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 St Louis Area Real Estate and the Month of December
By: Kimberly and Darin "Sid" Cameron
Wed, Dec 29th, 2004 1:34 am

The other day I was asked by a prospective home buyer if the recent decline in new St Louis area home listings was a trend or a sign of things to come that he should be worried about. Since it's a good question, I thought I would address that here...

There isn't anything to worry about- it's just December!

December is generally a time of decreased real estate activity in the St Louis market for both buyers and sellers. There are several things that cause this. The most obvious is all of the holiday activity- shopping, traveling, parties, etc- which forces many casual home buyers to drop out of the market until January or February. The same holds true for home sellers. A lot of people will wait to list their home after the holidays so they don't have to keep their home in "show condition" or leave their home for showings while children are out of school or visitors are in from out of town.

Another factor is the changing of the seasons- it's suddenly colder and it's getting dark earlier. Many casual home buyers will curb their hunting as darkness and cold weather makes it difficult to house hunt in the evenings, and the number of sellers generally declines as the casual seller holds out for warmer moving weather.

December also marks the end of the year, which for a lot of companies brings about end of the year work activities (taking inventory, preparing for taxes, etc). This often makes it difficult for some people to take time off of work to shop for or sell a home. And as crazy as it may sound, football is another major distraction to the local real estate community. With everything else making it difficult to conduct business during the week, the weekends are suddenly full of "must see" college and NFL football games. Ask any veteran St Louis real estate agent, and they will tell you there is a notable decline in open house activity on Sundays when the St Louis Rams are playing.

Sound like doom and gloom? Well it's not!

With all of that said, as a home seller you should know that the people looking to buy a home during the holidays are generally serious buyers (so don't take them lightly). Think about it. Why else would they still be looking when there are all of these distractions? December is often a month when companies relocate employees, and December 31 is often a deadline for buyers looking to buy for tax reasons or to receive better rates on their mortgage loan. Buyers in December also tend make a more "emotional" purchase due to the season and because there are less homes on the market to pick from.

However, this doesn't indicate a move to a "seller's market." If you're a potential buyer, you should know that people selling their home during the holidays also tend to be motivated. Sellers will generally have less traffic and fewer buyers coming through their door, so they may not be as picky when it comes to accepting a contract. You also may find sellers who are dealing with relocation as well, or homes that have been on the market for several months.

To sum it all up, December is a month when people tend to serious and motivated. If you want to buy a home, there may be less to look at, but there's also less competition than you will have come spring. If you're a seller, there are fewer buyers, but the ones that are out there are seriously looking to buy. There is no wrong or right time to buy or sell real estate. The right time is when it works for you!

[ Next Article: New Years Resolution for the Home ]
[ Previous Article: Home Holiday Fire Safety ]


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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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