Sold Home For Sale Sign and New House

Home sales in metro Baton Rouge were practically unchanged for the first half of 2019, with three more houses being sold than during the same period in 2018.

There were 5,372 homes sold in the nine-parish region through June, according to figures released Monday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. That compares to 5,369 multiple listing service sales for the first half of 2018.

While the home sales were at a near-standstill, sellers were getting more money for their properties. The median sale price for a house in metro Baton Rouge was $205,000 during the first half of the year, up 4.1% from the median sale price through June 2018. That means half the houses in the market sold for below that price, half for above that price.

The average sale price rose by 4.9% to $233,922 from $222,976 in 2018. The average sale price can be affected by luxury home sales.

Tim Houk, a member of the association's board of directors, said the high cost of new construction is pulling up home sale prices. 

“The cost to build is high,” he said. “I would venture to say that the high price of new construction is helping along the resale market.”

Houk, an agent with The Houk Group at Keller Williams Realty, said the Baton Rouge market is “very stable” and should continue to carry on steadily through the rest of the year. “Interest rates are down, and that’s propping us up,” he said. While there are concerns about housing affordability, Houk said he’s seen homes that aren’t priced right remaining on the market. “Buyers are looking for a fair shake,” he said.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sale price for an existing single family home nationally was $277,700 in May. That was a 4.8% increase over the year before. The average sale price in May was $314,000 in May, an increase of 3.4% for the year.

The three parishes that make up the biggest bulk of metro area home sales were all similarly unchanged from 2018. East Baton Rouge Parish, which accounts for the largest share of home sales, had a 0.8% drop in closings during the first half of the year. Through June, there were 2,845 homes sold, down from 2,868 sales as of June 2018.

Ascension Parish had the biggest jump in home sales during the first half of the year to 995 through June, a 1.5% increase over the 980 multiple listing service sales in 2018.

Livingston Parish had a 0.8% increase in sales year-to-date to 1,010 from 1,002 sales.

Sales dropped in June, traditionally one of the busiest months of the year. There were 1,003 multiple listing service sales in metro Baton Rouge during the month, a 6.2% decrease from the 1,069 sales in June 2018.

All three parishes saw drops in home sales during June. Ascension had the biggest decrease, falling by 10% to 163 transactions. Livingston dropped 6.8% to 193 from 207 sales. East Baton Rouge was off by 4.2% to 553 from 577 sales.

Pending sales, a sign of future activity, were up 5.9% in June to 1,113, compared to 1,051 in June 2018. New listings were down 6.3%, falling from 1,555 in 2018 to 1,457. 

The number of homes for sale was up 1.7% in June to 4,419 from 4,345. That works out to a 4.9-month supply of houses. In June 2018, the supply was pegged at 4.8 months. 

The number of days a home was on the market before it was sold went up from 58 in June 2018 to 75. 

Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.