As a new year begins, Town & Style talked to real estate experts about how the market performed in 2013, their predictions for 2014 and current and evolving marketing trends .

[lori woodward]
Gladys Manion broker and vice president

>> On 2014: “The recovery started in 2012 and kicked into high gear in 2013. Our sales were up 30 to 35 percent both years, and 2013 was a record year for Gladys Manion. The market is charging forward. Inventory is low, and there’s been a lot of pent-up buyers waiting to see what’s going to happen. Our challenge is going to come with the inventories. There’s not that many great homes out there, and everyone wants a good one. No one wants a fixer-upper anymore; they don’t want the hassle and inconveniences, so houses that are well-priced and move-in ready are not as available.”

>> On defining a normal market: “I read this article titled ‘The Five Percent Rule’ by Steve Murray in REAL Trends. They analyzed housing data going back to the ‘80s to determine what a normal market is, and they found that on average, 5 percent of homeowners move per year. Now there are about 122 million households in the U.S., including owners and renters, and in September and October, about 6.2 million households were moving. So that’s the 5 percent, meaning we’re currently in a normal market.”

[chuck roper]
Janet McAfee head of marketing

>> On 2014: “We are very optimistic about 2014 for a variety of reasons. Interest rates are low, inventory is low, and there’s pent-up buyer demand. It’s basically still a buyer’s market. On the contrary, when it’s a strong seller’s market, we’ll sell over half of our own listings to McAfee buyers. What happens is there’s no inventory, or there’s low inventory, and people find out about opportunities at our sales meetings, then houses are snatched up before they come on the market. That’s when you know it’s a real seller’s market. And it is still somewhat a seller’s market for well-priced homes in good locations—buyers are making multiple contract offers. They have taken the typical sales cycle and turned it upside down. We’ve sold more houses in the fourth quarter of 2013 than we did in the fourth quarter of recent years.”

>> On real estate marketing: “We practice multi-channel marketing. That means we market our properties across digital platforms, print and social media. We are going to continue marketing our properties the way we did in the past. We’ve increased our investments in technology, meaning more efficient service delivery to our clients, and we’ve also increased our marketing budget for 2014.”

[andy dielmann]
Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty president and founder

>> On 2014: “I think 2014 will be a continuation of the 2013 market, meaning that it’s going to be a good year. There’s still a lot of pent-up demand, and we’re still seeing low inventory, but we’re hoping more people bring their homes on the market in spring. From what I’m hearing, our agents have a lot of buyers out there ready to enter the market, so that’s a good sign. I’ve been in the business for 37 years, all in St. Louis. I started back in 1976, so I’ve seen the ups and downs and we’re definitely in a good period now to both sell and buy. Rates right now are very attractive, but we all know they’ll eventually go up. And prices will also slowly start to rise, probably in the near future.”

>> On real estate marketing: “We’re still doing a lot of print, probably more than ever before. And social media is very big—we do Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter. You might see more video in the coming year, where you actually can upload video of your home to social media outlets. Blogs are another big thing, and we try to expose our listings to a variety of websites and print outlets. We do a lot of different things because you never know where your buyer is going to come from.”

[kathy beilein]
Laura McCarthy president

>> On 2014: “Last year ended up much better than expected, even though the supply was low. Business in the central corridor was up 12 to 15 percent over 2012, and for the period from August to December, Laura McCarthy was up 38 percent over last year. This bodes well and takes momentum into 2014. The market has shifted from a buyer’s market to more of a seller’s market, mainly because of the lack of inventory, and I don’t see that changing. But I think buyers will continue to be savvy; we’re seeing that they are not paying much above where they see recent comps.”

>> On real estate marketing: “We’re always looking for ways to enhance the experience for buyers, and we take a cross-marketing approach. Having a mobile site is important, because buyers want to easily access information on their mobile devices. Buyers now expect homes to be in good condition, and they have become really picky, so it behooves sellers to bring their home to market ready to go.” On St. Lo uis: “We have a lot of great neighborhoods, and buyers moving from other urban areas appreciate the housing stock and the amenities St. Louis offers. And people in St. Louis appreciate the great choices we have in terms of education, and it doesn’t end with elementary and high schools—we also have really good universities. We do a significant amount of relocation and we find clients are impressed by what St. Louis has to offer.”