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Meet me in St. Louis - TheMoveChannel.com

(EMAILWIRE.COM, February 24, 2009 ) St. Louis, USA - Easy does it in St. Louis, where a less volatile market and traditionally affordable real estate stock have insulated the city from some of the market implosions in other parts of the country…

"Affordability is the number-one differentiator for the St. Louis market versus others in the country," says Kevin Cottrell, a Principal at the Cottrell Realty Group who offers online observations on the St. Louis property market at his real estate blog.

According to Cottrell, the city’s affordability index of 80—meaning that 80 per cent of the population can afford a median-priced home based on median income levels—results in a significant amount of pent-up demand.

Cottrell also says that since the St. Louis market did not see large price increases during the boom years of 2003 through 2006, it retained its affordable nature and thus has not seen the levels of difficulty currently seen in other markets.

"When Las Vegas or San Diego had prices jumping 40 per cent, we were up four to seven per cent," he says.

"Those markets outpaced affordability and, as a result, prices needed a major adjustment. In St. Louis, the general case is that the same home purchased in 2004 to mid-2005 would be worth just about the same amount today."

That brand of level pacing has meant that the last few years have seen flat prices in St. Louis.

Foreclosures "Not A Major Factor"

Cottrell Realty released ‘Saint Louis Metro Real Estate Market: ‘Real’ State of the Market.’ The report finds that foreclosure and short-sale volume in the St. Louis metro area comprise less than 12 per cent of total sales.

"Foreclosures are generally a low percentage of sales in our market and not a major factor, except in three specific areas," Cottrell says.

Griffin believes that more foreclosures will be coming on the market throughout 2009: “This is completely unscientific, but in the last batch of houses I showed to a first-time buyer looking between £127,000 and £145,400, there were three bank-owned properties,” she says.

The Cottrell report estimates that it will take between 18 and 24 months for supply and demand as well as prices to recover, particularly in the hardest-hit areas.

Investor Incentives

Griffin sees the St. Louis market as "ideal for investors." She attributes this to a quality stock of multi-unit properties, as well as the presence of multiple universities as well as teaching hospitals, which provides a good amount of qualified renters.

She points to a very cohesive, historic housing stock, as well as the real estate market’s opportunities for renovating old homes or buying rental properties, as investor attractions. Griffin says the city itself offers "lots of great parks, free museums, a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, a great local art and music scene...St. Louis has all the offerings of a much larger city, but it has a very small-town feel."

Griffin adds that it is easy to traverse the city—but only if you’re driving. She lists poor public transportation and lack of density as two challenges in the market.

For his part, Cottrell credits affordability and a large population and employment base for providing a ready-made strong market. "It’s steady and consistent strength that attracts investors to our market," he says.

Flat Pricing in Short Term

Cottrell says the average sales price in the St. Louis real estate market is approximately £138,000, with a median price of £98,000.

He envisions a consistent market in the short-term future. "I predict flat pricing and continued lower-than-average supply—available inventory—in the next six months," he says. "Longer term, we expect a return to the norm of four to six per cent appreciation as the area recovers from the national recession."

Griffin believes the next six months will be spent absorbing foreclosures, which in turn will keep prices flat. "Five years from now, I think we will see average yearly appreciation of four to eight per cent," she says.

Written by Allison Landa for www.nuwireinvestor.com

For more information on American properties and the market in general, please visit http://usa.themovechannel.com/

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

TheMoveChannel.com is a property website that was founded in 1999 as an online resource for buying, selling and learning about property. It now receives as many as 300,000 visits per month and advertises over 50,000 properties in nearly 90 countries, which are listed by over 500 partner organisations.

For further information as well as images and interview possibilities, please contact:

Dan Johnson
Managing Director
www.themovechannel.com
0207 952 7650


TheMoveChannel.com
Jon Moore
020 7952 7658
j.moore@themovechannel.com


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