New homes in Baton Rouge means the economy is improving

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Homeowners are seeing their homes sell quickly in Baton Rouge.  Realtors say there are only a certain amount of homes on the market, now developers are cashing in by building new options.

One of those new neighborhoods, Magnolia Lakes, off Burbank Drive is where workers are hammering, sawing and framing homes.

"You're probably looking close to $225,000 to $250,000 for a newer house," said Pat Wattam.  She says even at that amount, you may only be looking at a little square footage.

Wattam is the past president of the Greater Baton Rouge Board of Realtors. She says buyers are likely to find more space in older, updated homes.  But there are some who prefer new builds.  In general, she says, homes are on the market for about five months.  Something she hasn't seen in a long time.  That means what's available is dwindling.

"So somewhere we've got to get more inventory.  That's where new construction comes in.  That's where you're seeing so much new construction."

She says with a stronger economy, there are now more people working and they are in a position to buy.  That has developers looking for land to clear, to build on.  For example, there are 80 acres off the Millerville exit where trees have been cleared for apartments and office space.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has predicted more jobs for the parish this year.  That job growth, is what real estate agents say builders are banking on, to move their product.  As far as how the new stock will affect market pricing, Wattam says Baton Rouge is experiencing what's called a level market.

"Buyers are going to get a good value.  Sellers are going to get what they want for their house.  Those days of coming in $60,000 under, those days are gone."

Agents say they are hearing interest rates are going up later this year.

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