Home sales up in January

Home sales in metro Baton Rouge were up 8.6 percent in January, thanks to strong sales in Ascension Parish.

There were 519 home sales that closed in January in the nine-parish area, according to figures from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. That compares with 478 closed sales in January 2013.

Sales in Ascension were up by nearly 44 percent, from 82 to 118 over the year. Livingston Parish and East Baton Rouge parishes were virtually unchanged for the month. Livingston went from 83 sales in January 2013 to 84, a 1.2 percent increase. East Baton Rouge dropped slightly from 269 sales in 2013 to 266 last month, a 1.1 percent drop.

January was the 17th consecutive month there was a local year-to-year increase in home sales.

Pending sales in the metro area were up nearly 27 percent over 2013, from 611 to 774.

The median sales price in the area was up 4 percent, from $162,000 in 2013 to $168,500 last month.

Homes in the metro area continued to come off the market at a faster pace.

The average number of days a home was on the market in January was 86, down from 100 the year before. The inventory of homes continued to shrink, thanks to the bustling market. There were 3,806 homes listed in January, down 8.9 percent from the year before. The supply in months was 5.2, compared with 6.4 in 2013.

It may take longer to boost the inventory of homes. The number of new listings on the market was down more than 18 percent, from 1,190 in January 2013 to 973.