Capital Region 2012 home sales on pace to match ’08 figures

From the Baton Rouge Business Report, Real Estate Weekly:

Three-quarters of the way through the year, homes sales in the eight-parish  region tracked by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors are far  outpacing sales in 2011, 2010 and 2009—and are only 1.5% off the year-to-date  tally from the pre-recession 2008 sales figures. A total of 5,833 homes have  sold in the region through September. That’s a nearly 13% increase over the  5,174 sales recorded in the first three quarters of 2011, a 15% increase over  the 5,069 sold in 2010, and a roughly 11% increase over the 5,241 sold in 2009.  This year’s tally through the third quarter indicates just 86 fewer sales than  in 2008. GBRAR President-Elect Pat Wattam says she expects 2012 sales to match  or exceed 2008 levels when the year is over. “I saw the market turn the corner  last November, and what we’ve seen since is a steady continuation of that,” she  says. While sales figures are paramount, Wattam says she’s also keeping an eye  on another figure: the months of inventory for the eight-parish region. In  September, it dropped to 6.24 months. A year ago, that figure was at 7.69, and  it actually reached as high as 10 months around the start of 2012. Wattam says  declining months’ inventory is a clear sign of an improving market and that she  expects it will continue to fall. She says a healthy market is generally one  with about five to eight months of inventory. “With East Baton Rouge dropping  below the eight months supply point, that means we’re in a very, very steady  market. It’s not a buyer’s market, but it’s not a seller’s market either,” she  says. “And in Ascension Parish, that number just dropped to below six months.  That tells me it’s flipping to a seller’s market.” —Steve  Sanoski This week’s poll question: Do you  believe the Capital Region housing market has fully recovered from the  recession?

Read more from Business Report here:

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Baton Rouge home markets seen as one of the strongest

From Yahoo:

America’s strongest economies have one thing in common — home prices that never got too hot or too cold.

Home prices in metros such as San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Little Rock, Ark., and Baton Rouge, La., remained steady through boom and bust. Although no metropolitan area entirely avoided the economic downturn, the most resilient metros were protected by a potent mix of recession-resistant jobs.

The upstate New York areas of Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo suffered from declining jobs in manufacturing, but got significant boosts from sizable health-care, education, and government sectors. Construction is booming in Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital, as firms take advantage of financing for post-Katrina hurricane recovery work and service-related companies expand to meet the needs of a growing population. Omaha and the state of Iowa have relatively strong insurance sectors.

Texas, the last state to enter recession, has been bolstered by its oil and gas industries — which have also helped Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Louisiana. Texas also has many other things going for it, including affordable home prices and relatively low wages, which attract corporations. used data and analysis from the Brookings Institution’s new MetroMonitor to come up with the nation’s 40 strongest economies. The MetroMonitor, which measures the nation’s health on a quarterly basis, ranks the top 100 metros based on job growth, unemployment, gross metropolitan product, and home prices.

A relative boom in Baton Rouge

“No place has been untouched by this recession. This is a change from previous recessions,” said Alan Berube, a senior fellow and research director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. “But there’s a big difference in losing one-tenth of a percentage and losing 15% of jobs.”

Baton Rouge, which was ranked No. 6, “grew jobs every month until August 2009 and in August it only lost nine-tenths of a percent, compared to 5.1% nationally,” said Lauren C. Scott, professor emeritus of economics at Louisiana State University.

Scott said $5.1 billion of construction projects have been announced or are under construction in the Baton Rouge metro, including a new plant for French chemical company SNF and the expansion of an ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOMNews) chemical plant.

“One nice thing after another thing happened that has countered what’s happening in the rest of the country,” Scott said.

Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University in Omaha, who studies much of the nation’s energy and farm belts, said the strong dollar early this year hurt farm exports. “But the dollar has now weakened significantly and that will be good for the farm sector and energy commodities,” Goss said. “I think 2010 is going to be much better than 2009. But we are still not going to have a lot of job gains.

A 22-year unemployment high in Texas

Although the metros in the ranking are strong by relative standards, their unemployment rates in many cases are now peaking because they entered the recession late. Texas, which had 5 metros in our top 10, including No. 1 San Antonio, is a good example.

