How’s the Market

Baton Rouge used to be New Orleans’ second cousin, but not so much anymore.  Just take a look at what’s happening all around us, and you can’t help but be positive about Baton Rouge.  The leaders of our business community have declared 2013 a game changing year and here’s why.

In March we learned that IBM had reached an agreement with area leaders to open a business services center in a new riverfront complex downtown.  This announcement was followed in December with news of a downtown 28-acre Water Campus dedicated to ground breaking research in the areas of coastal erosion and the environment.  We also learned we were getting a branch of the LSU Medical School right here in Baton Rouge.

In 2013 there were some other major annoucements and developments as well.  Construction of new Acadian Village Shopping Center was completed and Trader Joe’s joined the area’s mix of upscale grocers.  Costco announced it was coming to Baton Rouge.  Construction also began on the Super Walmart at Bluebonnet and Burbank. And, Matherne’s announced it will open a much needed new super market in downtown Baton Rouge.

When CB&I purchased The Shaw Group some were concerned about the impact on Baton Rouge, but it’s turned out well.  CB&I has increased their local presence and Jim Bernhard, Shaw’s CEO and Founder, has opened new venture capital offices downtown.  Even our local newspaper changed ownership.  In May, John Georges, a successful New Orleans businessman and entrepreneur, purchased The Advocate from the Manship family.  The blending of news and reporting from New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge has engaged readers and is creating an awareness of Baton Rouge’s regional importance and impact.

So, when people ask me “How’s the real estate market?”  I have to put it in the context of the overall growth in the Baton Rouge community.  While there is some concern about rising interest rates an increase into the 5% range is still low compared to high interest rate environments in the past.  We have a strong employment base.  We have major investments taking place in our community, and I am very positive about the future.  That optimism is reflected in last year’s area home sales and also all the new home construction currently underway.  Here’s to 2014!

2012 2013 % Change
Detached Single Family Homes # Homes Sold Average Price # Homes Sold Average Price # Homes Sold Average Price
Near LSU 971 $283,900 1,147 $301,208 18.1% 6.1%
Near Towne Center 444 $303,396 450 $291,438 1.4% -3.9%
Near Shenandoah 724 $209,421 815 $223,888 12.6% 6.9%
Zachary 298 $220,207 377 $213,598 26.5% -3.0%
Central 62 $214,754 101 $232,181 62.9% 8.1%
All East Baton Rouge Parish 3,680 $209,381 4,174 $218,615 13.4% 4.4%

Source: Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, Multiple Listing Service, January 12, 2014