Lafayette home sales dip; outer parishes get boost

Homes sales for the first six months of this year were down 3 percent in Lafayette Parish, but strong sales in surrounding areas pushed the region as a whole about 1 percent over last year’s numbers, according to a mid year market analysis.

Homes sales in Lafayette Parish from January to June were at 1,555, down from the 1,606 sales reported for the first six months of 2013, which was a record year for the local real estate market.

But sales in parishes surrounding Lafayette were up nearly 12 percent, raising total sales for the Acadiana region to 2,349, just over the 2,316 sales reported for Acadiana in the first six months of 2013, according to the analysis by Van Eaton & Romero Chief Executive Officer Bill Bacqué.

“From my perspective, I’m still pretty darn bullish,” Bacqué said.

He said the dip in Lafayette Parish might be explained by two forces in the market.

First, buyers this year could be holding out to get exactly what they want, Bacqué said.

For homes in the $150,000 to $300,000 range — the bulk of the market — there was a four-month available supply in Lafayette Parish as of June. That’s generally considered a tight market.

“I do think lack of available selection does impact people looking for homes, especially if they don’t have to buy,” Bacqué said. “If you can’t find what you want, you’re just not going to buy it.”

A second factor is that sales last year in Lafayette Parish were likely driven to some degree by pent-up demand: buyers making their move after holding back a few years because of economic uncertainty.

“That pent-up demand came into the marketplace in a big way in 2013,” Bacqué said.

Once that demand is satisfied, the market will naturally correct itself and cool down a bit, he said.

Despite the overall dip in the Lafayette Parish market in the first half of the year, new construction was a bright spot, and it was the sluggish sales of existing homes that pulled the market down.

Sales of new construction from January to June were up 7 percent compared with the same period last year, while sales of existing homes, a larger share of the market, were down by 7 percent.

Bacqué’s analysis also shows that home prices remain strong.

The median sales price in Lafayette Parish was at $189,000 for the first half of the year, up about 7 percent over the median sales price of $179,000 for the first six months of 2013.

Bacqué’s market analysis is based on numbers from the Realtor Association of Acadiana.