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County continues to experience upward trend in housing sales, construction

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Home sales and construction in St. Charles County were steady through the early fall this year with officials saying they’re optimistic that the housing industry will continue to recover from the recession.

Sales of single-family homes and permits for new single-family homes were down slightly through September compared to the same period in 2013, according to recently released numbers. But several favorable trends have emerged, which have officials cautiously optimistic that the year should end on a good note.

Mark Stallmann, executive director of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors, recently said that, while sales are down slightly, the overall recovery of the housing market remains good.

“We got off to a slow start this year due to the awful weather,” Stallmann said, referring to the exceptionally snowy and cold weather in January, February and March of 2014.

Through September, sales of single-family homes were down about 1.4 percent compared to the same period in 2013, but there are some positive trends. For instance, the average sale price of homes is up, the average time a home is on the market is down and sales volume is also up, according to Stallmann.

Through September, 4,433 single-family homes had been sold in the county, compared to 4,496 through September of 2013. The median cost of a home was $180,000 through September compared to $172,000 in 2013. Homes also are on the market an average of 48 days this year, compared to 53 a year ago during the same period.

While the figures through September are the most up-to-date available from the board, Stallmann said sales were active in October and into November.  Board membership among realtors also is up, he added.

St. Charles County leads the metropolitan area in home sales.

Stallmann noted that a lower unemployment rate and good schools continue to attract homebuyers. He said the hope is not for a temporary burst in home sales but a steady growth.

Realtors throughout the country also are “cautiously optimistic” about continued growth in the housing market. However, Stallmann said there is a fear that federal legislation and tax reform may limit deductions for home mortgage interest on individual tax returns, which may lessen the attraction of home ownership for some buyers.

The county also continued to lead the Missouri portion of the St. Louis region in single-family and multiple-family housing permits issued for new construction through August, according to figures compiled by the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri.

Through September of this year, 1,463 single-family housing permits were issued in the county – far more than the runner-up – but low when compared to 2013, when 1,494 were issued through September.

St. Louis County had the next-highest number of permits, with 537 single-family permits being issued.

But the permits issued in St. Charles County were down for the same period a year ago, when 1,494 were issued through September 2013. In 2012 through September, 1161 single-family permits had been issued.

According to the Home Builders Association, 1,884 single-family housing permits were issued in the county in 2013, up from 1,497 in 2012.

St. Charles County also led other counties in the region in the number of multi-family permits (for apartments and condominiums) issued through September of this year. The association reports that 505 multi-family permits were issued through this September, compared to 48 for the same period a year ago.

The city of St. Louis leads the region in multi-family permits in 2014 with 634 permits for new construction and 3,370 for rehabilitation of multi-family units through September.

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