Operations halted: The Bluffs Country Club shut down indefinitely Sunday. In a letter sent to club members Saturday, Bluffs owner Jim Tanner says he was forced to make the move to close the golf course, pool and fitness club because of a lack of real estate sales and the continued overhead. “I’m truly sorry that I have had to make this decision, but feel I have no alternative at this time,” Tanner wrote.
Unexpected plunge: Sales of existing homes took a surprise fall from December to January, falling to the lowest level in nearly 12 years as pessimism about the economy grew and buyers waited to see how the new government would help revive the U.S. housing market. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes fell 5.3% to an annual rate of 4.49 million last month, from 4.74 million in December. It was the weakest showing since July 1997.
Little change: Home prices in metro Baton Rouge dropped by 0.3% during 2008, putting the city 100th on a list of how much house costs went up over the past year. According to the study, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, local home prices fell by 0.68% from the third quarter to the fourth. But over the past five years, prices were up 33.6% in Baton Rouge. Decatur, Ala., was ranked as having the strongest housing market out of the 292 metro areas surveyed, with prices going up 6.6% for the year; Monroe was second with a 6.3% annual increase.