While coronavirus mandates have shuttered various businesses and stalled the economy, the real estate market in St. Charles Parish appears to be largely unaffected by the pandemic.
“As far as concerns of the real estate market in general, if you can economically sell or buy, this might be the very best time to do so,” Regina Allemand, a realtor with Gardner Realtors, said. “If the current situation was caused by an economic failure then we might be more skeptical, but the current economic climate is being caused by a non-economic outside influence … there are still people who want and need to buy and sell … housing is a basic need of life.”
Allemand said there are ways the real estate business has changed since the pandemic.
“Many potential buyers were affected with the economy slowing down by job loss or insecurity,” she said, adding there have been some cancellations of pending purchase agreements.
Limited face-to-face contact with clients, along with more virtual dependency on buying and selling, has also altered business. Desiree Luquette, a realtor at Latter & Blum, said it is the main change she has experienced.
“We’re seeing many people shopping remotely, and our technology has helped buyers narrow the number of homes they visit,” Luquette said.
Showing occupied homes is a concern for the occupants as well as the potential buyers, Allemand said, and safety is the key.
Even with the changes in how buyers and sellers are interacting, Allemand said there are currently close to 60 residential homes listed in St. Charles Parish, with prices range from $80,000 to $1,000,000. The average price per square foot is $133. There are also close to 60 properties under contract or awaiting to go to Act of Sale.
Allemand said in the last 30 days there have been 30 homes sold in St. Charles Parish, and the average time on the market was 40 days. The average price per square foot was $136, with the average sold price at $260,000.
At this same time last year (in 2019), there were 48 homes sold with the average days on market at 44 days. However, the price per square foot was just $113, with the average sold price at $198,000.
When asked how or if the coronavirus would affect home values in the parish, St. Charles Parish Assessor Tab Troxler said it’s too soon to know.
“As you can understand, covid 19 and the Governor’s executive orders concerning it are unprecedented,” he said.
Quoting research conducted by Gardner Realtors, Allemand said the only time since 1975 that home values dropped significantly was 2008 – 2012.
“Interestingly, in almost every market in the country, the average appreciation including the drop in the Great Recession has averaged at least 5 percent per year,” she said. “Trying to time a market is hard … overall, home prices have been very stable over the long run.”