There are certain factors in the real estate market that have a simple cause and effect. Chief among them is rising interest rates. Yet, even as those interest rates rise (a full percentage point in May) Lafayette Parish’s home market remains exceptionally healthy. By mid-December the total dollar volume of home sales in the parish had skyrocketed to $642 million, compared with the previous record of $548 million in 2007. That’s a remarkable $100 million more in sales.
As far as Coldwell Banker Pelican Real Estate COO Steven Hebert is concerned, the lion’s share of influence on the local market is the oilfield.
“In South Louisiana we can deal with a few other adversities as long as oilfield employment is good and prospects are bright,” Hebert says. “A really good job and the anticipation of increased pay and more demand for your skills negates concerns over rising interest rates and rising home prices.”
Both numbers in Lafayette Parish are on the rise.
“Up about 6 percent,” Hebert says, noting an average sales price of $200,540 for homes in Lafayette Parish in December 2012 compared to today’s $212,411.
The other component driving future numbers — inventory. As the parish closed out 2013, inventory remained “moderate,” Hebert says, with just more than 400 new homes compared to 344 new homes on the market a year ago.
“I have to credit incredible demand combined with local lending restraint that has kept this number in check. The local home building market is in about the best shape I have ever seen it as we enter the New Year,” Hebert says.
Hebert also points out that 2013 was the first year that topped more than $200 million in sales of new homes. And the final numbers hadn’t yet been tallied when this story went to press.
“Combine this with the aforementioned moderate inventory and you would have to expect 2014 will be another really good year to be a home builder in Lafayette,” Hebert says.
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APR 17 At the start of the Tuesday board meeting that ended with his removal from the President's post, Joe Aguillard told the governing board of Louisiana College that SACS, the accreditation agency, requires the board to adopt a confidentiality agreement regarding board actions. Later that day, SACS told the Town Talk that confidentiality agreements would never be required. Calvinist or not, isn't lying wrong?
APR 17 Here's an interesting column from Paul Stanley, political opinion editor of the Christian Post. He breaks down the differences between David Vitter and Vance McAllister, in terms of political realities. What he found surprising was the fact that many GOP leaders are swinging a self-righteous sword at McAllister which had remained sheathed when Vitter's "sin" was revealed. He does have an interesting theory -- that Jindal's people want the Vitter issue to be revived.
APR 17 Here we are, looking like backwater dummies again in the national media. This story on Huffington Post tells the nation that our legislators are so scared of the Louisiana Family Forum that they won't vote to repeal a law that was ruled illegal years ago. (Guess these particular Christians don't cotton to that "love one another" thing.)
APR 17 Jim Brown writes about Vance McAllister in this week's post. He says that, as one of the north Louisiana "rednecks" in question, he can tell you that they won't be taking the advice of any of the GOP "would-be king makers" who are calling on the man to resign. After all, he says, these are the same voters who rejected the guy those king makers wanted to win in the first place, aren't they?
APR 17 Here's an announcement on the website of Liberty University, the Virginia university founded by Jerry Falwell. In it, we're told that our governor will be pandering, er, speaking, yeah -- speaking to the graduating class in May. "Many believe he could hold the highest office in the land someday," Falwell is quoted as saying.
APR 17 Jeremy Alford profiles political consultant Roy Fletcher in this post on LaPolitics. Fletcher is a great story-teller, and there have certainly been legendary stories told about him, so this wasn't a small job. But Alford did good; it's a fascinating look into Fletcher's background and point of view.
APR 17 Here's the latest on the Real ID law, advancing through the legislature (for now). This is the law that would bring Louisiana into compliance with a federal law requiring that IDs be verifiable. The feds keep pushing the deadline back, but eventually without one you might have to show a passport to board a plane to Houston. According to this story, there's a lady in Shreveport who is against it. Of course - why would anybody ever want to leave Shreveport?
APR 17 There's a bill advancing in the legislature that would allow religious displays for traditional "winter" celebrations, the Associated Press reports here. That means there could be a nativity scene, a menorah (that's the Jewish candelabra, Bubba) or any other symbol, including secular symbols like, presumably, Santa Claus, at public schools.
APR 16 The extended controversy surrounding Louisiana College may begin to wind down now; the Town Talk reports here that embattled president Joe Aguillard has been reduced to a professor position. It's likely that soon we will begin to see the post-mortems begin -- this story isn't over.
APR 16 Lamar Parmentel writes about the latest forecast for Louisiana's future - and it ain't rosy. The fiscal experts in the budget office are predicting a shortfall of nearly $1 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, he writes. This is what the "dead beat" governor is going to leave us as his legacy, Lamar says.
APR 16 The fence blocking the public from Newcomb Boulevard in NOLA came down Tuesday morning, The Lens reports in this post. The fence was put up by neighbors who didn't want just anybody walking on a public street, but there's a big ole picture of a city worker cutting it down in this post. The general public should be able to drive on the street (which they own) in about a week, the story says.
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