New Orleans home prices continue to climb (mostly)

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Exactly five years ago, home prices across the nation and throughout Louisiana were in a free-fall crash.  Today, new numbers show home values climbing strongly.  And, in many ways, New Orleans is ahead of the pack.

A new report from the firm “Realty Trac” in early November shows no real surprises.  The average price of a home in the U.S. has soared more than 12 percent over the past 12 months.  At first glance, the numbers aren’t so rosy for New Orleans.  But if you dig a bit deeper, you will see that homeowners in the metro area have plenty to smile about.

In the older, historic areas of New Orleans–the neighborhoods that hug the Mississippi River–“for sale” signs are few and far between.

“It’s good for property values but it’s bad for buyers,” notes Randy Stephens, a real estate broker with Carriage House Realty in the Bywater neighborhood.  He says lack of supply coupled with strong demand continues to drive up prices in most older parts of the city.  For example, one house on Desire Street in the Bywater which sold a year and a half ago for 260-thousand dollars is now worth an estimated 315-thousand dollars.  It’s a great time to sell, bu slim pickings if you’re looking to buy.

“The demand is there. If you put a house up for sale in, say, the Bywater you might get two or three offers by the next day,” adds Stephens.

That doesn’t hold true for every part of the city, however.  Areas like Gentilly and New Orleans East have seen prices stay essentially flat the past year with little or no price growth.  But along the river, from Riverbend to the Industrial Canal, prices keep climbing, and buyers keep snapping up real estate.

Elsewhere in the city, prices are also soaring in Lakeview and most of Mid-City.  And in Jefferson Parish, homes in Old Metairie are increasing in value rapidly. But the rest of Jefferson Parish, as well as most of the North Shore, is seeing either slow price growth or none at all.  still, that’s far better than the price crash the rest of the nation suffered five years ago.