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.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.