Slow home sales delay Phase II of Ashton Plantation
Rathborne will not develop more lots until more homes are sold in the subdivision’s first phase
Although Louisiana is now ranked fourth in the nation for home purchases, according to Ashton real estate agent Carol Schaumberg, the housing boom has hit a speed bump in St. Charles Parish.
Greg Lier, vice president of subdivision developer Rathborne, says the company wants to see more homes sold before prepping any more lots for builders.
“We did well in 2006 and 2007, but towards the end of the year and through to the beginning of 2008, we're not selling as many houses,” he said. “However, since the beginning of March, we have been getting more inquiries about the homes in Ashton.”
Lier says his company doesn't plan on building any new lots until homes currently on the market in Ashton are sold.
The number of homes facing foreclosure has lenders and builders concerned all over the nation. But in St. Charles Parish, builders say that although things have slowed down, the housing market is still in pretty good shape.
“Don't get me wrong, we have seen things take a slump since last year,” Lier said. “In 2006 and 2007 we did well, but from January through February 2008, things are slow.”
Schaumberg says the ups and downs are typical and are common in real estate.
“My company has been building homes for 14 years,” Gail Roussel, of Roussel Construction, said. “I've seen the market go through its ups and downs in the late 80's.”
Roussel says it took about a year for the market to turn around, but eventually it did.
“The problem now is that people have to pay extremely expensive house insurance since Hurricane Katrina,” she said. “That's if they're lucky enough to find a company to write the policy because that's a challenge right now too.”
Roussel says that stricter building codes are also increasing the cost of building a house. Still, Schaumberg says this is an excellent time to buy a house.
“The interest rates are low,” she said. “And I know that people from Jefferson Parish are moving to Ashton from places like Metairie and Kenner.”
Schaumberg says that's good for the economy.
“The guidelines are a lot stricter now,” she said. “People getting foreclosed had poor credit to begin with so once they get into a home they can't afford it.”
Schaumberg says that most agents now require people to put a certain amount of money down when purchasing a home.
“The housing market does this frequently, but in St. Charles Parish we're nowhere close to what the rest of the nation is dealing with in terms of people losing their homes,” she said. “Everything is dependent upon the individual's credit score.”
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The director of St. Charles Parish’s Department of Planning and Zoning has announced her resignation. Kim Marousek said she is leaving the office after accepting a job in the Baton Rouge area.