The unemployment rate in Texas hit 8.2% in September, rising above 8% for the first time in 22 years. But that’s a very low unemployment rate, compared to the national rate of 9.8% or to Nevada’s 13.3% rate.

Texas is unlikely to face a prolonged downturn, said Terry Clower, an economist at the University of North Texas. The state’s affordable cost of living make it attractive to new residents and corporations, the largest of which tend to be based near Houston and Dallas.

“It’s perceived as a low-cost place to do business,” Clower said. “Because housing is affordable, the wage rates reflect that.”

Marisa Di Natale, a director at Moody’s, said late arrivals to the recession will generally face mild downturns.

These metros “haven’t had a big erosion in housing wealth, which has kept consumer spending stronger than it would otherwise be,” Di Natale said.”

1627 Munal, Baton Rouge, La 70816

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2100 sq ft of living for 185000!

2100 sq ft of living for 185000!

First time homebuyer tax credit – Time running out!

Ok, EVERYONE is aware of the homebuyer tax credit ending NOV 30th.  But, I want to stress the point that we essentially have 2-3 weeks to get a home under contract!  If you aren’t searching for homes, I highly suggest you start TODAY.  Everyone will be cramming in to get their loans complete before the deadline.  FHA loans are taking a little longer than usual so don’ t put yourself at risk. Go to my site,, start searching for homes. Contact me and then we will get out and preview some homes.  Unless you have a home picked out today, it will be about 6 weeks before we close.  1-2 weeks to find and negotiate a contract and then a typical 4 week closing period.  Hurry before its TOO LATE! Here are a few steps that could speed up the process:

1. Go ahead and contact your lender to get pre-approved.  If you don’t know a good lender, I have many.

2. Locate your past 2 years tax returns and last 2 months pay stubs as the lender will need them to get started.

3. Once your lender determines your price range, then think about the areas you want to live in.

4. Start searching for homes on my site

5. Lastly, CALL me!  225.301.7467

I look forward to hearing from you!

Baton Rouge among best cities for real estate

from the Baton Rouge Business Report:

Four La. markets named among nation’s best for real estate

A new report says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and Monroe are four of the U.S. real estate markets expected to perform the best in the upcoming year. Local Market Monitor, which produces the Home Price Forecast for more than 300 cities, says home values should remain level in those cities over the next 12 months. Officials with Local Market say home prices in those cities are lower than the national average, and the effects of the recession have been slight. Baton Rouge, in particular, has continued to add jobs. The markets expected to do the worst include places where there were spikes in home prices and where speculative buying got out of hand, such as Las Vegas, Miami and Modesto, Cali

Westminster properties are MOVING. 3755 Drusilla lane, under contract in 2 days

Wow. Good homes at good prices continue to move fast in East Baton Rouge parish. Here are some pictures the home at 3755 Drusilla lane, Baton Rouge, La

Mortgage rates for 4/7/2009

We saw a drop in mortgage rates this morning. Turn times for new loans are also getting much quicker then they have been. Hopefully, we will see them ease up a little bit!

Conventional 95%  30 yr. Fixed…..  4.75%

15 yr. Fixed…………………………. 4.5%

FHA  96.5%  30 yr Fixed…………….. 4.75%

15 yr. Fixed………………………….. 4.5%

Rural Development 100% 30yr fixed….5.25%

****all rates include 1 pt org. and assume 740+ credit, on a 15day lock*****

If you are interested in getting pre-approved, call or email me immediately!

Tim Houk

Keller Williams Redstick Partners

Baton Rouge Realtor


Baton Rouge at the top of the list – AGAIN!

Housing Predictor ranks Baton Rouge in its top 10 markets for people to buy a home. The city ranked number 9 on the annual list of places where buyers are most likely to see an investment from buying a house.

Read the full article at housing predictor

Tim Houk

Foreclosures down 23% in Louisiana

In an interesting piece of news, foreclosures are down 23% statewide.  Compared to 28% increase nationwide, we are faring quite well!  While I personally don’t think we have seen the worst of it yet,  in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas,  it is a good sign that our market won’t be overwhelmed – hopefully. I do hear that we will begin to see a lot of incomplete homes coming on the market from builders and contractors who are are behind and carrying too much inventory.  I also see a lot of investment property coming available as well.  Investors this is the time to move.

Read the article here

Tim Houk