Jul 31, 2017
The fashionable mid-county corridor continues to exert a strong pull for wealthier residents, according to a recent national survey by American City Business Journals.
Covering nearly 15,000 communities across the country, the ranking found the top 10 municipalities in Missouri were all in St. Louis County with nine of the ten placing among the top 500 in the nation in relative affluence. Many of them hug I-64 or areas a stone’s throw to the south.
Ladue led the pack – finishing eighth in the nation and tops in the state – while Town and Country picked up second place with a ranking of 65th. Fashionable shopping haven Frontenac and West County’s Clarkson Valley both made the top 150 followed by Warson Woods, the smallest of the communities at less than 1,800 residents. The cities of Des Peres, Clayton, Glendale and Creve Coeur all hit in the elite top 500. Wildwood completed the state’s 10 best at 589th place.
The highest-ranking Missouri city outside the St. Louis area was Lake Winnebago in Cass County outside Kansas City at 645th.
Chesterfield, Weldon Spring, Oakland, Sunset Hills and Webster Groves all made the top 1,000.
The top-finishing Illinois community in the St. Louis area was Shiloh at 2,045th.
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, Stafford Manion said that people enjoy the prestige of living in exclusive communities like Ladue but younger, fashionable cities just below the top 10 are also doing well.
“Kirkwood, Webster, Maplewood, U. City – places with less expensive homes and an urban vibe – are hot as a pistol - $300,000, $400,000 and $500,000 houses,” he noted. “Some are starter homes for young people making $300,000. You can’t keep them on the shelf.”
Meanwhile, Clayton’s extensive city amenities and good schools are proving attractive magnets for upscale buyers as well.
“Sure, some families send their kids to private schools but many go to public schools,” he told the Journal. “People are placing more emphasis on education.”
Still, with property values already relatively high in the area, there hasn’t been a great deal of change with the recovery.
“It doesn’t seem like we benefited much from improvements in the economy,” Manion said. “I would have expected to see more of a jump in home values. Clayton went down and others went up marginally.”
Based off Census data, the American City Business Journals measure of “relative affluence” employs a formula based on a dozen different components and is not limited to income levels.