umb skin1 Web Content Viewer

umb skin2 Actions

The Gateway to the West could see major improvements in 2015

Date posted:  2/11/15 09:15:00 AM St. Louis housing could take a step forward in 2015.

The St. Louis housing market is showing major signs of improvement to start 2015 after posting relatively lackluster numbers in the previous year.

New home sales in February are at near double-digit increases on a year-over-year basis posting 7 percent growth from January 2014. Jim Dohr, president of Coldwell Banker Gundaker, told St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOX News 2015 is off to a much better start than anticipated, noting that the mild winter played a major role in spurring improvement.

"The fact that we haven't had any major snow events, and the one major event, or semi-major event, that we had occurred primarily on a weekend, a holiday weekend, helped us a lot," Dohr said.

While the area's home prices recorded a 3 percent climb from a year ago, sales in the metro region's outlying suburbs are performing well thanks to lower gas prices.

"That's good news for sellers, but it also is not alarming for buyers because you're already in an affordable market and you're not seeing double-digit price increases," said Dohr, who expects the housing market to continue to progress in the second quarter.

From his experience speaking with real estate agents in St. Louis, Dohr said he feels there is still a lot of pent-up activity waiting to be unleashed.

A second opinion on St. Louis housing
While it seems Dohr is one of the more hopeful real estate professionals in the St. Louis area, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis isn't as happy with the state of the market. Bill Emmons, part of the St. Louis Fed's Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, told guests at a St. Louis Association of Realtors breakfast the city's housing market is improving but is not recovering as quickly as other cities across the nation, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

"It's recovering, like most other places in the country," Emmons said. "But, like our job market, it's just not going to be as fast as a recovery in terms of house prices or building activity."

However, Emmons thinks 2015 could be a robust year for the St. Louis economy. He cited an improving job market, stronger financial conditions and low energy prices as a few factors that should provide a spark.

"These are the forces that have come together in 2015 leading us to believe this is going to be an outstanding year, relative to what we've experienced recently, but there are reasons to think this isn't going to last forever," Emmons said.