Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Difference of Downtown

old fashioned real estateThe Sunday Open House is a real estate tradition. All over the region and throughout the country one can see agents and their balloons dashing about on weekends to hold down the fort at an open house somewhere.

Holding open houses downtown during the weekend is a hit or miss affair. Like any event, there are many contributing factors to the level of activity. The largest segment of the people who use downtown, those that work downtown are almost entirely out of the picture. In general, people who commute downtown during the week aren't likely to want to visit downtown on their days off.

Looking at some other more established urban communities, we've found that some urban real estate companies have abandoned all together the notion of the weekend open house for a week night open house. What a concept!

Last year the Downtown Partnership held an evening tour. While the attendance wasn't through the roof, it was refreshing to be able to see people have the opportunity to get off work and check some lofts out before the trek into suburbia.

We'd love some feedback. Our first slate of week night open houses are being held next Thursday, September 17th. We'll have lofts open at the Railway Lofts, the Printer's Lofts, and 2020 Lofts.
Downtown St Louis open Lofts

Monday, September 07, 2009

Centenary Tower on the Block

St Louis real estate
Residents of the Terra Cotta lofts and Printer's Lofts should have a keen interest in the fate of the Centenary Tower building located across the street. A classified ad in the St. Louis Business Journal this week is advertising its foreclosure sale on September 23rd at the Civil Courts building.

The apartments located there were closed in 2007 because of mismanagement. Closing it was a good thing for the neighborhood at the time. Hopefully a new owner will be willing to re-establish the building as a positive part of the Downtown West neighborhood.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Look Forward to Fall

St Louis Condos
The field of real estate, like any other, is fraught with pre-concieved notions. I love watching HGTV, but one thing that television has a tendency to do is distort reality, even in (especially in) reality TV.

One notion I had early on in my career was that real estate sales are seasonal. That season, in my mind, would last from about April through August. Surviving from September through March would depend upon how busy we were during the so called "selling season". This myth, one that is widely shared, was the first to go.

The last few weeks seems to have picked up downtown. Some attribute it to the Culinaria opening, any number of positive factors can be added. Lots of pieces to the big puzzle are coming together in Downtown St Louis.

Reality though, is that real estate sales don't just happen in the summer. While sales are still lagging, they seem to have picked up from July and August, which are nearly as slow as January-February. In the past two weeks, clients have called with a greater concern about whether we should just "close up shop" and take their listing off the market for now. While that may be the right move for some, it isn't a rule. The interesting thing about the market is that activity in the range of $250,000 to $500,000 has nearly always been relatively slow during the summer months and picks up during the fall and winter months.

The bottom line, its still a great time to buy rather than sell. It's impossible to predict the future, but as the plans in motion to revitalize downtown continue to move forward, so will the presently fragile real estate market.