This house on Jefferson Drive is for sale by Flavin Realty Inc. Realtors in Southwest Louisiana have experienced a surge in business this year, especially during the summer months coinciding with the second quarter. (Anne Robicheaux / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 6:09 PM
The summer season is hot for real estate agents, but even as it draws to a close, the real estate market in the Lake Charles area is thriving.
Tommy Eastman, sales manager at Flavin Realty Inc., said, “We’re (doing) a little bit better than we were last year.”
In the first quarter of 2012, members of Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors sold $165 million in property. This was up from $142 million in the first quarter of 2011. In the second quarter of 2012, the Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors sold $218 million in real estate, up from $193 million in the second quarter of 2011. The Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors tracks data from all local Realtors.
Commenting on the surge of business in the summer months, Eastman said, “That’s when most people start to relocate, meaning moving in. They do it, because school is letting out. They typically want to get settled in before school starts. If they’re moving school districts or anything like that, it’s just a good time, if you have kids, to move.”
“I would say that we have seen an uptick in the state as well, just in general, with the market getting better and people getting off the sidelines,” Eastman added.
Eastman attributes part of the increase in real estate activity this year to loan interest rates, which he said are at “historic lows.”
“When you’re quoting interest rates, on a 30-year (loan) at 3 1/2 percent (interest) — it’s unheard of — and on a 15-year (loan) at 3.1 percent, interest rates are at historic, very historic lows,” Eastman said.
Eastman also attributes the increase in real estate activity to commercial expansion in the Lake Charles area, which draws people here with job opportunities. With better job opportunities comes better pay, meaning more people are able to buy a house rather than rent a house or apartment. For those who are already homeowners, there is also the chance to upgrade from a less expensive house to a more expensive house, which leaves the less expensive houses on the market and open to buyers.
“I think with the way that our economy’s going, it only opens the door for more people to be able to get those loans. If our economy here continues to do what it’s doing, the natural effect is going to be that we’re going to sell more homes,” Eastman said.
Despite the high degree of real estate activity normally experienced in the summer months, Eastman admits that the tail-end of the year is usually a slow time for them. However, after this slowdown, Eastman predicts a continued increase in real estate activity next year.
“Do I think our market will do better than last year? Yes. Typically, toward the end of the year, with the holidays and everything, things slow down,” Eastman said.