Baton Rouge home sales up 18% in January
Baton Rouge, La.-area home sales were up 18% in January compared to the year before when numbers likely were affected by a federal government shutdown.
There were 674 homes sold in metro Baton Rouge during January, according to figures released Friday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service. That compares with 571 Multiple Listing Service sales in the nine-parish region during January 2019.
This continues a winning streak in the local housing market. Home sales were up four out of the last six months of 2019 and the overall market rose by 2.2% for the year.
While officials said home sales were boosted by continued low interest rates and low unemployment, last year's numbers may have been affected by the federal government shutdown, which covered much of January.
The shutdown kept the U.S. Department of Agriculture from approving applications for rural home loans popular with first-time buyers. The loans don't require a down payment and allow for lower credit scores and income levels compared with other loans. All of Ascension and Livingston parish are eligible for the loans, along with southeast Baton Rouge.
East Baton Rouge Parish, which accounts for the largest part of the local housing market, had an 11.1% increase to 341 MLS sales in January. Livingston was the biggest percentage gainer, increasing by 41.7% to 153 MLS sales. Ascension Parish had a 14.6% increase in sales to 118 transactions.
Home prices were down. The median sale price for a home in metro Baton Rouge was $196,000, a 4.4% decrease. That means half the homes sold for below that price, half for above that price.
The drop in median sales prices was due to a 7.9% drop in Ascension to $234,930. Sales prices were up 1.8% in East Baton Rouge to $193,500 and 1.4% in Livingston to $177,465.
Pending sales, an indicator of future activity, rose by 10% in January to 884. New listings were down 2% to 1,267.
There were 4,079 homes for sale in metro Baton Rouge during January, a 4.7% decrease from the year before. The supply dropped to 4.4 months. Six months is considered a healthy supply of homes. The number of days a house was on the market before it sold was 85.