After years of stagnation due to the 2008 mortgage crisis that was exacerbated by the questionable effects of predicted hikes in property insurance rates, local real estate agents are reporting that the St. Charles Parish real estate market is particularly strong right now.
Wendy Benedetto, a real estate agent with Ormond Latter & Blum, said while the real estate market has not returned to it pre-bust condition, things are looking up.
“We are doing really well. It is moving well. The houses that are in good condition and placed right are moving along,” she said.
There are currently 121 home listings on the East Bank, of which 29 are under currently under contract.
On the West Bank, out of 136 listings, 39 are under contract.
Benedetto said while those numbers are good, the real estate market still has a ways to go before it has completely recovered.
Benedetto said, moreso than in years prior, she has been experiencing higher-priced home sales, but now first-time homebuyers are also entering the market and snapping up lower-priced homes.
“I did see that in the beginning of the year that the high value was moving and then it shifted down to your low-to-mid-range, homes” she said.
Those first-time buyers, according to Benedetto, are focusing on homes in the $170,000 and lower price range.
Because the lower-priced homes tend to be older and in poor shape, Benedetto said she has been steering prospective buyers to new constructions, a sector that is building up steam after a huge collapse following the mortgage crisis.
Benedetto said with rural homebuyer credits, purchasing a new home can be a better deal for first-time homebuyers and she encourages those who are renting to look into the possibility of purchasing.
“To those renting, call a local lender and see if you can get qualified. I have a developer in Luling who has almost 13,000 square feet. If they qualify between a builder and lender credit, they can get in for a $1,500 down payment,” she said.
Benedetto said getting into a new home might be easier than people realize.
“You need a job and you need decent credit. To the renters out there, I don’t think they realize it isn’t that hard to get into a house. We can make it happen,” she said. “It’s affordable without being cheap.”
Regina Allemand, a realtor with Gardner Realtors in Boutte, said she has also noticed an uptick in the number of homebuyers.
“They are doing all right…it has been pretty steady,” she said.
For Allemand, the rental side of her business has really taken off. She attributes the increased number of renters to those moving into the area to take advantage of a quality public school system.
“It was a strong spring. Right now we are experiencing a lot of rentals. The rental market seemed slow and now it has picked up with people wanting to get settled and get their residency before school starts so they can register for the upcoming school year,” she said.
Overall though, Allemand said it is obvious that a lot more people are looking at changing their living situation.
“We have had a lot more lookers and people who are hitting the websites in general,” she said.