The metro area real estate market is ahead of the national market, but it's still considered in "recovery" mode says local real estate consultant Wade Ragas. "It's a market that's slowly rising in price. It's had a sharp increase in the number of houses sold...Certainly now we've had almost a year of some price stabilization occurring."
But as you listen to Ragas really break down the numbers, it shows there are two different stories in most geographical areas.
The good news? First Ragas says sales are up for the first six months of this year almost ten percent compared to the same time last year.
The bad news? Prices in many areas are flat to down slightly.
But the trends are very localized, "Sort of the tale of two geographies," says Ragas, with Orleans Parish continuing it's torrid growth -- prices are up 5%, and that's even with New Orleans East and Algiers still seeing price declines.
Jefferson Parish prices on the other hand fell 3%, but he says that's due to steeper declines on the West Bank, with the East Bank of Jefferson Parish actually up just slightly in median price.
Ragas says in St. Tammany, the western portion is seeing prices increase, and eastern St. Tammany is decreasing by the nearly the same rate, which brings the entire parish's price increases to zero.
And to continue on with the good news theme, Ragas says usually when there's surging volume like we've seen in the metro with the amount of homes sold, "It's usually followed by some price increase."
Ragas says prices will probably not appreciate further without some employment growth in this region. "Right now job growth is sort of flat, and we need employment growth to resume and that would lift this housing market further."