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Amant’s Floor Care to celebrate 48 years, offering discount

Amant's Floor Care

Amant’s Floor Care is celebrating 48 years making them the oldest family owned full service floor cleaning company in St. Louis

WILDWOOD, MO/January 14, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Amant’s Floor Care is celebrating their 48th anniversary according to a press release distributed January 11, 2017.

The company was founded on carpet cleaning in 1969 by Steven Amant.  Today, the company is in the hands of his son, Kevin Amant and offers floor cleaning services including stone floor cleaning, which includes marble, granite, and terrazzo, ceramic tile and grout, vinyl floor and wood floors cleaning and sealing.

To celebrate their anniversary, Amant’s is offering a 20% discount to customers in the Wildwood, MO area for any service offered by Amant’s.  This discount is available through winter 2017 only.

Additionally, new customers can download an additional 10% off coupon from Amant’s website.

All of Amant’s carpet cleaning systems are high powered, state-of-the-art, truck mounted systems that provide the best carpet cleaning results available.  More importantly, the cleaners used to clean carpets are pet and family friendly/safe.

Most of their technicians have been with the company on average of 19+ years and all are certified.

Amant’s is an Angie’s List Super Service Award in both carpet cleaning and hard surface cleaning.  They have been a recipient of this award for many years.

Furthermore, Amant’s is the oldest family owned full service floor cleaning company in the St. Louis area.  They are properly bonded and insured for your protection.  They offer a customer satisfaction guarantee that customers appreciate.

Contact information:

Amant’s Floor Care

Attention: Kevin Amant

17005 Manchester Rd

Wildwood, MO 63040

Phone: (636) 458-2500

Email: info@amantsfloorcare.com

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Disclosure: Amant’s Floor Care is affiliated with K Amant, LLC and STLRealEstate.News

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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  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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.

Microbrewery coming to the Ellisville area

Microbrewery coming to Ellisville, MO

Microbrewery coming to Ellisville, MO

ELLISVILLE, MO/January 14, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A microbrewery is coming to the Ellisville, MO area according to local sources.  Apparently, the project has taken longer than expected, but from the appearance of the property located at 16050 Manchester Road in Ellisville progress is being made.

Chris Greer, the owner, is planning on producing 750 barrels yearly.  They have parking for 45 vehicles and capacity for 120 guests.  There will be a tasting room, but there will not be outdoor seating, televisions or entertainment.

The facility has been vacant for 10 years.  There is a loading dock in the back of the building making it a great property for a brewery.  The city approved it’s license approximately one year ago and now re-configuring and renovating the building is in progress.

There has been concern from the local residents about traffic.  Just half a mile east there is a new QT, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, and Arby’s that will bring additional traffic to an already busy intersection.

We recently published an article titled “Construction projects in Ellisville, MO” describing the various building projects around the community.  Certainly the city took the increase in traffic into consideration, but lets keep our fingers crossed that their estimates are correct.

This will be the first microbrewery in the Ellisville area.  While it is always good to see new construction it is equally satisfying to see preservation in progress as well.  The city of Ellisville is excited to see this property finally occupied after 10 years.  But will they have good beer?  Stay tuned!

Contact information:

Greer Brewery

16050 Manchester Road

Ellisville, MO 63011

Phone: N/A

Email: N/A

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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.

Cortex expansion on hold

ST LOUIS, MO/January 14, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Officials behind the development and construction of the Cortex innovation district have this week announced they are placing two components of its planned third phase of development on hold at this time.  The items that have been paused include a 200-unit apartment development and a 1,100-space parking garage.  The team behind the development did not elect to disclose what exactly has put them on hold at this time.

Nonetheless, the district’s first hotel, an Aloft boutique hotel by Starwood; a new 180,000-square-foot technology and lab building; and an approximately 13,500-square-foot innovation hall are still slated for the Cortex innovation district project.  With the announcement of the two component drops, the project is now expected to cost close to $100 million, reported Cortex CEO Dennis Lower.  Previously, the price tag was a lofty $170 million before the scale back.

