Congress and the Trump administration can agree on is critical to Metro’s planned expansion of the St. Louis light rail system. “In order for any expansion to happen, it would certainly require participation of federal funding on a capitol project like that.”

Presently, Nations and representatives from St. Louis are in Washington for the American Public Transportation Association Legislative Conference.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) singled out the St. Louis Metro System in 2016 for having an exemplary bus system. The St. Louis group a year prior released a report that shows investment in city transit can yield 50,731 jobs per $1 billion invested, and offers a 4 to 1 economic return. The St. Louis Metro System wants to rebuild the Merchants Bridge, which carries freight rail traffic over the Mississippi River between two states. Nations feels confident that this kind of investment will fit nicely with the Republican lawmakers in Washington looking for a good construction project to subsidize.

Nations was a ten-year Republican mayor of the St. Louis suburb: Chesterfield.

Local political opposition to interfere with community activities

Local political opposition to interfere with community activities

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 19, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Like any city, St. Louis is home to healthy political opposition that sways back and forth between Republican and Democrat from time to time.  At this point in time, the majority Republican control over the legislature has proposed two separate changes that some locals argue would affect the community fun and entertainment for members.

The first controversial proposal, to keep the minimum wage where it presently is, has left many upset over the refusal to change the minimum wage with inflation.  Republicans argue that this way, more businesses will be encouraged to settle down in St. Louis and set up shop.  Democrats argue though that is all fine and dandy, there won’t be any employees available to work for the businesses, and they’ll eventually fail.

The next controversial topic, a restriction on the funds raised for the St. Louis Zoo and other municipal museums, has many in outrage as they are cherished staples of the St. Louis region.  A local resident this week argued that the St. Louis Forest Park attractions have been financed through gifts and real estate taxes on city and county residents and commercial entities.  There is no need to mess with their funding and public access.

The result is quite the debate over landmark importance and other rumblings of what businesses should pay their employees.  A group of individuals backing the Republicans want more revenue pouring into the city via business so that real estate value goes on.  The people on the flip side want St. Louis to remain historically significant with educational landmarks that attract tourists through an entertainment funnel.

What say you about the debacle? Would you rather have the price tag attached to your property increase, or be known for a city that stayed true to its principles and arts funding?  Stay tuned.

Soulard’s Restaurant suffers devastating fire

Soulard's Restaurant

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 18, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A historic restaurant, in a historic building in the historic district of Soulard burned Friday, March 17, 2017 at approximately 6:00 pm.  St. Louis’ finest, The St. Louis Fire Department responded to the alarm preserving the structure of the building, but the inside appeared to be an unconfirmed total loss.

The establishment is known as Soulard’s Restaurant and Bar located at 1731 South 7th, St. Louis, MO.  Soulard’s has been in business for more than 40 years according to the establishment’s website.

According to an employee, they were cleaning backed up grease and food and a fire started quickly spreading.  Employees vacated the facility to safety after calling 911.

According to the company’s website, they call the fire “devastating.”  Being present for the tragedy their description is a reasonable one.  They have not provided any further details.

Tim Badock is the owner of Soulard’s Restaurant & Bar.  Another member of the Badock family, Dan Badock, owner of Lewis & Clark restaurant located in St. Charles, MO suffered damages from a fire on March 8, 2017.

Friends interviewed at the scene felt confident that Badock would reopen after repairs are made stating that Badock is a dedicated restaurateur, however, that has not yet been confirmed by Badock.

Soulard’s Restaurant is considered a fine dining steakhouse with seafood options.  Their online reviews range, but it is around a 4 to 4.5 star rated restaurant with a long history.  Certainly, many local residents will be hoping for further information about Badock plans.

Pictures and video courtesy of St. Louis Media, LLC

Sellers becoming more selective in the St. Louis seller’s market

St. Louis sellers market

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 18, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) It was only a matter of time before sellers started to take advantage of their seller’s market in St. Louis today.

Barry Upchurch, president of St. Louis Realtors, sat down this week to explain the seller’s market hold on St. Louis and how sellers are taking advantage of their positioning.  “It is an undoubted seller’s market today, as we are seeing multiple contracts on a home and condo when they come onto the market,” said Upchurch.  “Since seller’s have such a hold, they are becoming more picky with terms and conditions, like obtaining bulletproof pre-approval letters.  This all points to the fact that buyers need an excellent negotiator in their corner.”

Upchurch did argue that it could be interesting to see which way the central corridor in St. Louis will go this spring.  He noted that inventory is definitely low, and although sellers consider themselves on top of the world today, buyers are starting to get selective about their purchasing decisions as well.

“There may be low inventory in the Central West End, but buyers are starting to be more selective in their decisions early in 2017, another good reason to consider realtors when weathering this hot-and-cold market,” said Upchurch.

All local realtors do agree that now is definitely the time to act as the economy heats up this year with the Fed increasing interest rates.  The bargain exchanges that are occurring in St. Louis right now won’t be the same bargains a year from now.  “Now is definitely the time to act for people who are looking for the real estate steal of the century,” said Upchurch.

It should definitely be interesting to watch the course of the St. Louis real estate market throughout 2017.  One thing is for sure: the competitive interest is a good sign for the health of the region.

2017 is quite the seller’s market in St. Louis

2017 is quite the seller’s market in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO/March 17, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) All signs pointed towards another seller’s market year in St. Louis for 2017, but local realtors are still surprised at just how seller-centric the market is shaping up to be.  The downtown St. Louis city condo market “took off like a rocket ship” by doubling the sales volume for the first two months of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016.  That’s a pretty staggering increase, noted Barry Upchurch, president of St. Louis Realtors.

“Not only did the dollar per square foot of condos increase – from $124 per square foot to $130 per square foot for the first two months – but also the median sale prices held at $216,000, as consumers sought slightly smaller condo units averaging around 1,500 square feet compared to last year’s 1,610 square feet,” said Upchurch.

Though, for certain portions of the city, the story is not the same.  Upchurch confirmed that the Central West End (CWE) area, another key anchor of the central corridor, had the dollar per square foot dropped from $205 to $194 so far this month.  “Most significantly, the average square footage of condos dropped from 1,833 to1,471, again showing the consumers want smaller living spaces for a slightly lesser sale price as interest rates start to move upward,” he said.

Another trend to notice is that the sale of single-family residential home sales was cut in half the first two months of 2017 when compared to 2016, with the median sale price dropping significantly.  Though, Upchurch noted, this is the slowest real estate time of the year, and with spring approaching, the median prices are sure to spike upward again.

From an overall perspective, Upchurch noted that the central corridor had nearly 400 single-family homes and condos that were absorbed by the market over the last year, ending in the month of February 2017.