Housing market red hot

A Destrehan home generated five offers within 24 hours of being listed on the market and sold above asking price, which area real estate agents say represents St. Charles Parish’s robust housing market.

“People are fighting over them,” said Wendy Benedetto, agent with Latter & Blum in Destrehan. She ought to know because she handled the Destrehan transaction. “Sales are doing really, really well.”

Gardner Realtor agent Regina Allemand described the parish’s housing market prices as remaining steady “despite the media reports of the national trend of decrease in St. Charles Parish.”

Allemand’s numbers show prices increased in the first three months of this year over the same period last year.

Strongest price growth came on the lower end with the average selling price for a two-bedroom house rising from $119,437 to $131,511, and the average price for a three-bedroom house increasing from $183,938 to $186,703.

Properties also are spending substantially less time on the market.

In this same three-month period, a $131,511 two-bedroom house averaged 44 days on the market, down from last year’s 68 days.

“Our market is pretty healthy right now,” Benedetto said.

Properties are being snapped up, a trend she expects to continue.

“I see multiple offers on properties and buyers paying near full price to get them in the lower range,” she said.

In the last 180 days, 206 properties sold in St. Charles Parish compared to neighboring St. John the Baptist Parish with 155, Benedetto said.

In the parish comparison, St. Charles Parish also stood out with a stronger median home price at $208,750 versus St. John’s $147,005. However, rising flood insurance cost in St. John could be hurting sales.

St. Charles Parish’s housing market is solidly driven by an excellent public school system, newer homes and their proximity to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, according to Benedetto.

Interest rates could also be spurring buyers to make their move with the rate currently at 4.5 percent.

“Sales are doing really, really well,” Benedetto said. “We are in need of inventory.”

A tight inventory also is driving prices upward.

As of March 19, the parish had more than 100 listings, including homes, townhomes and condos. A breakdown shows 33 listings in the $150,000 or less price range; 34 in $150,000 to $250,000, and 47 in $250,000 and above.

But Benedetto doesn’t anticipate demand easing for residential real estate, which means there’ll likely be buyers for the anticipated listings that typically arise in spring and for housing developments coming online on the East and West banks of the parish this year.

Allemand also expects an equally robust spring-summer sales season.

Benedetto summed up the parish’s housing market so far this year as “a seller’s market.”


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