Lower provided limited information, stating that the numbers for the garage and residential component just didn’t add up for their spending budget.  They are expecting the district to revive plans, in some iteration, later this year.

“The two developers on the projects continued to drill down on the design and cost and came to the conclusion that it was no longer financial feasible,” Lower said.  “So what we did was we un-bundled the entire project.  So now we’re looking at all options right now (for the parking and residential component) — everything from sites and funding mechanisms.  We’re sort of starting anew with it.”

St. Louis’ city Tax Increment Financing Commission last week approved a $9.5 million in TIF allocation to help pay for Cortex’s planned third phase.  This is not TIF money, however, as Cortex was approved for $167.7 million in TIF incentives back in 2012.  The $9.5 million for this project is coming out of that previous pot.  To date, Cortex has used about $75 million of the approved $167.7 million for previous projects.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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Picture courtesy of FUSE – Washington University in St. Louis

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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.

Clayton home to a female-only co-working space

female-only co-working space

Female-only co-working space in Clayton, MO

CLAYTON, MO/January 12, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Clayton will soon be home to a hip and hot women-only co-working space, following the national trend started in New York City.  Co-working spaces, a place for startups and entrepreneurs to rent out cheaper, more innovative spaces and work with other members of their co-working ecosystem, are sweeping the nation, and Clayton wanted to be part of the trend.

RISE Collaborative, which will open at 8820 Ladue Road later this quarter, will include 11 private offices, 3,000 square feet of open and flexible work-space, three conference rooms, a classroom, and free parking to go along with a coffee and snack bar.  Sounds pretty millennial, no?

According to a Bloomberg article published this past Wednesday, female-focused co-working spaces have become a niche in the greater co-working industry.  They are a place for women to network, collaborate, and share resources for further solidifying their prominence in the professional and working world.  RISE founder Stacy Taubman, on speaking to Bloomberg, stated that women are “craving community, connection, and confidence, and that’s exactly what we’re going to give them here in Clayton.”

Other female-only co-working spaces can be found in New York, Phoenix, southern California, Washington D.C., and Stockholm, making St. Louis a very trend-setting city at this time.

RISE has been having a good year so far, being named one of three finalists for the Business Journal’s Catapult Competition sponsored by MasterCard, a contest that aims to jump-start the winner’s idea through coaching and $10,000 in technology services from MasterCard.

RISE is also anticipating new funding that could come at some point this year and is also expected to help Taubman expand her co-working concept beyond just St. Louis.

“Our goal is to keep growing and spreading our co-working commitment to fostering female growth and collaboration both on a personal and professional level,” said Taubman.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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Picture courtesy of Philadelphia Magazine

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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.

Cabinet manufacturer opens design center in St. Louis

Cabinet manufacturer

CREVE COEUR, MO/January 11, 2016 (STLRealEstate.News) Creve Coeur just became home to a new design center with an online custom-cabinet manufacturing component, adding 98 new jobs to the St. Louis economy for 2017.  The announcement came from a release distributed by Gov. Jay Nixon’s office earlier this week, excited to let the public know about the employment opportunities and home customization options now at St. Louis’ fingertips.

Minnesota-based CliqStudios will invest $1.95 million in St. Louis County to open this official design center.  No exact location was disclosed at this time, citing the company’s ongoing lease negotiation process.

“We have excellent business real estate offerings and affordable housing.  The bottom line is that companies are recognizing that St. Louis County is a great place to live and work,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.

According to this same release, the Missouri Department of Economic Development offered CliqStudios a “strategic incentive package” to open in St. Louis.  CliqStudios, if it delivers on its job promises, has access to $795,584 through the Missouri Works program and $75,000 in training funds.

Sheila Sweeny, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, stated that CliqStudios choosing to put this new facility in St. Louis County shows that the region, with its centra location and great workforce, is able to successfully compete with other business hubs and innovative ecosystems around the nation today.

