Projected median sales prices for single-family homes:
Q1 2008: $143,920
Q4 2009: $149,710
Growth rate: 4.0 percentSt. Louis's annual per capita income of $36,000 matches the national average, and the metro's economic growth rate closely tracks that of the overall U.S. gross domestic product. Its workforce is light on the kind of high-skilled techies that have made places like Silicon Valley and Raleigh-Durham boom - but then again, the middle of the road is a good place to be during a national housing meltdown. The boom-and-bust fluctuations in hot markets were only felt as ripples here.
Craig Heller, a local developer who owns a company called Loftworks has placed his bets on converting historic buildings and warehouses in the urban core into condos, selling the units at an average of $275,000 a pop. He expects downtown loft prices to increase substantially this decade, thanks to reverse migration from the suburbs.
At the same time, a different brand of gentrification is starting to emerge in outlying towns that have been absorbed by St. Louis's sprawl. Speculators are buying traditional country homes at a discount in enclaves like Glendale, Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, and Webster Groves. They then tear them down and put up McMansions that list for multiples of the property's original sales price.