This certainly wasn’t the case in June of 2009. With the national real estate industry in shambles and credit tight for home buyers, our market was off by double digits at midyear as compared to 2008. A slide that began in the last quarter of 2008 persisted, and it appeared our local market hadn’t seen the worst yet. It wasn’t until July that 2009 sales bested 2008 for any single month. Fortunately, that trend continued: Every month in the last half of the year, except August, was better than 2008. By the end of the year, units, sales volume and average prices were all within 1 or 2 percent of 2008.
We have indeed come a long way, and there are some encouraging signs heading into 2010. Most notably, active inventory has remained stable, prices held or increased, and new construction is up. One bellwether indicator is active inventory — the more homes on the market, the more downward pressure on prices, resulting in fewer sales. Inventory has remained low all through 2009 as compared to the prior year and remains steady into 2010. While I would like to see our inventory a bit lower, the number stabilizing is a good first step.
When compared with 2008, the entire Acadiana area’s average sales price was actually slightly up in 2009. Average price for the Acadiana Multiple Listing Service was also up by a full 2 percent. Not many markets in the country can make that claim.
Another encouraging sign is our new construction market. After spending most of 2008 on the sidelines while existing inventory dried up, many builders reinvented and targeted new buyer demand. Anything under a $200,000 sales price is now in high demand, as first-time home buyers, armed with tax credits and low interest rates, pace this market with a particular desire for new construction. The total number of new construction sales were up in 2009 compared to 2008, a trend that will continue in 2010.
Challenges certainly remain. It has never been more difficult to complete a real estate transaction than it is right now. Even if you have a willing, qualified buyer and seller, new and constantly changing national lending requirements from Fannie Mae and FHA present roadblock after roadblock. What is approved in the morning is not approved in the afternoon. This causes delays, increased expense and all around frustration for everyone involved in the transaction. The rule of the day is for all parties to anticipate this, be patient and work through the process. Crossing the finish line does result in a good buy for most, as well as low interest rates and a tax credit in the mail.
While our overall economy has fared quite well, there is still caution in the oilfield industry. Yes, we have diversified, but we are still an oil town. While there appears to be some optimism in regard to prices headed into this year, most of the industry is holding its collective breath with expected new regulations coming from Congress. Optimism in the oilfield usually translates into spending and investment in Acadiana, but right now people are being cautious.
With all of that said, we actually have very little to complain about. Our real estate market and economy are in much better shape than most around the country and around the state. Should we get any wind in our sails, many buyers are on the sidelines waiting for the right signals to invest. Waiting for them is a great selection of homes, historically low interest rates and tax credits for both first-time and repeat buyers.
As we look forward, the safe bet is on 2010 ending up much like 2009. Expect more of the same. We do expect to see some improvement in the first half of the year with tax credits expiring prior to midyear, but dependency upon those credits and news from the oilfield will likely determine what happens after June.
Steven Hebert has been in real estate and construction all of his life, having begun cleanup work on his father’s construction sites at age 6. He is now the COO of Coldwell Banker Pelican Real Estate, a nationally franchised, full service real estate firm.
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
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.
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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
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.
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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.