CliqStudios ships its custom-builds kitchen cabinets directly to customers.  The entity opened a design center in Indianapolis in November 2016 and has a 1.8-million-square-foot cabinet factory in Connersville, Indiana at this time.  This past Wednesday, the company made an announcement that they have appointed Tom Tiller as the CEO moving forward.  Outgoing CEO, Andy Juang, will remain onboard in the role as chairman.

CliqStudios was officially founded back in 2010, and has been expanding their operation ever since.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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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.

Arnold Palmer’s first signature course up for sale

Arnold Palmer's Indian Lake Golf Club

Arnold Palmer’s first signature course is on the market for sale

INDIAN LAKE, Pa. (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Arnold Palmer’s first signature golf course is up for sale.

Indian Lake Golf Club, an 18-hole course located about an hour southeast of the golfing great’s hometown of Latrobe, is looking for new ownership. Palmer, who won seven major titles before becoming a prominent golf course designer among other successful business ventures, died last September at age 87.

Palmer started work on Indian Lake in 1964, with a nine-hole course opening in 1967. A second nine was completed in 1995. Indian Lake was the first of over 250 courses designed by Palmer across the world. The 18-hole layout plays at 6,700 yards and was dedicated to Palmer in 2009.

Indian Lake Golf Club president Clair Gill said the club began to consider selling the complex shortly after Palmer’s death.

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Picture courtesy of Golf Advisor

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

St. Louis housing 2017 market outlook

St. Louis housing market prediction for 2017

ST LOUIS, MO/January 9, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) The housing market had a good 2016, and is expected to have an even better 2017 in St. Louis and the greater active U.S. real estate hotbeds.  The housing market has shown signs of strength recently, but momentum remains elusive.  Will this be the year that housing breaks out?  Experts vary in their answer, but most see an industry that will continue to grow while also posing challenges for new home-buyers.

For starters, people are already worried about mortgage rates loans after the post-election trend of sharply rising interest rates.  Experts say this surge will end soon.  The online real state brokerage Redfin predicts average interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to stay below 4.3% in 2017, although rates were already there as of December 22, 2016 according to the St. Louis Fed.  The National Associate of Realtors predicts a modest rise to 4.6% while Realtor.com predicts 4.5%.

We then come to the home supply dilemma. Markets were tight in 2016 as the home supply simply could not keep up with demand in St. Louis.  The result was a sellers market, squeezing out a lot of buyers with higher than usual rates.  Supply has been mostly on the rise since July, but is still in the 5.4% range as of October.  The market is predicted to remain tight again through 2017.

And for home prices?  Over the past three years, home prices have settled into a relatively steady pattern of approximately 5 to 6% annual gains.  With interest rates finally rising over 4% and staying there while inventory continues to increase, price increases are likely to stay in check, in favor of the buyer.  The result is a 2017 with few sharp pricing increases in the greater area of St. Louis.

Overall, as a St. Louis homeowner, you can expect gains in your home equity in 2017.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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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.

World Wide Technology New Corporate Headquarters in WestPort Plaza

World Wide Technology New Corporate Headquarters

World Wide Technology, Inc. New Corporate Headquarters

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO/January 6, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) On December 22, 2015 World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT) and Lodging Hospitality Management announced their plans to help revitalize Westport Plaza by constructing a new headquarters for World Wide Technology, Inc.

In one year an impressive amount of progress has been made and the target of mid-2017 appears to be reasonable.  The structure is a beautiful addition to the Westport Plaza area, which is a business and entertainment district that attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually.

The new building is 210,000 square feet and will be home to more than 1,000 employees of World Wide Technology, Inc. at a cost of $95 million.

Building design was provided by M+H Architects and is being built by TW Contractors and Clayco, all St. Louis based companies.

World Wide Technology New Corp HQ

The state-of-the-art digitally enabled facility was designed to foster collaboration and interactivity among WWT employees, customers and partners.  The building will provide remote and local WWT teams the tools and facilities to share data, interact with content, work collaboratively to solve problems and make better business decisions.

