Apr 28, 2017
31 Somerset Downs Drive, a Ladue estate for sale, was featured in Town&Style's issue as its weekly home feature.
Apr 28, 2017
Huntleigh estate for sale, 42 Huntleigh Woods Drive - listed by Wayne Norwood and Ben Patton - was featured in Ladue News' publication.
Apr 20, 2017
Green is gold when it comes to home buying.
According to a recent release from the National Association of Realtors, “green” features that emphasize sustainability are becoming a selling point that buyers take into account.
Half of surveyed realtors said clients felt efficient lighting was an important factor in their decision while nearly one-third indicated an interest in landscaping with an eye toward water conservation. Just under a quarter noted the same about solar or geothermal energy systems.
Green communities are generating similar buzz. Fifty-one percent of realtors said clients placed importance on a prospective neighborhood’s walkability and 31 percent felt that way about public transportation. Almost two-fifths said that bike paths were somewhat or very important and three of every five said the same about parks and recreation areas.
Overall, the survey found that more than half of realtors believed consumers had an interest in “green” features and 70 percent felt strongly about emphasizing such features to their clients.
Still, sustainability still hasn’t penetrated the market fully. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they had not worked with a property that included green features in the last year and – despite more Multiple Listing Services adapting to such features – nearly one-fifth said their MLS sheets didn’t even include a field for such items.
Moreover, attributes like recycling programs in a community still ranked low on the list of priorities with less than one in ten realtors saying they were important to clients.
Apr 20, 2017
Analysts from Wells Fargo are projecting a solid market going forward but they note that those who expect a quick reappearance of pre-recession glory days may be in for disappointment or at least a lengthier wait.
“While we expect conditions to improve over the coming year and look for a relatively strong year for new and existing home sales, we still believe a return to the conditions that existed in the decades prior to the housing boom remain a long way off,” read a recent release from the company.
That’s not to say the figures aren’t trending upward. The company projects new home sales will grow by better than 12 percent this year while housing starts could break 1.26 million.
The problem is that the latter number, rosy as it might sound, remains nearly half a million shy of what was considered usual previous to the market’s big contraction.
That has left many with optimistic but tempered expectations about what a “new normal” might look like when the market finds equilibrium.
“Despite the expected gains in sales and new home construction, our housing forecast remains slightly below consensus forecasts,” it said.
It is easy to see the company’s reasons for caution as a bevy of factors continue to dampen potential expansion. Previous to hitting choppy waters, the red-hot real estate market of yesteryear may have sapped demand for present-day buying, especially among financially traumatized homeowners who have seen their equity wither or vanish entirely.
Then there’s the inventory issue. If some are wary of buying starter homes, builders are wary of constructing new ones. The affordable housing stock that’s left has often become rental property which sees considerable growth during hard economic times. The resulting squeeze on inventory has priced some folks out of the market.
Still, the numbers indicate more an adjustment of expectations than a discouragement.
“Moreover, we believe the new normal for housing starts is likely a touch below the old norm,” said the company, “perhaps in the range of 1.6 million units, which we might get to by the end of this decade.”
Apr 7, 2017
Bargain hunters may want to take notice! It could be a good time to pick up a deal in the Central West End before the economy heats up and prices rise.
According to a March story on websterkirkwoodtimes.com, one local realtor noted a $34,000 tumble in the median sales price for CWE condominiums against comparable figures from this time last year. Price per square foot fell by $11 as well. Single family home sale prices in that area saw a dramatic reduction from $389,000 to $268,000.
Those numbers contrast sharply with rising square footage pricing downtown.
However, he also indicated that there were three-and-a-half months of inventory available in the CWE which generally hints at a seller’s market.
Other realtors quoted in the piece pointed to a longer-term rise in price per square foot in the historically fashionable neighborhood in 2016 as well as fewer days on the market – dynamics that could continue if growth is fueled by a revived economy.
The already-diverse community that made the Central West End such an attractive environment may become even more so. One real estate professional made note that nearly four-fifths of his sales in the CWE were either to St. Louis Countians looking for a cozy, walkable neighborhood or to completely new arrivals attracted to the Gateway City by its prosperous employment prospects.
January figures for the St. Louis area as a whole indicate a seller’s market, according to St. Louis REALTORS. The association said the median home price for the city and county was up two percent over this time last year and inventory remained lower. The average number of days on the market had also fallen from 180 to 122.
Apr 7, 2017
A seller’s market continued to advance nationwide with home prices on the move upward in 2016 from coast-to-coast.
That’s the conclusion from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices which revealed upward momentum for the year ending in January was the strongest in 31 months with prices climbing nearly six percent, a rate that far outstripped income growth over the same period.
According to Mansion Global, a website that covers the upscale real estate market, analysts continue to cite a shortage of homes on the market as the genesis of inflation in the cost of buying a home. Meanwhile, a more robust jobs picture is diverting greater numbers of people onto the road to home ownership.
Home inventory in the final month of 2016 was the lowest it has been since 1999, the year the National Association of REALTORS began keeping track of the figure. Some observers feel the lack of supply could be pricing first-time homebuyers out of the market.
