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Why St. Louis' luxury housing market is seeing an uptick in new listings

"Our business is much better than I anticipated it would be when this whole thing happened"
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed residential real estate activity across all price points. But as sellers yanked their listings earlier this year due to COVID, local agents said they noticed a segment of the market particularly impacted: luxury homes.

“If anybody is going to get the brunt of it a little bit, that’s normally who takes the brunt,” Megan Rowe of Dooley Rowe Schnoebelen at Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty said in April.

St. Louis wasn’t unique in that regard. The COVID-19 pandemic crippled the high-end housing market nationwide, according to data from Zillow Group Inc., which reports new for-sale listings of luxury homes nationwide were cut in half year over year in April and May. But now the higher end market is now seeing a swift rebound

Zillow’s data show that new for-sale listings for the top fifth of the housing market nationwide are up 8.4% month over month. In St. Louis, new listings for the high-end portion of the market were up 22.1% in June over the prior month, far outpacing the totals for bottom fifth of the local market. New listings for the most affordable homes in the region are down 9.5% month over month, per the data.

"The way unemployment has hit in this recession — with more layoffs in service, retail, food, entertainment, and other jobs unable to be done remotely — could result in vastly different experiences on either end of the housing price spectrum," said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. "Millions of Americans who lost jobs or income are only able to stay in their homes right now thanks to extraordinary forbearance programs, which means they likely have to pause their plans to trade up or move to a new city. But for wealthier homeowners whose employment has remained stable and are looking to trade up, now may be an opportune time to sell and lock in a record-low mortgage rate on their dream home.” 

At luxury-focused agency Gladys Manion Real Estate, President Stafford Manion said sales volume has exceeded his initial expectations after the pandemic hit.

“Our business is much better than I anticipated it would be when this whole thing happened,” he said.

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