The building will feature:

  • Ten video-enabled rooms, including three with SMART boards
  • Cisco TelePresence® high definition conferencing
  • An open office layout featuring collaboration areas, huddle rooms, working cafes and conference rooms
  • 150-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art audio and video technology
  • Digital signage to effectively and efficiently communicate with employees and guests
  • State-of-the-Art Executive Briefing Center to host customers and partners

WWT is one of the largest privately held firms in the country and a four-time recipient of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work.

WWT is a systems integrator with nearly $7 billion in annual revenue that provides innovative technology and supply chain solutions to large public and private organizations.  The company brings to market a powerful blend of knowledge, infrastructure and technology to help its customers discover, evaluate, architect and implement technology products and solutions.

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Contributing Editor: MWS

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Picture courtesy of St. Louis Media, LLC

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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.

As Obama era closes, goal to end veteran homelessness unmet

veteran homelessness

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Pledges by President Barack Obama and a national nonprofit organization to end homelessness among veterans did not meet their goal. But advocates see improvement, and the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that “we should be there” within a couple of years.

Homelessness among veterans has been effectively ended in Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware and in about 35 communities, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But many veterans still sleep on the streets elsewhere.

Still, as Obama’s term ends, advocates call the national push a success because many veterans did get homes, and the ambitious goal created urgency. About two dozen nonprofits, government officials and homeless veterans in 17 states and Washington spoke with The Associated Press about the effectiveness of the effort and the challenges they faced.

“It has been the best kind of failure I’ve experienced,” said Chris Ko, director of homeless initiatives for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “It’s black and white. Did we reach it? No. Did we succeed in the broader effort? Will we end veteran homelessness because of this national push? Yeah.”

The Obama administration set a goal in 2010 of ending homelessness among veterans in 2015, and first lady Michelle Obama challenged mayors nationwide to do so in 2014. Though the deadline passed without the goal being met, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness says it won’t rest until every community has reached the goal.

The nonprofit Community Solutions also ran a campaign to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 and chronic homelessness one year later, called “Zero: 2016.” That work continues under a new name, “Built for Zero.”

VA Secretary Robert McDonald called on his agency and its partners Thursday to house as many veterans as possible in 30 days, saying that homelessness typically increases after the holidays and that winter is a tough time.

Obama’s “audacious” goal galvanized people, McDonald told the AP in an interview. As outreach and data collection improved, he said, officials realized estimates were low.

“I think we’re going to make a big dent this year, and I would say within a couple of years, we should be there,” McDonald said.

The number of homeless veterans nationwide is down 47 percent, or about 35,000 people, since 2010, but there are still roughly 40,000 more, HUD said in August.

To get homeless veterans into permanent homes, the Obama administration used a program that was created in 2008 and combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services from the VA.

Nearly 90,000 so-called HUD-VASH vouchers have been awarded, with $635 million appropriated for vouchers from 2008 to 2016. Many places were able to house most of their homeless veterans, but vouchers became harder to use as the housing market tightened.

Some areas harbor enough resources to solve the problem, but they’re spread across multiple agencies, making coordination difficult, Community Solutions said. Officials in communities that have effectively ended veteran homelessness, including Bergen County, New Jersey, and San Antonio, say the key was better coordination among government agencies and nonprofits.

There has also been a national shift in how people who are the hardest to house, including addicts and the mentally ill, are helped. They used to have to get medical treatment, get sober or take other steps to qualify for housing. That wasn’t working, HUD says, so now they get housing first, then are pointed toward help to confront root causes of their homelessness.

New Mexico reduced its number of homeless veterans from roughly 1,000 in 2015 to about 115.

“The most important thing we’ve learned in the last couple of years is we can make veteran homelessness almost completely go away,” said Hank Hughes at the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

Hughes and others worry momentum will stall if President-elect Donald Trump cuts funding for social programs. Trump’s team didn’t respond to a request for comment for this article. He has said he wants to rein in government spending and reform the VA but didn’t say much about homelessness during the campaign.

