Home sales in metro Baton Rouge were 5.3% lower in 2018 than the year before, but home prices continued to rise as did the inventory and days on the market.
There were 10,603 homes sold in the nine-parish area compared to 11,198 in 2017, according to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. That’s slightly lower than sales figures for 2016, when there were 10,710 MLS sales, but well ahead of the 2015 pace, when 9,769 sales were recorded.
Matt Hughes, president of the Realtors association, said home sales in 2018 were offset by all the properties that changed hands as a result of the August 2016 floods. “We’re still in a complex situation coming out of the flood,” he said. “There were people who weren’t planning to sell houses in 2016 and 2017 but did.”
Hughes, an agent with Keller Williams in Denham Springs, said rising interest rates were also a factor in the slowdown in home sales. “In 2018, properties were not selling as fast, but they weren’t depreciating,” he said.
Sales were down across the major parishes in the market. In East Baton Rouge, there were 5,629 MLS sales for 2018. That was 7.1% fewer than the 6,058 MLS sales for 2017.
Ascension Parish had the smallest drop, with 1,951 MLS sales for 2018, compared to 1,983 in 2017 for a 1.6% decrease. Livingston Parish had a 4.8% drop in sales for the year to 1,982 from 2,082.
The median sale price of a home rose by 5.3% to $199,900 for the year. That means half of the homes sold went for below that price and half came in above that. In 2017, the median sale price was $189,900.
The average sale price was $226,913, 4.8% higher than for 2017. Average sale prices can be skewed by sales of luxury properties.
The slowdown in home sales led the number of days a house was on the market to rise from 57 to 66 in 2018. At the end of 2018, metro Baton Rouge had a 4.6-month supply of homes, compared to a 4-month supply in December 2017. Still inventory is tight: six months is considered to be a balanced supply.
The number of new listings for 2018 was 3.6% higher at 15,457 new listings for the year, compared to 14,926 for 2017. The number of homes for sale in December was 4,050, a 12.6% increase over the 3,596 properties for sale in December 2017.
Chelsea Meng, an agent with C.J. Brown Real Estate, said metro Baton Rouge is currently more buyers, with a little bit of inventory and good interest rates. While some rates were approaching 5% at the end of 2018, they’re now in the low 4 percent range. “I’m seeing a lot more buyers now than at the end of 2018,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of first-time homebuyers like we normally see at the beginning of the year.”
Meng, the president-elect of the board of Realtors, said Southdowns and Prairieville are hot areas. “There are a lot of new developments and construction in Prairieville,” she said.
Tribune Content Agency