BR-area home sales up 5 percent in February

Baton Rouge metro area home sales rose 5 percent in February from a year ago, according to figures compiled by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

Realtors sold 540 houses in February compared with 512 that month last year.

Dollar volume rose 9 percent to $106.1 million in February.

“Frankly, I think people are feeling a little better about the economy and a little better about the market,” said David McKey, of Coldwell Banker One.

McKey said that with mortgage rates at historic lows, buyers sitting on the sidelines have had to jump into the market.

He said brokers are seeing multiple offers on homes and, “we haven’t seen that in a while.”

For the year so far, Realtors have sold 1,014 homes, 7 percent more than the 947 in the first two months of 2012. Dollar volume was up 8 percent to $189.2 million during the same period.

Homes are selling faster, with the average current days on market falling to 126 days from 156. Inventory was down to 7.34 months worth of homes compared with 8.78 in February 2012.

There were 3,967 homes on the market in February, and the 3,922 on the market in January is the first time in at least two years that the number went below 4,000.

“It’s been quite some time since we’ve had inventory as low as less than 4,000 homes on the market,” he said.

McKey said that trend is making the metro area “more of a seller’s market than a buyer’s market.”

The median sales price in February was $172,950 compared with $165,000 a year earlier.