Baton Rouge-area home sales were down 10.9% in January compared to the year before, the sixth month in a row year-to-year activity was down.
There were 557 homes sold in metro Baton Rouge during January, according to figures released Monday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. That compares with 625 Multiple Listing Service sales in the nine-parish region during January 2018. The last time there was a year-to-year increase in the number of homes sold was July.
Local real estate officials have blamed the decrease in sales to rising interest rates and increasing home prices.
The partial government shutdown, which covered much of January, may have also been a factor. The month-long shutdown kept the U.S. Department of Agriculture from approving a segment of home loans that are popular with first-time buyers. The loans don’t require a down payment and allow for lower credit scores and income levels compared with other loans. Plus, while the loans are meant to serve rural areas, much of metro Baton Rouge falls under the designation, including all of Ascension and Livingston parishes and southeast Baton Rouge.
The decline in sales was spread evenly across the market. East Baton Rouge Parish, which accounts for the largest part of the local housing market, had a 9% drop to 302 MLS sales in January, compared to 332 a year earlier. Ascension Parish had a 10.6% drop sales to 101 from 113. Livingston Parish dripped 8.7% to 105 from 115.
Despite the decrease in sales, home prices continued to rise locally. The median sale price for a home in metro Baton Rouge was $205,253, an 8% increase from $190,000 in January 2018. That means half the homes sold for below that price, half for above that price. The average sale price rose by 3.3% to $221,899 from $214,819. The average sale price can be affected by luxury home sales.
Pending sales, an indicator of future activity, rose by 7.7% in January to 821 from 762. New listings were up 10.8% to 1,258 from 1,135.
There were 4,132 homes for sale in metro Baton Rouge during January, a 14.5% increase from the year before. The supply increased from 4 months to 4.6 months. Six months is considered a healthy supply of homes. The number of days a house was on the market before it sold was up to 79 from 67.
Tribune Content Agency