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St. Louis real estate expert warns buyers: 'Get your boxing gloves back on'

After more than a year of unpredictability largely due to the pandemic, there is a glimmer of hope for frustrated buyers in the housing market

ST. LOUIS — “Get your boxing gloves back on.”

That’s the encouragement – and warning – from Kathy Helbig-Strick, owner of Experience Realty Partners in St. Louis.

After more than a year of unpredictability in real estate, largely due to the pandemic, Helbig-Strick said she’s seeing a glimmer of hope.

“We're starting to see a few less offers on the table than we did six months ago. We're starting to see some of the sellers’ houses not selling the first week on the market,” she said. “They're a little more palatable to looking at offers.”

This is welcome news for buyers, many of whom are looking to purchase their first home. Millennials make up 40% of folks struggling to enter the market.

“I'm hearing it from other places across the United States as well, starting to see a tiny little shift right now in the sellers being so much in control,” Helbig-Strick said.

While the pandemic has added an element of unpredictability to the housing market, it’s just one reason for today’s rising prices. Today’s inventory shortages are rooted in the housing market crash of 2008.

“What used to take a builder, maybe four to five months, start to finish to get a home up and built, is now taking almost a year,” she explained. “The contractors, the framers, the drywall, the roofers, many of them left the industry back after the crash.”

Between 2000 and 2009, more than 27 million homes were built in the United States. But between 2010 and 2019, just 5.8 million homes were built. Helbig-Strick calls this prolonged recovery period the “housing crisis hangover.”

However, she anticipates hitting the turning point soon – if not already – as some buyers have entered “buyer fatigue” and exited the market.

For those still looking to purchase a home, Helbig-Strick recommends perseverance with a hopeful outlook.

“Do I think it's a downhill sweep on the roller coaster? No,” she said, “But I think it's a slight little correction that we're seeing happen right now.”