Home sales soaring in Acadiana
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Home sales in Lafayette have skyrocketed to record levels, and builders and sellers say they are preparing for a busy summer season.
Bill Bacque, president of Van Eaton & Romero Inc. real estate, characterized the market as “exceptional” and said barring “unforeseen circumstances,” 2013 will be a banner year for real estate in Lafayette Parish.
Bacque cited Multiple Listing Services data in noting that for every month this year, closed home sales in Acadiana have exceeded the same month last year.
In fact, Bacque said, the 1,301 closed residential sales in Lafayette Parish through the end of May is 15.4 percent more than the cumulative 1,126 closed sales through May 2007, the benchmark year for home sales in the area.
Bacque said that year marked “the apex of the real estate market in Lafayette.” Lafayette Parish real estate benefited in 2007 from an influx of people — many from New Orleans or southwest Louisiana — who moved in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and decided to stay.
Statistics through May show cumulative home sales in Lafayette Parish outpacing 2007 cumulative numbers for dollar volume of closed sales by $274,316,913 to $230,699,184 — an increase of 18.91 percent over that record year. Year over year, the growth in dollar volume of closed residential sales has risen by 37.86 percent over 2012’s cumulative dollar volume of closed sales of $198,981,969.
Bacque said average home-sales prices have increased by 8.3 percent, but they also have increased at a slower rate for median sales prices: $177,000 this year and $172,000 for last. That softens the effect of high-end sales in the market and suggests homes remain affordable.
Pam Weaver, president of the Acadiana Home Builders Association, said builders are very positive about the year’s outlook.
“The mood is great” among builders, she said. Consumer demand in homes of 3,000 square feet or more is also growing, as it is for homes costing $300,000 to $400,000, she said.
Weaver said some builders are finding it difficult to secure lots on which to build, and labor can be in short supply.
“It’s hard to find good people,” she said.
Weaver said the Lafayette housing market, bolstered by a strong and diverse local economy, did not suffer the severe downturns experienced elsewhere in the country.
Gregg Gothreaux, president and chief executive officer of Lafayette Economic Development Authority, said stagnant home sales are the first sign of an economic downturn.
Conversely, he said, housing is the last thing to rebound in a recovery. The surge in home sales shows the economic recovery has taken root in Acadiana, he said.