Navy veteran Stephen Matthews, 55, lost his job as a parts clerk last year because of an injury and couldn’t pay his rent in Warwick, Rhode Island. He and his wife lived in their car before his stepdaughter let them move in temporarily.

Matthews received a voucher for about two-thirds of his rent, but he struggled to find an apartment where he could afford the balance. He finally got one in West Warwick in late December after six months of searching.

“It’s too hard for the working class and less advantaged people to find safe and affordable housing,” he said.

Los Angeles voters approved a bond in November to raise $1.2 billion for up to 10,000 permanent units, and a refurbished building is opening in February in Jacksonville , Florida, as apartments for homeless veterans, but some plans to build more elsewhere have stalled because of local opposition.

In Chicago, nearly 3,000 homeless veterans have been housed since January 2015, leaving slightly less than 650 awaiting housing, according to the nonprofit All Chicago.

“Would it have been great if everyone met their goal? Of course it would’ve,” said Traci Strickland, who supervises homeless programs at a community mental health center in West Virginia. “It was lofty, and to make the amount of headway that has been made in Charleston, West Virginia, and in cities across the country, that’s huge. We didn’t meet the goal for everybody, but we met the goal for a lot of people.”

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JENNIFER McDERMOTT, Associated Press

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Picture courtesy of Capital Hill Blue

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

Long-term US mortgage rates fall after 9 weeks of increases

US mortgage rates

Long-term US mortgage rates fall

(AP)(STLRealEstate.News) US Long-term Mortgage Rates – After nine straight weeks of increases, long-term US mortgage rates fell this week.

Current avg – Last week 52 – week high 52 – week low

  • 30-year fixed – 4.20 percent – 4.32 percent – 4.32 percent – 3.41 percent
  • 15-year fixed – 3.44 percent – 3.55 percent – 3.55 percent – 2.72 percent
  • 5-year adjustable – 3.33 percent – 3.30 percent – 3.33 percent – 2.68 percent

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The Associated Press – Publication STLRealEstate.News – AP content is published with permissions through a license agreement effective December 2016.

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

St. Louis’ Lawrence Group Director to serve on CREW board

Monica Conners- Lawrence Group Director

ST LOUIS, MO/January 4, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis’ Lawrence Group, a national development and design firm with unmatched experience and expertise designing and developing building plans and layouts for firms all over the greater city region, this week announced their senior director of client development, Monica Connors, will serve as one of the six members selected on the 2017 to 2018 Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Foundation Board of Directors.

Connors, in-charge particularly of client development with respect to the St. Louis based Lawrence Group, currently manages existing and new relationships for the St. Louis, Austin, Charlotte, and New York City offices at this time.  Her bi-coastal experience and daily tasks have positioned her with the broad scope and communication skills required to functioned as a CREW board member.  Connors stated at this time that she is overwhelmed and honored to have been recognized for her hard work both in her respective cities and nationally.

Lawrence Group is a national development and design firm. Connors works to extend the group’s presence in all of her selected cities.

CREW is a foundation and international initiative that supports women in commercial real estate.  Funding provides education programs, scholarships, mentoring opportunities, and industry research to advance the success of women in the real estate industry.  Serious about pursuing gender equity in the greater real estate presentation, CREW functions to equip women with the confidence and support base they need to make headway.

As a champion director, Connors will help the foundation further its reach by continuing to raise awareness and funds that build opportunities for women and girls in the commercial real estate industry.

Connors has been a member of CREW St. Louis since 2010, and has chaired the program’s committee, served on the board of directors, and most recently, served as the chapter president throughout the past year.

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Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

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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.

Mortgage rates, home sales and prices seen rising in 2017

Mortgage rates

(AP)(STLRealEstate.News) Nate Lowenstein has been shopping for a home in Los Angeles, on and off, for more than a year.

