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COVID-19 decimated St. Louis’ housing inventory. Has a rebound begun?

The steep decline in inventory had led the real estate industry to face an unusual spring selling season, typically the industry’s busiest time of the year
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — For St. Louis homebuyers, limited inventory in the housing market was already a headache before COVID-19. The pandemic has only intensified the pain.

Local housing data from April, the first full month after local stay-at-home orders were put in place due to COVID-19, show the number of new listings, homes for sale and months supply of inventory fell significantly compared to the prior year.

The statistics published by the St. Louis Realtors trade association show that new single-family home listings decreased 26.9% in April, leaving St. Louis with an inventory of 3,644 homes for sale. Inventory was up from March — which totaled home 3,471 for sale — but was down 17.4% year over year. Months supply of inventory, measured in the number of months it would take to sell all homes on the market, fell to 2.2 months from 2.6 months a year ago.

“While the effect of COVID-19 continues to vary widely across the country, it is expected that social distancing, higher unemployment, and lower overall economic activity is likely to continue to constrain real estate activity in the near term,” says the report from St. Louis Realtors.

The steep decline in inventory had led the real estate industry to face an unusual spring selling season, typically the industry’s busiest time of the year. For example, April inventory of 3,471 homes was down from 4,411 in 2019 and 5,478 in 2018.

It isn’t just inventory that has been impacted. Closed sales totaled 1,374 last month compared to 1,679 in April 2019.

But the April data shows the market isn’t all doom and gloom: median sales price jumped up to $227,500, up 17% from from the prior year. Average days on market until a sale was 42 days, down from 48 days in March and 62 days in February.

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