- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Thanks to strong activity in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes, the number of houses sold in metro Baton Rouge rose 8.8 percent in October from a year ago.

There were 766 homes sold in October in the nine-parish area. That’s according to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service and received by The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1Lz9bvq). That compares with 704 sales in October 2014. This was the fifth month in a row sales have gone up year to year.

“With no sudden jumps in interest rates, it is not surprising that buyers are still jumping at the chance to purchase a home,” the Realtors group said in a statement.

Livingston Parish had the biggest gain in closings. There were 163 homes sold in the parish during October, a 23.5 percent increase over the 132 MLS sales in October 2014.

East Baton Rouge Parish, which makes up the largest share of MLS sales in the market, also saw a double-digit increase in activity. There were 408 sales in the parish in October, 11.5 percent more than the 366 sales in October 2014.

Ascension Parish had a modest drop in year-to-year sales. There were 130 sales in October, compared with 131 in October 2014.

Officials with the GBRAR blamed the drop on the continued limited inventory of homes for sale in the parish, noting that it’s not possible to sell what isn’t there.

There are 439 homes available for sale in Ascension, a three-month supply of houses. A normal healthy market has a six-month supply of houses for sale.

The metro area has a 4.4-month supply, down 20 percent from the 5.5-month supply in October 2014.

Despite the gain in activity, the median home sale price in the area actually dropped by 0.6 percent in October to $181,900. In October 2014, the median sale price was $183,000, meaning half the houses sold for more and half for less than that price.

In a good sign for future activity, the number of pending sales in metro Baton Rouge increased by 17.2 percent from 705 to 826. Realtors said this is a sign that 2015 will have a strong finish.

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