Area residential sales saw dramatic increase in 2001

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2002


LAPLACE – The combination of low interest rates and a growing population in St. John the Baptist Parish are the cause of increased residential sales in 2001.

The alliance of new development and growth in St. John have caused home sales to dramatically rise, said Judy Songy, broker and owner of Century 21 Judy Songy and Associates.

“Despite the Sept. 11 tragedy, sales are still up,” said Songy.

Broker and owner of Anne Harvey and Associates, Anne Harvey, said the construction of new homes was up this year and the turnover for remarketing existing homes was stable.

“The interest rates play a large part, especially after Sept. 11,” said Harvey. “Prior to the tragedy, rates were around six to seven percent, but most people have been purchasing new construction.”

According to Harvey, the average cost of a new home in the parish is approximately $110,000 for 1,200 to 1,350 square feet of living area. An existing home depending on the square footage costs approximately $70,000 to $85,000.

“You get more square footage for the money with an existing home,” said Harvey. “because the house is already aged and appreciated.”

She said the cost of an existing home also depends on the neighborhood and the upkeep of the residence.

“The growth in LaPlace has had some impact,” said Harvey. “The (Louis Armstrong International) airport built in Kenner caused people to relocate to this area.”

Harvey also said the building of Shell Oil in St. Charles Parish has caused people to move to St. John Parish.

According to Harvey, the average lot size her company sells depends on the subdivision. In the Sugar Ridge subdivision, the average lot size is 60 by 100 and in the Belle Terre subdivision the average lot size is 75 by 115. The River Forest subdivision lots are 80 by 200, larger than Sugar Ridge and Belle Terre.

June Vicknair, a broker for Latter & Blum in LaPlace, said home sales have increased since 2000 due to the continued low interest rates, making homes more affordable.

“With regard to consumer confidence, it’s good,” said Vicknair. “Believe it or not, the (Sept. 11) World Trade Center disaster only affected us for two weeks, then activity resumed as normal.”

According to Vicknair, Latter & Blum sells more existing homes than new ones. She also said the cost of a home depends on the lot cost and size. The bigger the lot, the more expensive the home will be.

“It was just a combination of so many things that caused the growth here in this parish,” said Harvey.