Monday, March 27, 2006

Homeowners Insurance Concerns

It has been noted by serveral insurance agents in the Greater Baton Rouge area that our homeowner insurance rates will go up in many instances to 40% more than we are currently paying. Part of this will be a tax to help pay for hurricane Katrina rebuilding and part of it will be rate increases for the individual insurance companies to recover some of the costs from this event. I have also been advised that wind damage may not be covered by our homeowners insurance and that coverage would have to come from the FAIR plan - which is pretty expensive. When questioned about what we can do about these rates, I was told the best thing is to raise your deductibe. I personally told my homeowner insurance agent several years ago to flag my file anytime a rate increase occurs. That way I can see how much I have to raise my deductible to keep my premiums reasonable. I suggest that everyone contact their insurance agents to check this out and to stay on top of this so you are not blind sided with a huge new premium.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Market is Here for Housing!

Yes, we can tell spring is here due to the number of calls we are receiving. People are enjoying the beautiful weather and looking for homes. We have had some great financing news for our area. Since the Greater Baton Rouge Area is in the hurricane disaster area, the Bond Authority is waiving the rule that you must be a first time home buyer to qualify for bond money. That means, if you fit the other criteria of income, credit score, etc., then you may be able to get bond money with a rate between 4.8-5.6%.

A quick update on new construction. We had 183 new homes come on the market in February in the SE Baton Rouge, Ascension, and Livingston areas - bringing to a total of 509 new construction homes on the market. During that same period, 169 new homes went under contract. The average sales price for new construction for the past 4 months was $215,000 for those areas. However, with the cost of materials due to the hurricanes, the new homes are averaging an asking price of $236,000.

A snapshot of the past 4 months home sales, including all ages, all of East Baton Rouge Parish, Livingston, and Ascension shows an average list price of $184,000 with an average sales price of $180,000. We are seeing the average sale price steadily increase, probably due to the number of new construction homes that are finally closing that were sold during Katrina.

We expect the housing market to remain strong with good inventory to choose from.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Market Statistics Shows Market Stable

In researching the continuing concern the public has with the effect hurricane Katrina had on our real estate market I found some interesting numbers. We currently have a 4.26 month supply of homes on the market for Ascension Parish, E Baton Rouge Parish, and Livingston Parish. That is almost the same as March of 2005 as well as July 2005.

I also checked the average sales price, which is $168, 153 for the month of February 2006. That compares with $168,864 for August 2005, prior to Katrina. Now, it is difficult to just look at a one month average, and if you compare that to last January, we are $15,000 ahead. If we do a 6 month snapshot, then the average sales price is $176, 403 with an average days on market of 70. So it appears that our market is holding on to the gains it experienced after hurricane Katrina sales settled down.

Interest rates are still hovering around 6% and with the bond money no longer being tied to first time home buyers, this will be another great year for buying and selling in the Greater Baton Rouge market!