Viewpoint: Louisiana's real estate market is healthy
While the nationwide economic picture is less than encouraging, Louisiana has been fortunate to avoid most of the difficulties that many parts of the country are experiencing, particularly in real estate. Our foreclosure rate is among the lowest in the nation, employment numbers are strong, and real estate values are being sustained. In working with our local boards of Realtors across the state, we are encouraged by the fact that our residential and commercial markets are holding their own.
This is especially true along interstates 10 and 12, where economic growth continues to flourish. Of the twelve parishes in Louisiana with population expanding at or above the national average, eleven are along the 10/12 corridor. The Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Northshore areas, bolstered by high-tech industry and an expanding retail sector, are experiencing job growth and maintaining strong real estate markets.
An important thing to remember is that real estate is highly localized. While we are seeing homes staying on the market longer than usual in Louisiana this year, properties are retaining their value very favorably compared to 2007, and in some areas, such as Lafayette, values are increasing. This is counter to the national trend.
Louisiana’s lending institutions did not widely engage in the subprime mortgage free-for-all of the past several years, and as a result, solid financing options remain available for our state’s homebuyers. Buying a home in Louisiana is as good of an investment as ever, and over the past 40 years, no other investment has delivered a more consistent positive return than real estate.
Our association will continue to work with lawmakers, state agencies and economic development groups to help keep the state’s real estate market moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, our 13,000 Realtor professionals statewide remain committed to providing buyers and sellers with the knowledge, experience and expertise to make informed, smart decisions.
Mark O. Rodi is president of Louisiana REALTORS. Reach him at email@example.com.