Pending sales also on the rise
Home sales in the Baton Rouge metro area grew 25 percent in May, and inventory has dropped significantly during the same period, according to figures compiled by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.
Realtors in the eight-parish area sold 731 houses in May compared with 585 during that month last year. Dollar volume was up 26 percent to $144.1 million.
For the year, the metro area is up 20 percent in homes sold — 2,951 compared with 2,458 — and valuation is up 18 percent to $555.5 million.
There were 4,379 homes on the market at the end of May, six months of inventory at the current rate of sales, compared with 5,107 a year earlier, which was 8.72 months worth of inventory then.
The average current days on market for homes was 127 in May, down from 146 that month last year.
Sandy Daly of C.J. Brown, the city’s largest residential real estate company, said the decline in inventory has been striking. According to her data, there are about 13 percent fewer homes on the market than there were a year ago.
Another trend is an upward tick in pending sales, which Daly said has risen 25 percent.
Since late last year, consumer confidence among buyers has been rising and sellers have come down on their asking price.
“I do think sellers are getting acclimated to current market value, and that has affected their asking price,” Daly said. “I think they’re realistic in understanding that if you’re serious about selling your home, you get serious about pricing your home.”
If the market stays on its current track, home prices could begin to come up.
“We haven’t seen any appreciable price increase, but if that pattern continues of inventory going down and pendings going up, you’ll start seeing some nudge in the sales prices,” Daly said.
Daly said C.J. Brown is also seeing many more multiple offers on properties, and that homes that are well-priced and in good condition in a good location are going under contract in as little as two days. She also said more sellers are selling so they can move up to bigger houses. A far more common answer in recent, leaner years was that people were moving to apartments.
“I’m hearing more and more of my agents talking about people putting their homes on the market because they’re buying, and that’s exciting,” she said.
Daly said three years of pent-up demand is starting to spring forth, and historically low interest rates and loan credit offers are helping deals get done.
Taking a closer look at the numbers for May:
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH: Realtors sold 426 homes sold in May, up 29 percent from 329 a year ago. Dollar volume was up 23 percent to $87.1 million.
For the year, sales are up 21 percent to 1,615 homes and up 16 percent to $317.7 million in dollar volume.
ASCENSION PARISH: Realtors sold 127 homes in May, up 9 percent from 117 a year ago, while dollar volume rose 25 percent to $26.9 million.
For the year, sales are up 22 percent to 567 homes and up 25 percent to $114.4 million in dollar volume.
LIVINGSTON PARISH: Realtors sold 114 homes in May, up 19 percent from 96 a year ago, and dollar volume rose 26 percent to $18.0 million.
For the year, sales are up 13 percent to 503 homes and up 11 percent to $75.0 million in dollar volume.
OTHER PARISHES: The “other” category, which consists of West Baton Rouge, Iberville, East and West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee, was up 49 percent in May — 64 homes sold compared to 43 — and volume rose 54 percent to $12.7 million.
For the year, the “other” category is up 27 percent to 266 in homes sold and up 33 percent to $48.3 million in dollar volume.