News roundup: Capital Region home sales rise 1.4% in February … Baton Rouge set to host 2016 Southeast Tourism Society’s Spring Symposium … Amazon ends affiliate program in Louisiana

    Going strong: Homes sales across the nine-parish Capital Region were up 1.4% in February compared to the same month in 2015, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. For the month, 660 homes were sold, up from 651 in February 2015. Meanwhile, there was a 4.8% decrease in the average number of days a house was on the market, down to 80 days in February from 84 during the month last year. The average sales price declined 0.2% to $209,721 in February, while the inventory of available homes declined 14.7% to 3,250. In East Baton Rouge Parish, new listings were up 21.4%, closed sales decreased 2.3% and the months supply of inventory—or the number of months it would take to sell all homes on the market at the current sales pace—decreased 22% to 3.9 months. Ascension Parish fared better, with the sales increasing 1.6%. Livingston Parish also saw sales jump 9.8%. Access the full report.

    Destinations: More than 200 tourism professionals are in Baton Rouge today through Wednesday for the 2016 Southeast Tourism Society’s Spring Symposium, which is being held at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. The symposium’s theme this year is “Taking Care of Business” and professionals will discuss opportunities to expand their markets with unique offerings. The culinary tourism industry is a primary focus of the symposium. Celebrity chefs John Folse, Ruffin Rodrigue, Jay Ducote and Celeste Gill will serve on a panel called “Culinary, A Mature Component of Tourism. Staying Aware, Staying Relevant.” The panel will take place Tuesday. “We are very excited to have so many tourism professionals in Louisiana’s capital city and we invite you to discover our city like our locals do—from our restaurants and attractions to our nightlife and history,” says Paul Arrigo, President and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge, in a statement. This year’s keynote speaker is Chuck Reece, Co-Founder and Editor, of The Bitter Southerner.

    Ended: Amazon has ended its affiliate program in Louisiana after legislators passed a law allowing the state to tax businesses without a physical presence here—the latest stand-off in the company’s long-running, state-by-state battle over Internet sales taxes, the technology news site GeekWire reports. In an email, the company informed members of its Amazon Associates program that, “due to recent enactment of tax legislation, residents of Louisiana will no longer be eligible to participate in the Program.” Louisiana joins Arkansas, Maine, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Vermont on the list of states where the Associates program doesn’t operate, according to the Associates Program Operating Agreement. Read the full story.

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