Buying A Home
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Moving to St. Louis

My husband and I are planning a move to St. Louis over the summer.  Any info, insight, or advice on the various neighborhoods?  

Re: Moving to St. Louis

  • Are you thinking about the city or the suburbs.
  • What is your budget? I'm from North St. Louis County. I live about 2 hours away from stl now, but my parents and brother's family are still there, so I'm in town regularly.

    There are several distinct areas of St. Louis. The joke is that you know someone is from stl because the first question they ask when the meet another st. louisan is, "where did you go to high school?" Knowing where someone went to school tells you what area they're from (or if they went to catholic/private) and basically you know their whole demo. It's pretty ridiculous. 

    So the basic areas I would identify for the whole metro are: City&Clayton, North County, South County, West County, St. Charles County, and Chestefield-area.

    CITY: Within the city limits of st. louis, you also have north city (fairly dangerous, run-down), downtown (spotty safety, mostly bars and ballparks and businesses), forest park (museums and the zoo and beautiful old homes that are crazy expensive), south city (fairly safe, small old brick homes, lots of italian and irish catholic roots). Most people who move to stl are not looking to move to st. louis city proper, but there are good options there if you want a more urban feel. But you can also get the urban feel in other parts of stl.

    CLAYTON: I usually associate this with the st. louis city because it's right outside city limits to the west and the boundary is pretty blurry. Clayton is trendy with rising prices, but it's still got a lot of the older character of St. Louis city. I used to live just north of Clayton in University City. It's kind of a poor man's Clayton with cheaper options and a little more crime. It's home to The Loop (google it) which was super fun to live on when I was 23!

    NORTH COUNTY: If someone is catholic in Stl, their grandparents definitely lived in North County. In the last 20 years though, most of those catholic people have moved to St. Charles or South County during the White Flight. It's my hometown, so I love NOCO. It's a really diverse area with people of many races (mainly black then white, latino, and middle eastern). Some people might take issue with the schools, but I think they measure up pretty well if you are an involved parent. I graduated from Ferguson-Florissant and I did very well for myself academically. Prices in NOCO are very reasonable and the typical home style is a ranch with basement - garages range from car ports to two car attached. Right now is a pretty good time to buy in NOCO because home values fell with the Michael Brown protests. Florissant and Hazelwood are both good school systems with nice neighborhoods and pretty low crime rates. You've also got Maryland Heights which is in west north county, just north of west county. It's got a good school system and is typically seen as nicer, although that's really only a perception. As a general rule of thumb, north of I-270 is more suburban feeling with lower crime rates, with Ferguson as the exception just south of 270. Of course it's kind of a loaded name right now, but if you stayed in the Ferg-Flor school district, you'd be fine)

    WEST COUNTY: West County was where all the rich, non-catholic, white people flew to. It's still seen as a wealthy area and many of the neighborhoods feature large, two-story homes with 2-3 car garages. Schools are good, mostly because incomes are higher and you've got mostly 2-parent involved families. There are still affordable homes available, but property taxes are of course higher. Webster Groves and Kirkwood and the Parkway area are all nice with some affordable options. There is a large Jewish community in the Parkway South area, so if that's a cultural identity of your family, it would be supported there. West County has some diversity, mostly with asian-americans and just a sprinkling of other people of color.

    SOUTH COUNTY: Admittedly, I know the least about South County because it was so far out of my way. There is not much diversity, the average family incomes are probably about equal to NOCO, but there are some really ritzy areas as well. The first thing that comes to mind with south county is that it is just really white. They are just north of Jefferson County which is pretty racist and anti-government. Basically, if you're voting for Donald Trump for president, you would probably really like South County. Aside from the people, it's conveniently close to downtown and it's got all the expected suburban amenities with pretty typical ranch homes.

