Looking back on 2020 in St. Louis real estate

From a slew of new residential developments and projects to a Fall selling market truly without precedent, 2020 has been quite the wild ride for residential real estate in St. Louis. Looking back at one of the craziest years in recent memory, what impact has it had on the local market?

In a pattern seen all across the country, the residential real estate market came to a halt in March and April when COVID-19 struck and the lockdowns followed. Spring is generally the peak season for home sales, which tend to cool down significantly in the Fall and Winter. This year, the Spring selling season was put on hold, with the number of sold homes in the St. Louis area down 30.6% this May compared to the same period last year. Despite that, the local real estate market has stayed strong into Winter, with closed sales up 22.3% in November 2020 over the previous year.

This unusually aggressive seller’s market in the Fall has led in turn to extremely low home-inventory in the region. Arguably, low inventory was already a problem. But the ups and downs of 2020 have certainly made it much more noticeable. Put more concretely, the St. Louis housing market had a 1.6 month’s supply of inventory as of November. If homes continued selling at that rate, there would be none left on the market in a month and a half.

The low inventory has in its turn driven up the price of homes. A greater number of single family homes are selling at above the listing price. The median price for a home in St. Louis went up 20.6% from $197,000 in November 2019 to $237,500 in November 2020. This has stirred concern that St. Louis’s affordable image may be taking a hit from this year’s market.

In somewhat brighter news, directly counter-balancing the low inventory, the construction of new homes has risen significantly this year. While construction came to a halt along with everything else back in March and April, developers have rebounded to meet the new demand for large homes that can accommodate to the demands of remote living. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, single-family home starts rose by 8% this year to 4,265.

A few other notable developments include the opening of the striking luxury apartment building 100 Above the Park in October as well the purchase of one of St. Louis’ historic Frank Lloyd Wright homes back in February.

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