Rising demand for homes in the most sought-after New Orleans neighborhoods shows no sign of abating.

A trend that already had lifted average home prices by nearly 50 percent since just before Hurricane Katrina — a boon for many homeowners that also has brought pain in the form of rising tax bills and rents — continued flat-out in the second half of 2015, according to newly released figures.

Single-family home sales in Orleans Parish jumped more than $20 per square foot on average in July-December 2015 compared with a year earlier, as pent-up demand combined with a lack of available units in many sought-after neighborhoods propped up prices across the city.

In fact, home prices in New Orleans were up nearly 14 percent per square foot from 2014 — the biggest gain seen throughout the metro area, according to figures released Thursday by a local real estate trade association.

All told, sales prices of homes in average or better condition in New Orleans averaged $172 per square foot in the latter half of 2015, compared with $151 per square foot in the same period a year earlier and up $58 from just before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

After New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish saw the next-highest average jump in home prices, up 6.7 percent — or $4 per square foot — in the second half of last year compared with 2014.

Across the eight-parish metro area, home prices in the last half of 2015 climbed more than 5 percent year over year, averaging $120 per square foot. That’s up from $102 per square foot in August 2005.

The figures, released Thursday by real estate consultant Wade Ragas, are tallied from the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors and Gulf South Real Estate Information Network. The data do not include sales of multifamily homes, townhouses, condominiums or vacant lots.

Elsewhere, home sale prices rose 4.9 percent in St. Charles Parish, to $108 per square foot; 4.5 percent in Tangipahoa, to $92 per square foot; 4 percent in Jefferson, to $110 per square foot; 3.6 percent in St. Tammany, to $114 per square foot; and 1.3 percent in St. John the Baptist, to $80 per square foot.

Plaquemines Parish was the only area in the metro region where home prices slid in the last half of 2015, falling 4 percent, to $122 per square foot, compared with a year earlier.

In Orleans Parish, nearly 3 percent more homes were sold in 2015 than 2014; through the first 11 months of the year, the total value of all sales was up more than 16 percent.

Richard Haase, president of New Orleans-based Latter & Blum, said the jump in sales in the city appears large at first blush, but he noted that high demand for the few homes that became available in a handful of highly sought-after neighborhoods, such as the Lower Garden District and Lakeview, caused prices to surge.

“It was high, and a little bit surprising, but you could see it coming for a good, long while because the inventory was so scarce,” Haase said. “It made each property that was on the market all the more dear.”

In New Orleans, homes sold on average for about $356,000 in the second half of 2015, up from about $300,350 a year earlier, a nearly 19 percent increase.

Ragas attributed some of that jump to the fact that bigger homes were being sold, with the average size of homes that were sold going from 1,990 to 2,067 square feet, or 4 percent larger.

In New Orleans, homes in the 70113 ZIP code — which includes Central City and parts of the Central Business District and Warehouse District — saw the largest year-over-year average sales price increase, climbing 60 percent, to $193 per square foot, in the last half of 2015.

The next-largest gain was in the 70116 ZIP code — which includes the downriver half of the French Quarter and parts of Marigny, Treme and the 7th Ward — where year-over-year average sales prices increased 44 percent, to $302 per square foot, in the same stretch of 2015.

The nearby 70117 ZIP code — which includes parts of Marigny, St. Roch, Bywater and the Upper and Lower 9th Ward — saw the largest number of unrenovated single-family homes sold in the second half of 2015: 32 sales, though that was down 23 percent from a year earlier.

Ragas said the decline in sales of unrenovated homes is a sign that the city’s once-plentiful stock of storm-damaged homes is dwindling, and many of the more easily renovated ones already are off the market, which is a factor in the rising prices.

“Now, we’re looking at houses in many cases that have been empty for 10 years,” he said. “It’s shifting from a market where your buyer is the fixer-upper and they’re going to take this (project) on themselves to a market where it’s more small-contractor-driven, and they’re buying anything they can find and renovate or flipping or renting it.”

In those neighborhoods, damaged homes sold for $46 per square foot on average in the second half of 2015, down from $60 per square foot a year earlier and compared with $173 per square foot for homes in good condition.

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