190920_newhome_ray

Work continued Wednesday afternoon for the construction of a new home in the Greystone Subdivision in northeast St. Joseph. Locating a new home is a major determinant for some of those considering a move to St. Joseph.

A new study casts an intriguing light on factors that go a long way in determining whether someone is interested in moving to St. Joseph.

The review, published recently by UnitedStatesZipCodes.org, includes such data as median home values, median household incomes, and public/private school enrollments, for six of the city’s eight ZIP codes. The data is derived from the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Yahoo, Google, FedEx and UPS.

”When determining where you want to live, there are few factors more important than the average household income of the area,” the study’s authors said. “Higher incomes bring more money for school districts, local government services, and more consumer spending for local businesses.”

In the vast 64506 ZIP code, for example, the median home value was $161,400 and the median household income was $53,908. Total school enrollment, with public and private schools combine, was 3,653.

The information also gives pause to such trends as new housing growth in the city. At the Greystone Subdivision, on St. Joseph’s still burgeoning northeast side, new construction was still ongoing Wednesday afternoon.

”Greystone seems to be doing really great,” said Rick Stoneburner, a job foreman with Superior Construction Design in St. Joseph. Despite the intense heat, he and his crew was busy working to assemble a house in the subdivision.

Stoneburner said he sees no signs that St. Joseph’s housing boom will decline anytime soon. He knows next year’s elections will be closely watched for their impact to the housing market, yet wants to see the good times extend into 2020.

”We hope that continues into winter,” he said of the present activity in local home construction.

Other observers are monitoring additional facets of the city’s housing scene.

”I think our (new) housing stock is low,” said R. Patt Lilly, president and chief executive officer for the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. Lilly said he includes those homes considered to be executive-level type of domiciles that are available for purchase.

”I’ve heard that from individuals in the community” and others who are choosing to live elsewhere in the region, he added of that assessment.

A large variety of used homes is also available, Lilly continued, due to improvements that have stabilized some of St. Joseph’s older neighborhoods.

He noted that some business and corporate executives may choose to live in the city for only three to five years and may be on the lookout for a home that will be easy to resell.

”In some respects, it will help the housing market,” he said.

However, a spectre may be looming on the horizon for local housing.

”You’re beginning to find few places to build homes in St. Joseph,” said Lilly.

Bobbi Howe, president-elect of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, said 46 new St. Joseph homes have been listed with the group so far this year. She said that number compares favorably with the pace of 2018.

Howe said the politics that will surface next year could cause some potential home buyers to temporarily hit the pause button. Yet she contends the majority of those involved in the market will continue with their business as usual.

According to Howe, St. Joseph’s average price point for new homes is up by almost $20,000 this year — from $244,000 in 2018 to $263,000.

Clint Thompson, director of planning and development for the city of St. Joseph, told News-Press NOW that 32 new home permits have been issued so far this year. That contrasts with the 42 that were issued for all of 2018.

”I think the dynamic of new construction changed after the recession of 2008,” Thompson said. “More construction was due to new single-family homes built with a buyer in mind and less speculative construction. I think interest rates cause slight fluctuations in the construction numbers and availability of buildable lots in St. Joseph.”

Ray Scherer can be reached

at ray.scherer@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPScherer.