In Acadiana’s residential real estate market, many buyers are
sitting on the fence waiting for lower interest rates, but if they wait
too long, they might be pushed off the fence by higher rates. Mortgage
rates are destined to come alive and jump forward again. The days of
insanely low 4 percent interest rates are just about gone, and right at
this moment there are newly constructed properties with maximum
amenities, sitting empty.
Buyers, however, are simply not taking advantage of these deals.
A cursory review of local lenders and Realtors paints this picture: “People are actually waiting for interest rates to drop another quarter percent!” Another told me, “Buyers here in Acadiana have, sort of, been sheltered. They have a misguided confidence and are playing the interest rates as if they were on a roulette wheel. You know, ‘come on, 3.75 percent!’”
Meanwhile, builders have had to adjust and cut back on the number of homes they built in 2009, as well as reduce the quality and quantity of special features. Cutbacks began early this year when new construction sales dipped. Builders quickly moved to lower price points and scrapped the higher-end design elements buyers were spoiled into expecting.
Up until now it was expected of new construction to feature deluxe kitchen appliances, including a five- or six-burner gas range, tankless hot water heaters, custom vacuum system, high-end flooring and clay tile roof caps. Buyers willingly paid top dollar for these things, and builders worked hard to out-customize each other. In fact, Lafayette garnered somewhat of a reputation in recent years for quality design and construction.
The trends in new interiors include concrete countertops, though granite is still popular and widely specified. Other trends expected in Acadiana’s moderately priced properties are: triple crown moldings, 10-foot or higher ceilings, separate tiled showers and tiled tub surrounds, outdoor living areas and long-leaf pine flooring.
Upper-end construction here generally means 11-foot or higher ceilings, two dishwashers, three-car garages, complete outdoor kitchens and living areas, walk-in (door-less) natural stone showers and a “man cave” or media room.
Future trends are destined to include more green and eco-friendly features. Builders Brian and Sylvia McLain of McLain Homes, who designed and built this year’s Acadiana Symphony Showcase Home, are raising the bar for green home building here in Acadiana. Their use of sustainable materials and construction methods set the stage. Energy efficient framing and processes, not to mention insulation, lighting and appliances, made this the kind of showcase that other contractors will emulate. It is a trend that is simmering right now, but predictions are that green will be the next hot thing in Lafayette within two years.
Talk with friends who have purchased homes in Austin, Texas, and you’ll hear them voice disappointment about fiberglass showers and no crown molding in some of that city’s high-end properties. Lafayette is not quite there yet, but these reductions may soon become the new norm.
So, the trick right now is to lay claim to these hysterically, er, historically low interest rates while purchasing some of the new construction that does still exist. A home you may have seen two years ago listed in Lafayette for $135 per square foot might enter the market today at $120 per square foot — a bargain no matter the interest rate.
The extended first-time buyer tax credit and the $6,500 “move-up” tax incentive will help sweeten the deal now through April 30, 2010, but that phantom 3.75 percent interest rate will likely never appear. Be delighted — no, ecstatic — with 4 or 5 percent. And know that, in my opinion, your dollar can find real traction in our quality housing market; the deals are out there.
Teresa Hamilton of Van Eaton & Romero has been one of Lafayette’s top agents for more than two decades. This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Realtor Association of Acadiana Multiple Listing Service. Neither the board nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage