June 9, 2016 02:37 PM

Despite a big climb from April to May, Lafayette Parish home sales lag 2015 numbers by 10 percent.

New residential construction at Silverstone Road and Woodsboro Drive in River Ranch
Photo by Robin May

May home sales in Lafayette Parish had a surprisingly strong showing over the previous month, early numbers from Van Eaton & Romero show.

While the 290 closed sales in May represent a 7.3 percent decline when compared to May 2015, the number of closed transactions jumped 14.6 percent from April to May this year (253 v. 290), and the dollar value likewise increased 13 percent ($58 million to $66 million). The same holds true when combining the surrounding areas with Lafayette Parish’s numbers, revealing a 12 percent uptick in closed sales.

“May has actually been the best month so far this year,” says Troy Hebert, general manager of Van Eaton & Romero. “Now are we going to maintain that? I don’t know.”

It’s going to take some strong monthly sales going forward to offset the current 10 percent decline in parish home sales when compared with the first five months of 2015.

“We’re outperforming 2010, 2011 and 2012,” says Hebert. “We’re slightly behind [banner years in] 2013 and 2014 and about 10 percent behind where we were last year,” he adds, emphasizing a widely held opinion that the sector could be much worse considering the oil price slide. “I think it’s hanging on a lot better than I would have expected,” he continues. “I sure rather be living in Lafayette Parish right now than Houma.”

Despite the economic challenges taking a toll on the residential sector, inventory in the $300,000 range and below is taking just under six months to be absorbed, Hebert notes, which is considered a balanced housing marketplace. In fact, the most recent data for May show that almost 59 percent of homes being sold are in the $150,000 to $299,000 price range. Problematic, however, is the growing inventory of homes in the higher price ranges. Homes priced from $300,000 to $1 million — likely some of the ones hitting the market because their owners were laid off from oilfield jobs — are sitting on the market for an average of 11.6 months.

Van Eaton & Romero will release its full report on May home sales next week.

Read more about recent home sales and commercial development trends in the next issue of ABiz, which hits newsstands June 15.

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