The real estate market is starting to turn around. Nationwide home sales and home prices are up. Our David D’Aquin is tracking this story.
Baton Rouge was able to stay above the curve mainly because of steady employment. The three biggest employers: the state, LSU, and refineries have all stayed strong. Right now, interest rates are at a 40-year low, leading more people into real estate offices.
We’ve all heard the bad news about the mortgage crisis. Across the nation people have been struggling, but Louisiana, especially Baton Rouge, have been spared. Sandy Daly with GBR Association of REALTORS® says, “Real estate is local, and we have been blessed with a very good, stable, strong real estate market.”
Although sales slacked off a tad in the Capital City, REALTORS® say they’re much better now, “And what has really been a tremendous catalyst is this $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers.” That tax credit, combined with low interest rates has people buying homes.
Mike Anderson with Essential Mortgage says, “We’re very busy. Interest rates are at historic lows. This is the perfect time to buy a home.” People like Candy Bouquet are taking advantage, “There are just so many good deals, it’s really hard to pass up.” With more people interested in home ownership, houses in good locations with good prices aren’t having “for sale” signs long.
REALTORS® say people are looking for stable investments and right now people are seeing real estate as a safe bet. REALTORS® in Baton Rouge joke that Baton Rouge didn’t get the memo about the recession, they say business is good and only getting better.
New numbers are coming out that back up REALTORS®. Here in Baton Rouge, sales tax collections are up 5%, when you compare January of 2008 to January of 2009. Statewide, Louisiana is gaining jobs. Just last month Louisiana gained 9,600 non-farm jobs. Most of those gains were right here in Baton Rouge. And Louisiana’s unemployment rate is 5.1%, compared to a nationwide number of 8.1%. So, overall in Louisiana, especially in the Baton Rouge area, things are looking good.