- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The number of houses sold in metro Baton Rouge rose 15.4 percent in September from a year ago, thanks to a big boost in activity in East Baton Rouge Parish.

There were 883 homes sold in September in the nine-parish area. That’s according to figures released Thursday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. That compares with 765 sales in September 2014. This was the fourth month in a row sales have gone up year-to-year.

East Baton Rouge Parish, which makes up the largest share of sales, had the biggest gain in closings. There were 473 homes sold in the parish during September, a 24.1 percent increase over the 381 sales in September 2014.

Wynona Squires, broker/owner of Re/Max First, tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1WBziNV) indications that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates in the near future “has put some urgency” on first-time homebuyers in the market.

“We’ve been very busy through the summer,” said Squires, a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ board of directors. “A lot of my agents have numbers that are larger than what they were last year.”

According to MLS figures provided by Squires, much of the increased sales activity was in the starter-home market. There were 99 homes sold in East Baton Rouge Parish in September in the $150,000 to $199,999 range. That was a 48 percent increase over the 67 sales in September 2014 in the same price bracket. More expensive homes were also moving, with the number of home sales in the $300,000 to $349,999 range increasing by 68 percent to 32. The number of sales in the $600,000 to $699,999 range went from two in September 2014 to seven a year later.

Livingston Parish had an 18.3 percent increase in sales during September, jumping from 153 MLS sales in 2014 to 181 sales.

Ascension Parish, which has been hampered by a lack of inventory, had a 6.5 percent increase in MLS sales. There were 163 sales in September, compared with 153 a year earlier.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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