Livingston Parish Residential Real Estate Market - 2008 Year End Report
My last blog entry dealt with the state of the real estate market in Ascension Parish as of the end of 2008. This post deals with the state of the market in Livingston Parish.
The information presented in this post is based upon data extracted from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors MLS database. For the purposes of my analysis, I included data for detached single family dwellings which sold in Ascension parish for the years 2003 through 2008. I identified the home sales as either New Construction or Re-Sale because, in my experience, they have distinct characteristics.
The following chart provides some general statistics.
An interesting contradiction appears in this chart. Both the median selling price and the median selling price per square foot of living area are higher for re-sale homes than for new construction but the averages of both these statistics are reversed... new construction stats are higher than existing home statistics which we are accustomed to seeing. I believe that affordability and pricing has had a major impact upon new construction sales. I'll look at this again later in this post when absorption rates and inventory levels are discussed.
Overall unit sales have been declining in Livingston Parish since the summer of 2007. While existing home sales peaked during the summer of 2008, the seasonality effect didn't impact upon new home sales where sales remained flat during the summer and then continued to decline afterward. The re-sale market remained at healthy pre-Katrina levels in terms of unit sales.
If one looks at absorption rates and inventory levels (shown in the next two charts), we can see that overall it is a neutral market for both new construction and re-sale market segments. If one looks deeper, however, it becomes apparent that price elasticity is a factor. Most home sales in both market segments were for homes priced under $200K. As prices increase above that it rapidly becomes a buyer's market and the velocity of home sales diminishes rapidly.
I've authored a report which examines the residential real estate market for the Greater Baton Rouge metro area in much greater detail than has been presented here. Click Here to view the table of contents for this report.
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