Neighborhood Tour
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Real Estate Market Shows Upward Trend
Inventory in flux; newly updated homes meet pent-up need

BY COLETTE DEAN

Special to The Advocate Last year’s flood dampened the Greater Baton Rouge housing market, but experts say the trend is now positive for area real estate.

“I think it will be back by the end of the year, if not even sooner,” said Saiward Hromadka, communications director for Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

“Parish-wide, we were doing very well. Baton Rouge never suffered from the housing bubble like the rest of the nation,” Hromadka said, “so it’s been a fast, steady climb.”

The floods of last summer continue to impact the area housing market. As of midMarch, prices are down slightly, sales are up, and inventory is in flux as homeowners work through the restoration process.

Certain areas of the parish stayed much steadier in sales than the areas that flooded, but Hromadka said the flooded areas should soon see a resurgence of activity.

This is due to the inventory of newly updated homes in these areas that will be put on the market. “This is inventory the market had needed for some time,” Hromadka said.

Carol Smith, board chairman for Capital Region Builders Association, said the flood also caused a downturn in building, but recently there has been renewed interest. “Judging from our Parade of Homes show at Lamar-Dixon — we sold out,” she said. “The response has been fantastic.”

The first few months after the flood, people were in a daze; “almost zombie-like,” she said. Now, people are getting back into their homes and there is a sense of relief, she said. The flood definitely slowed new construction when builders were called to help remodel damaged homes.

“One of the things we had was a shortage of inventory of new homes, and when the flood hit, there weren’t enough builders to go around,” she said.

One trend in new construction in Baton Rouge has included a concentrated effort in developing pre-planned walkable communities, commonly referred to as Traditional Neighborhood Developments, or TNDs. The Settlement at Willow Grove, for example, located just off Perkins Road, has varied house plans and lot sizes, a community amphitheater, pool, and retail shops within walking distance.

“I have lived in The Settlement for four and a half years, and the value of my home has increased about $60,000 since I moved in,” she said.

Smith said she believes more of these communities will be built throughout the parish. “Everyone is extremely happy in these settings,” she said.