Market Watch – The Gateway To The West Is Still Open For Business

Nicknamed the “Gateway to the West” few remember that St. Louis was once in French ownership. As part of the region claimed by LaSalle for France in 1678, St. Louis was founded in early 1764, and became the capital of French Upper Louisiana, and after 1767 the region came under Spanish control. When British forces attacked in 1780 during the Revolutionary War, St. Louis was captured and then transferred back to France in 1800. Later, in 1803, the city was sold as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and became the territorial capital.

St. Louis. © Mike Liu -

When visitors travel to St. Louis today, they won’t have to battle the natives for a tasty treat – something delicious can be found on just about every street and alleyway. Just about any cuisine, from Thai to Tex-Mex, can be found, offering something for everyone. Enjoy a top quality supreme po’ boy at Blue City Deli or a spatula smashed burger at Carl’s Drive-In.

Music lovers delight in the soulful sounds of Jazz, Blues and even Ragtime Music spilling out into the street on a cool summer night.

Football fans can enjoy watching the St. Louis Rams battle it out in Edward Jones Dome,  while Busch Stadium hosts the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful Major League baseball teams around.

The real estate market in St. Louis is similar to others across the country, as it has its strong and its weak areas. The average price per square foot for homes in St. Louis, Missouri was at $81, representing an increase of 14.1% when compared to the same time last year. The median sales price for the last quarter was a very affordable $77,697 and is based on 266 sales for that quarter.

When compared to last year at this time, the median sale price grew 1.3%, however the number of home sales dropped by 69.3%.

According to Zillow’s most recent reports effective November 1st, Saint Louis housing prices are down 8.5% when compared to the same time last year, however the last quarter only saw a drop of 1.3%.

Certain areas saw improvement over last year, such as Clayton/Tamm which increased by 4.4% as well as Downtown and Downtown West which saw growth of 15.5% and 16.4% respectively.

Franz Park and Lewis Place, in the area of St. Louis known as the “Dogtown area” grew by 23% and 50% respectively from this time last year.

St. Louis has nineteen school districts, each with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 77 schools within their district. The student population for each district ranges from as few as 1,200 students to as many as 25,436 students.  As is the case with many large, metropolitan areas, the quality of the schools differs greatly, but a large proportion of schools were rated highly by parents surveyed.

Families love living in St. Louis. With so many things to see and do the opportunities for family fun are many. For train enthusiasts, Big Bend Railroad Club is the oldest model railroad club in the area. Offering free tours, the club has been in the same location since 1938, which is the site of a former railroad depot.

Fun for the grown-ups (and maybe older children) can be had at the historic Bissell Mansion Restaurant and Dinner Theatre. In addition to a delicious four course dinner with wine, guests have the opportunity to participate in the comedy/murder mystery theatre, situated in the oldest home in St. Louis.

St. Louis has been home to many innovative individuals. For example, the 1904 St. Louis World’s fair was the birthplace of the ice cream cone. It’s reported that when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups he enlisted the aid of a waffle vendor, asking him to roll up waffles to hold ice cream for his patrons.

And finally, no discussion of St. Louis would be complete without mentioning the Gateway Arch. Built from 1963 to 1965, the 630 foot stainless steel arch was designed to depict the spirit of the western pioneers. The arch has foundations which go 60 feet deep into the ground and has been constructed to withstand both earthquakes and high winds. It will sway up to an inch in a 20 mph wind, and has been designed to sway up to 18 inches.

The market in St. Louis is very regional in character, with market conditions varying widely between neighborhoods, so individuals who choose to invest or buy would be well advised to enlist the aid of a professional who is very experienced with the area of interest.