February 28, 2008


Dear Readers,

I apologize for the lag is posts. I moved my blog to a new domain. You can now find it at www.stldevelops.com. In addition , I have a new website www.stlmetrorealty.com. Please check these out, comment on my posts, and share my new blog with friends and colleagues.

Thank you,

Howard McAuliffe

October 29, 2007


The numbers for St. Louis home sales for September have been released. The numbers show that the real estate market in St. Louis is down, but not dismal. September is the first month this year where the average price of homes sold has been lower than the same month in 2006. This is a 3% decrease in price. Also, the number of homes sold has decreased from 1568 last September to 1339 this September. This is a 14.5% decrease over last year. However, this is a modest decrease, and is not indicative of a sinking ship. This is simply a dip in average home prices, We may see this type of trend over the next 6 months.
The good news is that many people will panic and sell their homes for rock bottom prices. Also, banks are not in the business of selling real estate, so they will be willing to sell their properties for low prices in order to move them. The bottom line is, it is not a good time if you need to sell your home, but it is a great time to invest in real estate. The old adage is buy low and sell high, and it is the beginning of a period where you can buy low.

October 23, 2007


More green space is coming to downtown St. Louis. According to an article by the post dispatch the city’s Preservation Board gave unanimous approval for the 20 Million Dollar sculpture park that will be created on the gateway mall. A group called the Gateway Foundation, a private agency that has placed art installations around the region, is paying for the project. This project will help create another aesthetically pleasing outdoor space in downtown St. Louis. It will be near the new Old Post Office Plaza.
Investment in green projects, such as this sculpture park are useful ways to attract business and residents to the region. St. Louis has a special taxing district called the Great Rivers Greenway District which uses a 1/10th of 1% sales tax to work“for a clean, green, connected St. Louis region. To deliver its mission, Great Rivers Greenway is spearheading the development of The River Ring, an interconnected system of greenways, parks and trails that will encircle the St. Louis region, enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Purchasing property near this river ring could be a wise investment. Typically property values increase around parks, so there could be the same result near this greenway. Often we get frustrated with the ways our tax dollars are spent. I think the 1/10th of 1 cent sales tax is a small price to pay for a group that is working successfully to provide green space in the St. Louis region.

October 12, 2007


There appears to be a catch 22 in real estate investing. When the market is up, and it is easy to sell homes, it is difficult to acquire bargain property. When the market is down, and it is easy to acquire bargain property, it is difficult to sell your investment. However, there is always opportunity for a savvy real estate investor. Right now there are some good deals, especially on single-family homes. A good strategy now is to look for single-family bargains that can be rented. Typically, when the sales market has a downturn, the rental market has an upturn. After all, people need places to live. If your property is rented for a good monthly rent, the income stream will increase the value of the home because an investor will pay for it. In this situation you are buying a home from the residential market, and then selling it on the commercial market at an increased value. Or you can keep the property as an investment and profit from the income stream. When the sales market picks back up, you can more easily sell the property to a retail buyer. Purchasing rental property in this way is also a good way to speculate. Purchase a rental property in an area you feel will appreciate. Then use the rental income to pay for your investment in interim. For a savvy real estate investor there is always an opportunity.

October 4, 2007


The Delmar Loop has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Great Streets in the country. According to the APA's website "The American Planning Association has selected the Delmar Loop as one of 10 Great Streets in America because of the sustained efforts of local business, government, and the community to achieve successful physical and economic revitalization." This is a perfect example of community, business, and government investing in an area and creating a dramatic positive change. This effort was started by Joe Edwards, a local icon. Joe saw oppotunity in an area most people had abandoned, and invested his time and money in it. This type of vision from a citizen is how areas are transformed. The beauty of the Loop is the Organic growth that has occured. Joe started the ball rolling, but the beauty of the loop is the mix of local and national retailers, as well as the diverse group of people that are visible in the streets. The loop would not have the same charm if it was master planned and developed by one major developer who acquired the land, demolished the buildings, and built a brand new entertainment complex. There are many opportunites in this city to develop appealing sustainable streets. It just takes visionaries to get the ball rolling, and entrepenuers to invest in the area. Check out this link for more information on the APA Great Streets Award. The American Planning Association is holding its 2007 Conference in St. Louis. I'll write more about this event as it gets closer.

October 3, 2007


Commerce Bank and Metro are bringing free public transportation to St. Louis, at least for a day. Throughout the month of October, pick up a free metro pass at any Commerce Bank location in St. Louis City, County, or the Metro East. The pass will allow use of Metrolink and Metro Bus for a whole day anytime throughout 2007. If you don't know where to begin using Metrolink or MetroBus? Go to Metro's home page, they have a feature called "Trip Finder," which allows an easy search of the best way to get where you need to go, when you need to get there. Just plug in your point of origin, your destination, and departure time. "Trip Finder" will tell you how to get there and how long it will take.

Since Highway 40 will be shutting down soon, this will be a good opportunity to see how public transportation in St. Louis works. Public investment in infrastructure is critical to the growth of a city. The government choices of where to spend their infrastructure dollars will greatly affects how a city grows. The more the government spends on roads, the more citizens rely on a car for transportation, because it becomes the easiest most efficient way to travel. When the government spends money on public transportation, more people use public transportation because it becomes an easier and more convenient way to travel. Why not take this opportunity to try Metro for free? When you're using Metro, examine how well it works. Also, think about how it could be improved. For example, where would you like to be able to use Metro to travel to. Could it be more efficient?

Maybe even think about people that rely on public transportation, because they can't afford a car. While we certainly need roads, I think you'll see that investment in public transportation can be a tremendous asset for most citizens and thus, the whole St. Louis Region.