St Louis Home Prices

Tonight at a south side coffee shop, the owner asked me "so how's the house business?"  That's the nice thing about real estate, versus a career in something like insurance;  people want to talk about it.  Real estate affects others, they have a stake in it, and they want to know more....and lucky for them, I want to talk about it.  

Lately that's been pretty lopsided.  

Oh its great to see home buyers walk away from the closing table, especially when you know they are able to afford a home that wouldn't even be a possibility in a stronger market.  The 'upgrade crowd' is fun too.  They may take a loss on their current home, or they may rent it, but they are saving where it counts:  on the big purchase

The good news for the prospective buyers is that now and well into the housing recovery, they stand to be winners.  Even with modest gains in the housing market, prices have dropped enough that homes will be an investment 'value' for a while.

Talking with home seller's is another story.  Many sellers, before contacting their Realtor, establish their homes value based on a conservative estimate on what they need to make in order to break even.  The conversation starts " I'm not trying to make money or anything."  Reality can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes.

Speculators have talked about this being the year of the big transformation, so it wasn't a suprise to see the front page of the St Louis Post-Dispatch talking about higher prices this weekend.  

The fact is, a market turn around really is good for everyone.  

While buyer's looking for value homes have really soaked up some great deals around town, but are they?  Foreclosed homes often times have lots of undisclosed defects and a poor overall maintenance record.   In talking with a foreclosure buyer today, I described some of the trade-offs.  From experience I can share that a seller's disclosure statement is worth its weight in gold 5 times over.  

People that read the news hear all about the 'shadow inventory' that banks are waiting to sell, but what we don't hear as much about is all the people that don't have to sell, with awesome homes, that are waiting for values to increase to sell.  Its these homes that many of my current buyers are after.  "I don't want to have to do a ton of work," they might say, and often they are the buyer having the toughest time in this market.  Seeing an increase in prices will begin to see a more balanced housing inventory, between the "fixer-upper" and the "move in ready" home.  That is what the buyer's in today's market seem ready for in St Louis.  Balance.