    ST. CHARLES COUNTY: Sprung up almost entirely in the last 30 years, st. chuck is sprawling and diverse in its income levels and home sizes. School districts are fine, big high schools. You're going to have a bit more traffic if you're commuting to work in stl county, but that's pretty standard. Historic St. Charles has some really beautiful older bungalo homes and then the rest of the county is neighborhood developments. Tons of options on price and st. chuck has gone from exurb to suburb in the last 20 years, so you won't have to cross the river much at all. It's just been on a boom for years, so it's a decent choice in terms of resale.

    CHESTERFIELD AREA: I consider this anything around I-64/40 south of 70 and west of 270 - Chestefield, Ballwin, Weldon Springs, Wildwood. It's had a lot of retail growth in the last 5 years and is basically the exurb of the west county folks. There are still older homes available at affordable prices, but it's got a lot of larger, sprawling homes with high dollar values. They just built 3 new luxury outlet malls in Chesterfield, so the area will probably keep growing. Commutes are better than they used to be, but not great any way you're going (out to st. chuck or anywhere east/north). I do not know the diversity levels in Chesterfield, but I tend to suspect it's fairly white. My couple friends just moved out there and he's black and she's latina, so they've at least got those two counting now. 

    That's about all I've got. You can find affordable homes most anywhere. You will also find tons of bias (as evident in my defensive-sounding post lol!). I personally loved north county because it feels like the only place in St. Louis where people of different races and backgrounds live and go to school side by side. Not to say people are racist in all the rest of St. Louis, it just seems like much more of a thing elsewhere. Aside from maybe Clayton School District, you've probably got pretty equal learning outcomes when you adjust for SES. 

    If I were buying in St. Louis, I'd want a garage and a basement for sure. I'd also want to think carefully about my commute times to work and take a look at property tax levels. 

    Hope that helps!
  • Disneygeek77Disneygeek77 member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 2016
    If you are thinking about the suburbs, I can vouch for a city close to me.  It is St. Charles, Missouri.  It has a historic main street as it is one of the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi.  In addition,  Lewis and Clark started their expedition down the Missouri River at St. Charles, Missouri.  Today there is a small museum with artifacts and a replica of their boat.  St. Charles is a unique little city that has lots of charm and fun events to attend.  One of our favorite places is Main Street.  Main street has many family owned restaurants, unique shops and hosts various festivals throughout the year.  My family goes there a lot actually.  Just there yesterday to pick up cookies at one of our favorite shops called Grandma's Cookies.  We also started a tradition where on the kid's last day of school we take them to an ice cream shop called Kilwin's ( I think this one is a chain) and get ice cream.  In July, we go there for their fantastic fireworks display; during October we go for the Pumpkin Glow the weekend before Halloween and on Halloween we take the kids trick or treating.  My favorite time of year is Christmas.  Main street is magical during Christmas.  The trees are decorated with gold lights.  The stores are adorned with garland and velvet red bows and the streets are filled with Christmas characters.  What the city does is they hire 30 or so actors to roam the streets and portray Christmas characters from all over the world.  You can meet Jack Frost, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mother Goose, Saint Lucia  and many others.  They even have different Santas from all over the world and from Different eras.  My children have met Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Mac Nicholas, some guy from Russia who I can't recall right now.  THey also met Civil War Santa, Revolutionary War Santa and a modern Santa.  They also have Dickens era carolers singing your favorite Christmas tunes and others selling roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate.  The homes in the area surrounding Main Street are very nice as well.  Older, but nice and with lots of charm.  I have two friends that have bought homes in old Saint Charles and while their homes are perfect, they do love them.   Here is some more information if you would like .

  • @simplyelise, NOLA is like that also for schools.  People will ask, "Where did you go to school?"  And they don't mean college, lol!
  • We are looking for something in the city or very close.  I will be attending Washington University in the fall and my husband will be going to St. Louis University.
  • My sister lives in an apartment across interstate 40 from Forest park. The apartment is newer and she has a parking garage. She loves it as she is close to the park. I'm jealous because she is really close to ikea. She is, oh I don't know, less than 10 minutes from wash u. Probably the same for SLU. I done know the name of her complex, but I can find out if you want.
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