St. Louis Area Housing Market Shows Strong Growth In May

Row houses face Lafayette Park in St. Louis | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Row houses face Lafayette Park in St. Louis | Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Home sales in the St. Louis area jumped 16.4 percent to 2,737 in May, up from 2,352 last year. Average sales price in the area hit $196,796, up 10.1 percent from $178,671, according to an analysis on May statistics.

The strong growth in the region, which is defined by the St. Louis Association of Realtors as including the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County and Franklin County, was representative of the continued housing market recovery for the Midwest and the U.S as a whole.

Median sales prices in St. Louis County and St. Charles County surpassed the Midwest number in May, according to datasets supplied by the St. Louis Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. The city of St. Louis and Jefferson County both enjoyed 11.6 percent growth in median prices, whereas Franklin County suffered a 7.3 percent decrease.

As the Federal Reserve kept short-term interest rates low, home buyers sped up the pace of their purchases.

In May, 45 percent of all U.S. homes stayed on the market for less than a month, according an NAR news release. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said shortages in home inventory contributed to a fast price increase.

“The home price growth is too fast,”  Yun said in the report, “and only additional supply from new homebuilding can moderate future price growth.”

The U.S. existing home inventory decreased 10.1 percent year over year, although it went up 3.3 percent compared to April. Inventory for the St. Louis area also dropped year over year.

Less inventory and more buyers drove the St. Louis market, according to Donna Zerega, president of the St. Louis Association of Realtors.

“There are more buyers out in the marketplace than last year, so homes are selling quicker with more competition. Some homes are being sold the first day with multiple offers,” Zerega said. “But this is all because of less inventory, more buyers.”

Low inventory’s influence on the market also depends on the price range, and $300,000 to $400,000 homes seem to be in high demand and low supply in a number of markets, Zerega said.

Interest rate is another factor affecting the ups and downs of the housing market. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the central bank is likely to reduce bond purchases later this year. It will be interesting to see how interest rates fare and how it influences the housing market, Zerega said.

County/City Avg. Days on Market Avg. Sales Price Median Sales Price Active Listings Sold Listings
St. Louis 2013 92 $124,213 $106,000 1,729 343
St. Louis 2012 114 $114,080 $95,000 1,889 287
St. Louis County 2013 86 $223,929 $165,000 5,303 1,439
St. Louis County 2012 107 $198,745 $150,000 6,793 1,252
St. Charles County 2013 85 $202,820 $175,000 2,303 585
St. Charles County 2012 116 $186,622 $166,412 2,833 491
Jefferson County 2013 107 $150,101 $145,000 1,819 272
Jefferson County 2012 129 $138,977 $129,900 1,896 234
Franklin County 2013 185 $146,059 $120,000 909 98
Franklin County 2012 201 $167,503 $129,450 993 88

Source: The St. Louis Association of Realtors. Table includes figures as of May 2012 and 2013.

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