With contracts in hand on most of the 41 lots already, Ashton Plantation’s second phase is the latest indicator of St. Charles Parish’s housing market gaining momentum.
“I think the housing market has definitely improved,” said Greg Leir, a partner with Rathborne Properties. “I think St. Charles Parish is in a strong position. You can see other subdivisions being built and absorbed.”
Leir pointed to Monsanto’s nearly $1 billion dicamba project and other plant expansions bringing high paying jobs, access to I-310, good schools and low crime as drivers for the growth.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good place to live,” he said of the parish.
In Luling, Ashton Plantation’s second phase includes 41 lots completed in the price range of $70,000 to $85,000. The minimum house size for these lots is 2,000 square feet of living space, and Leir said the house size depends on the pocketbook.
Although Rathborne Properties is selling 41 lots, Leir said the project actually calls for 140 lots although work has not started on them.
The St. Charles Parish Council will consider accepting the project at Monday’s council meeting.
“We sold out all our other lots almost two years ago,” he said. “We’ve been working on getting the initial approvals, construction and building since October of 2016.
“Realistically, you need to get some homes out there.”
With finalization of the latest lots, Ashton Plantation will total 340 lots. The subdivision was actually designed to be a community for 1,000 lots overall.
Leir said they bought the property in 1997, but work was delayed for several years to situate a railroad crossing. Construction began in 2005 with lots being sold a year later. In the housing crash of 2008, the project, like many throughout the U.S., stalled for nearly seven years.
“The reason we’re only getting to Phase IIA is because the market was terrible,” he said.
But he’s observed an improving market in the last three years.
Leir said there are only 20 vacant lots left in the subdivision’s initial phase.
“I think the housing market is strong,” he said. “You never know where the economy will go, but we’re hopeful we’re dealing with another two years before we deal with interest increases. I’m hoping, as does most of my builders, that the Federal Reserve is cautious about future interest raises.”