This article is a part of a monthly feature highlighting East-West Gateway’s Where We Stand series, which ranks St. Louis among the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas (referred to as the peer regions) on topics of regional importance.
In the midst of the spring home-buying season, the National Association of Realtors has released updated housing statistics for U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that provide a snapshot of the nation’s housing market.
In St. Louis, the median sales price of existing single-family homes was $177,500 in 2018, up from $169,400 in 2017 (in nominal dollars). East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) analyzed the data as part of its ongoing Where We Stand (WWS) reports and updates, which provide comparisons of the St. Louis region with other large metro areas.
While the increase in sales price is respectable, the St. Louis region remains one of the most affordable regions in the country. Among the most populous MSAs (referred to as the peer regions), the 2018 price ranks 43rd and is around 30 percent less expensive than the median sales price for the United States. Even though the region is relatively affordable, 19 percent of homeowners and 49 percent of renters are considered housing cost-burdened, paying over 30 percent of their income on housing.
Over the last five years, the median sales price in St. Louis increased by around 22 percent (after adjusting for inflation). This increase is about average, ranking 29th among the peer regions, and is nearly identical to the increase observed nationally. Many of the regions with the greatest increases in sales prices were also those that were most affected by the housing crisis. Six of the 10 regions with the greatest increases in prices from 2013 to 2018 were also among the 10 regions with the steepest declines between 2005 and 2012.
Within the region, statistics reported by the Mid America Regional Information Systems (MARIS) show that in 2018 there were nearly 45,000 homes sold in the St. Louis MSA. St. Louis County saw the highest number of sales with around 16,000, followed by St. Charles County and the city of St. Louis which had around 7,400 and 4,600 home sales, respectively.
For counties in the EWG region, median sales prices were highest in St. Charles County ($224,800) and lowest in Madison County ($127,000).