Home Sales

Baton Rouge-area home sales rose 11.1% in May compared to 2018, a good sign for a market moving into its traditional busy season.

There were 1,151 homes sold in metro Baton Rouge during May, according to figures released Wednesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service. That compares with 1,036 Multiple Listing Service sales in the nine-parish region during May 2018.

This was the second month in a row home sales were up year to year. Sales pick up going into the early summer as families look to move into new homes before the start of the upcoming school year. June has traditionally been the busiest month for home sales in metro Baton Rouge.

“I’ve been super busy and every single client wants to beat the back-to-school rush,” said Kendra Novak, of Novak Realty in Baton Rouge. “They want to get moved in and moved out before school returns in August.”

Low interest rates have also helped spur home sales. The key 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.82% last week, according to Freddie Mac. That was the lowest point since September 2017.

“Tomorrow morning, the rates may be different,” said Novak, a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Board of Directors. “The key is to lock it in when it is good.”

Livingston Parish had the biggest gain in sales, increasing by 14.8% to 210 sales compared to 183 a year ago.

East Baton Rouge Parish, which makes up the largest share of the housing market, had a 11.5% gain in sales to 620 from 556.

Ascension Parish had an 8.1% increase to 213 from 197.

The median sale price for a home in metro Baton Rouge was $210,000, up 5% from the year before. That means half the homes sold for below that price, half for above that price.

The average sale price rose by 3.3% to $236,941 from $229,326. The average sale price can be affected by luxury home sales.

Pending sales, an indicator of future activity, rose by 3% in May to 1,078 from 1,047. New listings were down 8.8% to 1,467 from 1,608. There were 4,343 homes for sale in metro Baton Rouge during May, a 3.2% increase from the year before. The supply increased from 4.7 months to 4.9 months. Six months is considered a healthy supply of homes. The number of days a house was on the market before it sold was up to 74 from 65.

For the first five months of the year, the number of homes sold in metro Baton Rouge was up 1.1% to 4,348 MLS sales compared with 4,300 for the same period last year. Sales were up 3.9% year to date in Ascension to 828 from 797. Livingston had a 2% sales gain to 811 from 795, while East Baton Rouge was down 0.3% to 2,285 from 2,291.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.