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.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
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The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, March 06, 2014:
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
Saluting the red, white and blue — let freedom ring
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Feel the spectrum
Unless you work for an energy company, specific decisions related to the economics, risk, etc. are not conveyed to the public. They are a closely guarded secret.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
Lafayette native screenwriter returns
New standards curb elective induction