Baton Rouge metro closes year with fewer home sales, higher prices

High demand and limited housing inventory sent Baton Rouge metro home prices higher in 2018, though not at the same clip as in previous years, according to the year’s final monthly sales report from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

A big reason for the semi-chilling effect is rising mortgage rates, prompting some would-be buyers to remain on the sidelines.

For the year, 10,603 houses where sold in the eight-parish region, according to GBRAR statistics, a 5% decline from the 11,198 sold in 2017.

Looking at December, sales slipped 12.4%, to 687 sales, across the market compared to the same month in 2017. It was a month marked by higher inventory (4,050, up 12.6%), rising average sales prices ($231,987, up 4.5%) and houses remaining on the market for more days (increasing by 11 days to 78, or 16.4%).

In a sign the market is easing a bit more in favor of buyers, the month’s supply inventory eased higher by 15% from historic lows, finishing the year at 4.6 months. Typically a figure below six months indicates a sellers market.

While unemployment rates remained low last year and many households saw improved incomes, the average wage increase didn’t keep pace with rising housing prices, according to report.

“This created an affordability crux in the second half of 2018,” reads the report.  “Housing affordability will remain an important storyline in 2019.”

As detailed in Business Report’s latest cover package, the market is expected to shift in the direction of buyers—or at least balance out—this year as the supply of homes is gradually rises and properties sit on the market for longer periods.

Read the full report. And check out Business Report’s latest cover package, which predicts the people, politics, business news and issues that will make headlines in Baton Rouge this year, including shifts in the residential real estate market. 

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