Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Local housing market bucks national trends
- 2013 - 800 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- March 31st, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- March 30th, 2009 (Monday) - 3 articles
- March 29th, 2009 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- March 28th, 2009 (Saturday) - 4 articles
- March 27th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- March 26th, 2009 (Thursday) - 25 articles
- March 25th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- March 24th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- March 23rd, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- March 22nd, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- March 21st, 2009 (Saturday) - 6 articles
- March 19th, 2009 (Thursday) - 35 articles
- March 18th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- March 17th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- March 16th, 2009 (Monday) - 3 articles
- March 14th, 2009 (Saturday) - 4 articles
- March 13th, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- March 12th, 2009 (Thursday) - 27 articles
- March 11th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 15 articles
- March 10th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- March 5th, 2009 (Thursday) - 31 articles
- March 4th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- March 3rd, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- March 2nd, 2009 (Monday) - 2 articles
- March 1st, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Local housing market bucks national trends|
(Editor's note: This is the first in a series of reports concerning the housing market locally and across Louisiana as well.)
The Northeast Louisiana Home Builders Association wants people to look beyond what is happening nationally with the housing market and see the positives here and elsewhere in Louisiana.
Paul Stephenson, executive officer of the Northeast Louisiana Home Builders Association, said the negative media attention of the U.S. housing industry has many people here believing the same situation exist in Louisiana.
That is not the case, according to Stephenson.
Instead, Stephenson said now is the perfect time to buy or build a home.
"Louisiana is not like other states," he said. "Right now, if you listen to the national media all you are going to hear about is how bad the housing economy is. If you listen to the national media, you would think foreclosures are everywhere, even here."
A national economist recently visited with officials from the Louisiana Home Builders Association. This same economist had just finished an in-depth study of the housing industry in Louisiana, according to Stephenson.
The economist told the Home Builders Association that Louisiana had less than 6/10th of 1 percent foreclosures.
"That's virtually none," Stephenson said. "We know it happens nationwide, but it's just not happening here. California, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan … they all are experiencing severe problems. We don't dispute that a bit. But, if you look at the facts, from 2001 to 2006, home prices in California doubled. That's just unrealistic growth and unsustainable."
"A lot of people got caught up in that," he added.
The Louisiana banking industry offered so few subprime loans that the state's foreclosure rate on subprime loans is the lowest in the nation, according to Stephenson.
The economist also looked at the job market in Louisiana. He told the home builders association that until Bastrop's International Paper plant and Pilgrim Pride's plant in Farmerville closed, "we hadn't had any layoffs to speak of in the last year, once we got past GM, and all that," Stephenson said, referring to the shutdown of the Guide plant and State Farm Insurance in Monroe.
"We didn't have foreclosures," Stephenson explained. "Banks have money to loan … Ouachita Independent Bank right now is advertising on TV that they have money to loan. Interest rates are down, building costs are down, lumber and material costs are down. Now is the perfect time to build or buy a home."
The economist told the home builders association only one thing hurting the home building industry in Louisiana.
"He said it's the big 'F' word—fear," Stephenson continued. "People see what's happening nationally and think it must be happening here, too. What we are trying to get out to the public is that's not what's happening here.
"We don't have the foreclosures, we don't have the large unemployment like you see in some areas."
Stephenson and Darryl Beasley of Coldwell Banker looked at home sales over the past eight years.
"When you listen to the national media, what do you think is happening with home sales? There's none … you can't sell a house, right?" Stephenson said.
"Home sales in 2008 were almost the same as 2004, and they were better than 2003," he said. "Our home sales in Louisiana have remained pretty consistent."
Home values also have continued to rise over the years.
"We haven't had the decline in home values that other parts of the country have had," he said.
Stephenson said banks have tightened up credit requirements, but local banks are still lending money.
"They are looking more seriously at credit history and equity," he explained. "There for a while, if you were breathing, you could qualify for a home loan. Now, it's going back to more traditional lending practices. You need good credit, you need to show you can pay back the loan, and you need to have an investment in what you are buying."
According to a report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, there were numerous areas around the country with record home price declines during the fourth quarter of 2008, though there also were areas considered "isolated pockets of strength."
"We're one of those pockets of strength," Stephenson said.
For the fourth quarter of 2008, Louisiana ranked 13th in the country for house price appreciation by state.
"Louisiana ranked 13th in the nation on property holding its value, or increasing its value," he said.
Nevada was ranked the worst, followed by California, Florida and Arizona.
Those four states all experienced the housing bubble and subsequent housing bust that has brought on many foreclosures in certain areas of these states.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency also tracks home values in what it calls "metropolitan statistical areas." In northeast Louisiana, that would include Monroe and the surrounding area, Stephenson said.
Out of the 292 metropolitan statistical areas that the Federal Housing Finance Agency ranks, Monroe ranked No. 2 in the nation for house price appreciation in 2008.
In the bottom 20 for house price appreciation in the country were all areas in California, Florida and Nevada.
"One of the reasons we're here is because we didn't have that bubble in house prices," Stephenson said. "Our home prices have remained fair and stable."
After talking with several bankers about the situation, the home builders association was encouraged to promote the new interest rates, which are now as low as they were in the 1960s.
"This has made homes a lot more affordable," Stephenson said. "It means people can afford more house with these low interest rates. It's a good time for young people starting out to move up, and if you have that $8,000 first-time homebuyer's credit, that's your down payment."
In 2007, interest rates were 7 percent, but today, people with good credit and equity can obtain loans at around 5 percent, Stephenson said.
For more information about the local housing market, visit www.lahomeownership.com.