In March, there was a drop year-over-year in new home closings in the Baton Rouge, LA market, and the market seemed to be weakening with a percentage fall steeper than in February 2016. New home closings saw a 72.9% drop from a year earlier to 36. This followed a 66.7% decline 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.

Out of all housing closings, new home closings represented 4.1%. This is a fall 14.2% of closings a year earlier. For new and existing homes, closings declined in March after also declining in February year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average per-unit price of newly sold homes rose year-over-year to $243,292 in March, up 3.4% from last year. This hike is smaller than the 24.9% surge in February year-over-year.

The average mortgage size on newly sold homes gained year-over-year along with the average price of new homes. In March 2016, average mortgage size jumped 4.3% from a year earlier to $221,927. In February 2016, average mortgage size on newly sold homes saw a 19.4% gain year-over-year 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 made up all of new home closings while attached unit closings have represented no part of closings.

There was a 16.6% drop year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 1,728 square feet in March 2016. In February, the average size of new homes sold went from 2,076 square feet a year earlier to 2,078 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to fall from a year earlier in March, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Combined, foreclosures plus REO closings represented 18.5% of existing home closings, below 24.1% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures slid to 6.8% in March from 9.1% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings fell to 11.7% from 15.0% a year earlier.

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