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Why St. Louis real estate agents say low inventory and rising prices are here to stay in 2021

Here’s three key takeaways from what St. Louis-area real estate agents project for 2021
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was uncertain what was ahead for the residential real estate industry. But despite an atypical past year, the local housing market has shown resilience. 

“We’ve been surprised, actually, how the market has fared through the pandemic,” said Sam Hall of The Warner Hall Group of Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty.

In forecasting the St. Louis housing market in 2021, local real estate agents expect many of the same dynamics — namely low inventory and rising prices — to persist into the new calendar year. Here’s three key takeaways from what St. Louis-area real estate agents project for 2021. 

A hot winter market

At the outset of the pandemic, the St. Louis residential real estate market experienced a steep drop-off in the number of homes listed for sale and closed sales. But the housing market came roaring back, eschewing its typical fall and winter slow down. Sales totals for the winter months have outpaced usual figures for this time of year. For example, the number of closed sales locally in November was up 22.3% year over year. 

Real estate agents expect those higher totals to continue into the earlier months of 2021. Sandy Hancock, broker/owner of RE/MAX Results in St. Louis, said her group had $34 million in closed sales volume in January 2020. It has $52 million pending for this January. 

“That’s crazy,” Hancock said.

No relief on inventory 

The St. Louis market continues to encounter a lack of housing inventory, which has been a lingering issue for several years and has only heightened with the coronavirus pandemic. The market had just 1.6 months supply of inventory — the number of months it would take to sell all homes on the market — in November, down from 2.9 months a year ago. 

Don’t expect that figure to budge much this year. 

“That doesn’t look to be changing. We do not expect to see some big swell of new listings coming, and there’s certainly not enough building taking place to dramatically increase those numbers,” said Hall.

That’s left St. Louis with a housing shortage that makes it challenging for buyers to enter the market and continues to push up prices. Due to the limited inventory and historically low interest rates, St. Louis real estate agents said they expect many properties will continue to receive multiple offers and sell at higher prices.

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