His search has been stymied by a stubbornly low roster of homes on the market and the hurdles that come with it: multiple competing bids and higher prices.

“It’s not a great market, from a buyer’s perspective,” said Lowenstein, a lawyer. “The one good thing is that interest rates were quite low.”

As recently as this summer, homebuyers had ultra-low mortgage rates on their side. Good news for any borrower, but especially for those in expensive housing markets like Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle.

But that was then. While mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, they’ve risen sharply over the past couple of months, pushing the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to 4.32 percent this week. That’s the highest level since April 2014 and well above the year’s average of 3.65 percent.

Economists predict mortgage rates will continue to climb next year, just one of the trends that suggest 2017 could be a more challenging year for homebuyers.

“With higher mortgage rates, you’re increasing the cost, challenging the budgets, challenging the ability to qualify and, as a result, likely reducing somewhat the pool of potential buyers,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com.

So far, the rate increases have not begun to worry Lowenstein, who is in the market for a house with at least three bedrooms in L.A.’s affluent west side. His budget: Between $1.6 million and $1.8 million.

“We’re not priced out yet,” Lowenstein said. “But if it goes up to 5 percent or 6 percent, at some point we would be.”

Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note. The yield goes down when investors bid up bond prices, as they did following this summer’s vote in Britain to exit the European Union. The move sent long-term mortgage rates tumbling as low as 3.41 percent.

The reverse happened after Election Day. Investors bet that a Republican-controlled White House and Congress will have a clear path to implement policies that will drive inflation and interest rates higher. A sell-off in U.S. bonds drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to the highest level in more than two years. Mortgage rates have been inching higher ever since.

But will they continue to do so?

Smoke predicts mortgage rates will reach 4.5 percent in 2017. Other economists expect rates will remain above 4 percent but not go beyond 5 percent next year.

That range would mean mortgage rates that would be low compared to the last decade.

Average long-term mortgage rates were above 6 percent during the height of the last housing boom and they hadn’t hit 5 percent before 2008.

So someone looking to buy a home in the next few months doesn’t need to panic, said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, a real estate information company.

“My advice to buyers would be to not freak out and feel a sense of urgency,” she said. “If you aren’t able to buy a house at 4.5 percent, you probably weren’t able to buy a house at 4 percent.”

The stakes are a bit higher for buyers in expensive markets, where housing can eat up a much larger share of household income.

If mortgage rates continue to climb, there are moves would-be homebuyers can make to better offset some of the higher borrowing costs.

Consider lowering the interest rate by paying a fee to the lender up front, something known as buying down the interest rate. Or go with an adjustable-rate mortgage, which has a low, fixed-interest rate for a few years, typically five or 10, then adjusts to a higher rate.

Another move: Ask the seller to pay the buyer’s closing costs. That can free up more cash for buyers to manage the higher borrowing costs.

Higher mortgage rates could have one silver lining: As some buyers are priced out, sellers may have to be more flexible on prices. Over time, that could help stem home prices.

Low inventory and strong demand helped push prices higher in 2016 at the fastest pace in 10 years, according to an analysis by Zillow. The company predicts that U.S. home prices increase about 3 percent in 2017, down from a gain of about 6.5 percent this year.

Declining affordability is one reason the National Association of Realtors predicts U.S. homes sales will rise 2 percent next year. Compare that to the 15 percent increase in sales through the first 11 months of 2016.

Even buyers who can weather higher mortgage rates may have to brace for a long home search next year.

The inventory of homes for sale is expected to be tighter in 2017 than it was this year. While it varies by market, nationally, fewer than 1.9 million homes were on the market in November, down 9 percent from a year earlier, according to the NAR.

Homebuilders are not building enough homes to make up for the shortage, citing a lack of ready-to-build land, labor shortages and rising building materials costs.

Homebuyers can also expect to face more competition in 2017 as millennials continue to transition from renting to homeownership, particularly in more affordable markets in the Midwest and South.

