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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.