The main consolation for buyers is relatively generous math for borrowers in search of manageable interest rates which have been gently climbing into the low four percent range from 3.5 percent late last year. Despite its upward trajectory, the figure remains attractively low by historical norms.
Meanwhile, the experts wait to see where the market can find equilibrium and end the imbalance between earning power and homebuying affordability.
“Eventually, it will stop,” said David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide Insurance, “and we all hope it will stop by house price gains slowing.”
Apr 7, 2017
A classic fixture looming above the fashionable shops and eateries of the Central West End appears to be on its way to new owners.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Texas real estate investors who have held title to the beloved Chase Park Plaza since 2006 have sold it to the Hospitality Properties Trust, a Boston enterprise set to fork over $94 million to acquire the massive complex of condo units, apartments, bars, restaurants and even a movie theater.
The paper indicated that the fashionable venue, known to many St. Louisans simply as “The Chase,” has been a moneymaker raking in more than $34 million last year. The facility is primarily a hotel and many of its apartments were eliminated in a facelift a few years back to add nearly 90 new rooms however, it has retained a significant stock of corporate apartments and condominiums. The most recent of the latter units to sell went for two-and-a-half million dollars last year.
Long a high-profile showcase for the some of the Gateway City’s elite and a host for upscale cultural events, parts of the complex date as far back as the 1920s though all the various components weren’t tied together until 1961. An entertainment hotspot, The Chase saw gigs from such names as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope and even housed U.S. Presidents. It also became prominent to many average St. Louisans for the long-running “Wrestling at the Chase,” which played a key role in the development of professional wrestling’s relationship with television.
Plagued by various troubles in the waning days of the 20th Century, the complex found rebirth and stability with the dawn of the millennium as one of the area’s more stylish locales. It is now listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Hotels of America.
Apr 7, 2017
When it comes to new homes, the Midwest is best.
Figures released by the Commerce Department show February’s new home sales for the nation’s heartland posting month-over-month gains of better than 30 percent, a figure that far outstripped single digit gains in the South and West and a 21 percent shrinkage in the Northeast.
Overall, national figures are considered strong with a rise of more than six percent. The numbers are 12.8 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Inventory of new homes for February topped a quarter million and the median sales price stood at $296,200.
“February’s increase in new home sales is consistent with builders’ growing confidence in the housing market,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “Builders are encouraged by heightened consumer activity and by the expectation that regulatory costs will decline in the year ahead.”
Quoted on Realtormag.com, the NAHB’s chief economist Robert Dietz said that rising interest rates have not dampened enthusiasm for new homes and predicted the best may be yet to come.
“Ongoing job creation, rising household formations, and affordable home prices should keep the market on an upward trajectory in 2017,” he said.
Apr 7, 2017
Demand for commercial space through the central corridor of St. Louis County remains at a premium.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Class A office rents have broken $30 a square foot in Clayton with vacancy rates hovering barely above five percent. Both numbers are considered remarkable for the St. Louis area as a whole where one local realtor estimated high-end vacancies at just over eight-and-a-half percent.
Still, that is the lowest figure since 2000 pointing to what many analysts feel is a hopeful close to a strong 2016.
West County is also showing strong commercial appeal. Chesterfield boasts little available space with commercial vacancy at just six-and-a-half percent.
However, enthusiasm is tempered by seeds of doubt. While Clayton and other desirable locations like Chesterfield are showing solid numbers, downtown St. Louis continues to lag a bit with commercial vacancies around 20 percent.
Moreover, the area may soon be awash in new office space putting upward pressure on vacancy rates with building projects from various corporate tenants across the area. Meanwhile, AT&T is set to vacate its massive 44-story office tower overlooking Citygarden downtown. Further west, TD Ameritrade’s acquisition of Scottrade could create additional empty space as it pares back its staff.
The Post reports that a forecast by realtors Marcus & Millichap had St. Louis bringing up the rear among large metropolitan areas on its office property index.
Apr 7, 2017
Unseasonably mild February temperatures combined with concern over the potential for higher interest rates have yielded a bumper crop of home sales contracts with realtors seeing some of the healthiest numbers of the past decade.
According to the National Association of REALTORS, figures for pending sales saw month-over-month boosts in every region of the country as buyers began venturing out into a thawing economy.
The Midwest led the way with an 11.4 percent hike bolstering the market though the figures still fell slightly short of where they were at this time a year ago. The association’s other three regions identified smaller month-over-month gains of 3.1 to 4.3 percent though all edged higher than their corresponding February 2016 figures with the South at the head of the pack.
Overall, the nation’s contracts jumped five-and-a-half percent for the month and topped the previous February’s totals by more than two-and-a-half percent. That puts the Pending Home Sales Index at its second-highest point since mid-2006.
Truncated supply remains a damper on the numbers however. The houses people want aren’t always the ones available to buy and a scarcity of homes continues to support heftier price tags often leaving sellers in the catbird seat.
“How much new and existing inventory there is on the market this spring will determine if sales can reach their full potential and finally start reversing the nation’s low homeownership rate,” said Lawrence Yun, the realtor association’s chief economist.