In the Baton Rouge, LA market in March, closings of new homes declined year-over-year, and the market seemed to be worsening in light of the percentage decline steeper than February 2016. There was a 72.9% fall in new home closings from a year earlier. This followed a 66.7% fall year-over-year in February.

A total of 917 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in March, down from 1,014 for the year that ended in February.

New home closings accounted for 4.1% of overall housing closings. This is a drop 14.2% of closings a year earlier. For new and existing homes, closings fell in March after also declining in February year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In March, the average price of newly sold homes jumped 3.4% year-over-year to $243,292 per unit. This surge is smaller than the 24.9% rise in February year-over-year.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size saw a gain year-over-year along with new home prices. In March 2016, average mortgage size climbed 4.3% from a year earlier to $221,927. In February 2016, average mortgage size grew 19.4% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

There was no change in the composition of the new home market with regard to the types of properties sold in March 2016. Single-family home closings have accounted for all of new home closings while attached unit closings have represented no part of closings.

There was a 16.6% fall year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 1,728 square feet in March 2016. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,076 square feet in February 2015 to 2,078 square feet in February 2016.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in March, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Together, foreclosures plus REO closings made up 18.5% of existing home closings, down from 24.1% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures dropped to 6.8% in March from 9.1% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings slid to 11.7% from 15.0% a year earlier.

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