St. Louis Public Radio – Jo Mannies – August 3, 2017
The assessed value of residential homes in St. Louis County has shot up an average of 7 percent since 2015 — the county’s strongest showing in almost a decade. St. Louis’ numbers beat the county: a nearly 12 percent increase in the same time frame.
Experts say it’s a sign the region has recovered from the economic downturn of the late 2000s.
The county’s showing is enough to please Assessor Jake Zimmerman, who recalls how bleak it was in 2011, when he first took office.
“This county was still staggering under the weight of a big blow,” Zimmerman said of the recession that began in late 2008. “There was a foreclosure crisis. People were losing their homes, hard-working people couldn’t get mortgages and you saw neighborhoods being torn apart by that real estate slump.”
County property values only gradually improved after 2011. For example, the median value of a residential home in St. Louis County in 2015 was up a little more than 2 percent compared to 2013.
That’s why Zimmerman said his staff has been struck by this year’s sharp uptick.
“And that’s not just true in Clayton and Ladue and Chesterfield. It’s also true in north county and south county and everywhere in-between,” he said.
St. Louis County classifies its residential property values by school districts. More than half of the county’s districts, including Maplewood-Richmond Heights, University City, Lindbergh and Parkway, saw median residential property values increase by more than the county average.
In St. Louis, Deputy Assessor Shawn Ordway recalls that city property values were either stagnant or declining for almost a decade. The boom year was in 2007, when the city’s reassessment recorded residential home values up by 20 percent. That was right before the recession.
Nationally, home sales in May were up almost 6 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Officials in Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, said the assessed value of residential property has gone up 5 percent compared to two years ago.
Mark Stallman, head of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors, said higher home prices reflect the public’s mood.
“What we’re seeing is a restored confidence in the economy, in their future job prospects and so forth, to where home buying is a viable option for them,” he said.
In St. Charles County, Stallman said, home prices are up 8 percent in the past year.
“The average home is sold within 10 days,” he said, adding a prediction that residential home values will continue to go up for now because of the demand.