First-time buyers accounted for roughly 32 percent of home purchases through the first 11 months of 2016, up from 30 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to the NAR.

Affordability remains a hurdle for many first-time buyers, but qualifying for financing may get a bit more accessible in 2017.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will increased the limit of the mortgages they will buy from lenders next year to $424,100 from $417,000. In more expensive markets, the mortgage giants will accept loans as high as $636,150, up from $625,500.

Banks may also have an incentive to loosen lending standards if rising mortgage rates continue to dampen demand for mortgage refinancing.

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ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

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

Popeyes dealing with labor dispute in Ellisville

labor dispute

Popeyes dealing with labor dispute at new location in Ellisville, MO

ELLISVILLE, MO/January 3, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) There is a new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen being built on Manchester Rd/Clarkson Rd intersection in Ellisville, MO.  However, the St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, a labor union, is alleging a labor dispute.

Visited with the union employees on site and they were reluctant to offer much information.  One member didn’t really know what the dispute was about.  They offered me the contact information for their union representative.  We called the representative, but there was no answer.  We left a message, but we did not get a return phone call.

St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council is placing employees onsite daily to educate the community of the differences they have with the project.  The Regional Council represents more than 20,000 members in 34 locals across the Missouri, Kansas and southern portion of Illinois.  The Regional Council works for its members by negotiating fair wages and benefit packages.  According to their website they have invested more than $250 million in re-development projects to create jobs.

Additionally, we called Popeyes corporate offices in Atlanta, GA, but nobody was available for comments.  We did leave a message asking for a call, but we never heard back from anybody.

This is the second building project in recent months that St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council claimed that there was a labor dispute in the Ellisville community.  Just east on Manchester at the Aventura Centre apartment complex they were present daily for several months, but now appear to have changed locations to protest Popeyes.

If we get a call back from either party and obtain additional information we will publish another article.  We encourage either or both parties to call so we can present both sides of the argument.

Contact information for both parties are:

St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council

1401 Hampton Avenue

St.Louis, MO 63139

Phone: (314) 603-2650

and

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 

400 Perimeter Center Terrace, Suite 1000

Atlanta, GA 30346

Phone: (404) 459-4450

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Contributing Editor: MWS

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Picture courtesy of St. Louis Media, LLC

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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.

 

Cushman & Wakefield named No. 1 Largest Commercial Real Estate Firm

Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield – No. 1 Largest Commercial Real Estate Firm in St. Louis

ST LOUIS/January 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Cushman & Wakefield (CW) was recently named by the St. Louis Business Journal as the No. 1 Largest Commercial Real Estate Firm in St. Louis.

A worldwide commercial real estate firm with offices in 250 cities around the world.  Locally, they have more than 206 active agents, total staff of 977, 27 local sales transactions, leasing more than 6.03 million square feet with revenues more than $464 million.

Services offered by CW are:

  • Account Management
  • Agency/Landlord Leasing
  • Corporate Finance & Investment Banking
  • Equity, Debt & Structured Finance
  • Facilities Management
  • Global Hospitality Group
  • Global Supply Chain Solutions
  • Industrial Services
  • Investment Sales & Acquisitions
  • Lease Administration
  • Office Leasing
  • Project Management
  • Property Tax Services
  • Asset Services
  • Global Retail Services
  • Risk Management Services
  • Senior Housing
  • Sustainability Services
  • Tenant Representation
  • Valuation
  • Workplace Strategy

CW has four locations in the St. Louis area according to their website:

CW, 721 Emerson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63141 – Phone: (314) 862-7100

CW, 55 West Port Plaza, Suite 500 and 600, St. Louis, MO 63146 – Phone: (314) 862-7100

CW, 7700 Forsyth Boulevard, 1210, Clayton, MO 63105 – Phone: (314) 862-7100

CW, 4678 World Parkway Circle, St. Louis, MO 63134 – Phone: (314) 813-2500

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Source: St. Louis Business Journal – Cushman & Wakefield website

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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.