March 8, 2016 04:39 PM

Parish home sales reported to the MLS totaled 194 compared with 232 in February last year.

“Less than robust.” That’s how Van Eaton & Romero’s Bill Bacqué describes the local housing market.

There is certainly some cause for concern. Amid falling oil prices, Lafayette Parish home sales fell 16.38 percent from February 2015 to February of this year. In February last year, homes sales reported to the Realtor Association of Acadiana’s Multiple Listing Service totaled 232. This year, only 194 home sales were reported.

While Bacqué points out that the overall closed residential sales (Lafayette Parish and surrounding parishes) reported to the MLS for February 2016 were up over January 2016 by 5.23 percent, they were down by 6.67 percent from February of 2015.

Other key indicators from his report:

• Cumulatively for the first two months of this year, 390 Lafayette Parish home sales were tallied versus 428 for the first two months of 2015, down about 9 percent. The 390 combo is lowest since 2012 for January – February.

• Leading the decline is new construction, which has fallen by 21.15 percent for the first two months of 2016 as compared to last year (123 versus 156).

• Sales of existing homes are also down compared to last year, but that decline is less than 2 percent (267 versus 272).

Here’s where the trend could potentially start to get sticky:

• On the supply side, new listings continue to come on the market at a brisk pace both inside and outside of Lafayette Parish. There were a total of 692 new listings that hit the market in February 2016 versus 561 in February 2015 — an increase of 23.35 percent. Lafayette Parish accounted for 439 of those new listings in February compared with 352 in February a year ago, an increase of about 25 percent.

And, for some of the good news: The number of homes that went under contract in February rose dramatically both outside of Lafayette Parish and within the parish. Pending sales reported for February in Lafayette Parish rose more than 18 percent compared to February 2015. Bacque notes, however, that the February 2016 number will be adjusted over time for contracts that “fall through.” The average percentage of fall throughs over the past three months has been about 8.5 percent, but even when factoring that into account, February’s pending sales reported should best last year by 8-10 percent, he says.

Read the full report here.

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