- Associated Press - Monday, August 22, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The south Louisiana floods, which have forced tens of thousands of people to look for housing, comes at a time when the metro Baton Rouge housing market was already grappling with a limited inventory of homes.

As of July, the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service found there were 3,382 homes on the market in the metro areas. That’s 15 percent lower than the number of homes for sale in July 2015. The supply of homes for sale is 3.9 months, based on current sales activity. Six months is considered an adequate inventory.

In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, Ginger Maulden, president-elect of the Baton Rouge realtor’s group, tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/2bzML73) she expects the inventory will drop even further. Maulden says some people who had listed their property may end up taking it off the market and letting displaced family or friends live there. She says some homes that were listed may have been damaged by floodwaters and can’t be sold.

“We already had a situation in our market when people were getting multiple offers for their houses,” said Maulden, with Coldwell Banker One in Prairieville. “It’s going to be crazy.”

Population shifts are also expected to happen as a result of the flooding as people look to buy homes in neighborhoods that didn’t flood.

“We’re still in very early stages of this, but there will definitely be a population shift,” said Rick Haase, president of Latter & Blum, the New Orleans company that operates C.J. Brown Realtors in Baton Rouge. “People will move out of the areas that were just flooded.”

The flooding has already created a shift in what people are looking for. Haase said that 84 percent of the traffic on C.J. Brown’s website one night was people who were looking for rental housing. Before that, normally 3 to 5 percent of the people on the website were looking for places to rent.

“I don’t think you’re going to have a massive flight out of the Baton Rouge area,” he said. “People will land in temporary housing and work to rebuild and move back in.”

Maulden said homes in neighborhoods that didn’t experience flooding will see their value go up. Going forward, real estate agents will make a point of mentioning that a house didn’t flood in 2016 to potential buyers.

“People are going to think twice about purchasing a home in a flood zone,” she said. “There will not be the same attitude.”


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

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