Hot market has houses selling in hours
“The market has been great,” said Dawn Morales, realtor with Latter & Blum in Boutte. “I hope it stays that way.”Morales recently listed a property that drew an offer within three hours, which was accepted.
Regina Allemand of Gardner Realtors, also in Boutte, said a house she listed in South Lakewood Subdivision sold in hours.
“It’s just that we have buyers looking at certain price ranges,” Allemand said.
Both realtors see competition rising for newer properties in good locations, priced right and with curb appeal. The trend is driving up prices, as well as attracting developers and builders.
Sales are spiking, but for a very different reason than the post-Hurricane Katrina market. Then, buyers grabbed properties because they needed a new place to live, Allemand said. Today’s sales are driven by improved consumer confidence coupled with buyers’ desire to upgrade or relocate in the parish.
Part of the confidence comes from the parish government’s push for levees and controlling flood insurance cost.
Having sold $24 million in residential real estate in the parish, Morales marveled over last year’s sales that represented about 105 transactions.
“I had my best year, which is unreal,” she said.
Many of them were housing starts in Lakewood Ridge Estates and Ashton Plantation, both in Luling.
While newer houses are selling for $200,000 to $275,000 on average in the parish, she says prices are rising right along with demand. In Lakewood Ridge Estates, Morales said a newly constructed house there drew $9,000 over asking price. Allemand and Morales both say buyer competition for properties is partly due to low housing inventory - particularly for newer houses.
They also both say rising consumer confidence is driving demand, and many buyers are upgrading houses and/or moving to new neighborhoods to take advantage of the parish’s highly rated public schools. Morales added even if they don’t use the schools, buyers want the advantage for resale.Developers and builders are responding to the demand.
The St. Charles Parish Council recently accepted the 66-lot Ashton Oaks Subdivision in Luling, and approved a 30-lot Destrehan Plantation Estates subdivision in Destrehan, clearing the way for construction in both projects.
Allemand said these new developments are “absolutely good to see.”
The parish is seeing a growing number of proposals, applications and approvals for major subdivisions (plats with six or more new parcels), according to parish Planning and Zoning Director Michael Albert.
“The number of approved and proposed lots suggests that by the end of 2017, and certainly by the end of 2018 we should see a significant increase in residential building permits,” he said.
At last count, Albert said 217 subdivision lots are in the preliminary plat phase under consideration this year, which he said is “a significant amount of development in the pipeline.”
“The subdivisions we have seen have been very diverse so far with all market areas being considered,” he added. “I think it’s a very healthy sign for the parish to allow for these different housing styles and cost ranges.”
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