Last month’s metro-area home sales nearly equaled the June 2010 figures, although sales through the first half of 2011 remain 13 percent lower than the same period a year ago, according to figures from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.
Realtors sold 664 homes last month in the eight-parish area with a dollar volume of $130.2 million, compared to 668 homes with a dollar volume of $131.7 million a year earlier.
“That’s flat to me, and flat is good,” said appraiser Tom Cook, who earlier this year chaired the Baton Rouge Trends seminar’s residential committee.
“Compared to where we’ve been, flat is good,” Cook said.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, Realtors actually sold more homes last month than a year earlier, 369 homes to 346, a 6.7 percent increase.
Dollar volume was up 7.9 percent to $77.6 million from $71.9 million.
Cook said he suspects that the majority of the sales increase came from builders of lower-priced homes who were able to acquire lots in East Baton Rouge.
Home sales were lower in Ascension and Livingston parishes, continuing a yearlong trend for the entire metro area. Although the area’s real estate market hasn’t suffered the meltdown seen in many housing markets, sales have yet to match last year’s levels.
For the year, Realtors have sold 3,111 homes, 13.2 percent fewer than the 3,586 sold in the first half of 2010.
Dollar volume for the first half fell 13.7 percent to nearly $598 million from $693 million a year earlier.
The 2010 numbers include the impact of the last few months of a program that offered first-time homebuyers up to $8,000 in federal tax credits. The program boosted sales for homes in the lower end of the market. Realtors expect that gap to narrow by late summer because by then homebuyers could no longer take advantage of the credits.
It is still taking longer to sell a house.
The current days on the market for June was 129, compared to 98 a year earlier. The metro area had 4,899 homes on the market at the end of June, or 7.4 months of inventory. In June 2010, there were 4,859 homes on the market, or 7.3 months of inventory.
June’s sales figures also show:
• Through midyear, East Baton Rouge home sales are down 11.1 percent to 1,706 homes. Dollar volume is down 10.5 percent to $351.3 million.
• In Ascension Parish, Realtors sold 129 homes in June, down 12.2 percent. Dollar volume fell 8.6 percent to $25.6 million.
For the year, Ascension is down 21.4 percent to 589 homes sold, while dollar volume is down 21.6 percent to $116.4 million.
• In Livingston Parish, Realtors sold 103 homes in June, down 12 percent. Dollar volume fell 17.6 percent to $16.8 million.
For the year, Livingston is down 17.1 percent to 546 homes sold. Dollar volume is 21.2 percent lower to $84.1 million.
• Home sales also rose in West Baton Rouge, Iberville, East and West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee. Realtors sold 63 homes in June, a 16.7 percent increase.
For the year, the other category is up 7.1 percent to 270 homes. Dollar volume was up 6 percent to $46.2 million.