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St. Louis: A city with options?

When one thinks of the most active housing markets in the U.S., St. Louis, Missouri probably doesn't make the top of the list. However, the city did get one organization's attention. 

Redfin, an online residential real estate company, noted St. Louis' housing inventory grew more than any other metropolitan area in the country. The company discovered the number of homes for sale rose 24.6 percent between 2015 and this year. Those properties aren't just sitting on the market, either – the number of homes sold year over year rose 32.8 percent. 

Why is St. Louis' inventory growing? How has that affected the city's housing prices? Should first-time homebuyers consider moving there?

Taking a closer look at the metropolitan area 
The Riverfront Times commented on Redfin's analysis, noting the company not only included St. Louis in its analysis, but also surrounding areas such as St. Charles County, Warren County, Jefferson County and even sections of metropolitan area's eastern regions.

With this in mind, readers should note that the median sale price is up only 0.3 percent year over year, indicating that prices haven't plummeted across the St. Louis area as a whole. Riverfront Times spoke with Tamika Evans, a real estate agent at Redfin, who told the RFT that while affordable conditions may persist throughout much of the city, that isn't the case in every community.

"Areas in the (sic) Webster, Kirkwood and Ballwin, for example, are seeing homes going under contract within a week of hitting the market," said Evans. "For buyers looking in those areas, it doesn't feel like there are more homes on the market – in fact, buyers need to tour homes the day they list. And there are a lot of buyers, so even though sales and inventory may be up broadly, it doesn't mean the competition for homes has gotten much better." 

With respect to Evans' speculation, it's likely there are some areas that are more desirable than others. Essentially, homes within high-demand communities will likely experience marginal decreases in pricing, if any at all.

St. Louis' economy 
From an economic standpoint, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that St. Louis has potential. Although manufacturing and information jobs decreased 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, between September 2015 and September 2016, the city's total nonfarm employment rose 2.6 percent. Listed below are the industries with the highest year-over-year employment growth rates:

  • Leisure and hospitality – 7.7 percent
  • Mining, logging and construction – 4.6 percent
  • Professional and business services – 4.4 percent
  • Education and health services – 3.3 percent
  • Financial activities – 2.8 percent 

What does the pay look like? First-time homebuyers moving to St. Louis would find that compensation for certain positions throughout the city either exceeds or meets the national average. For example, while carpenters across the use make $22.49 an hour on average, carpenters in St. Louis make $26.82 an hour. 

If you live near the St. Louis area, check out the housing market. If nothing else, it will help you get a feel for what you're looking for in a home. 

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