Get Caught Up: Home prices are up in Lafayette, but the market is down

▸ The gist: Sticky prices and declining sales of homes in Lafayette Parish have the surrounding parishes in geener pastures this year as their share of Acadiana’s housing market grew to a new high in April.

▸ The region’s housing market is down significantly from last year. As of April, home sales around Acadiana were down 28% from the same time last year, even as the region’s average sale price grew slightly from $244,000 to just under $247,000, according to Acadiana real estate expert Bill Bacqué’s latest Market Scope Consulting report.

▸ Most of the decline is in Lafayette, where the average sale price shot up nearly $13,000 this spring, or about 4.7%, with most of the increase seen in new construction. Prices continued to rise even as the number of homes sold fell 36% from last year and the average time it took for homes to sell more than doubled to reach 61 days as of April, pointing to a major decline that has Lafayette in its coolest housing market since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

▸ Surrounding parishes aren’t feeling the pinch. Average prices are up just $2,500, about 1.3%, in the parishes around Lafayette this year, and sales are down 12.5% from last spring. The difference has Acadiana’s more rural parishes now accounting for their largest share of the region’s housing market on record, as so far this year 41.8% of homes sold in Acadiana were outside Lafayette Parish, up from 34.4% at this point in 2022 and the highest since at least 2016.

▸ The disparity points to a gap in home prices. The cost of buying a home in Lafayette Parish was already more expensive on average than buying in neighboring parishes, and Lafayette’s faster rising prices are only widening that gap. The average sale price in Lafayette Parish ended April at just over $283,000, while the average price in surrounding parishes was around $196,000, which can make Lafayette’s neighboring parishes more appealing to first-time homebuyers with smaller budgets.

▸ Outward growth would be a reversal of Acadiana’s population trends as laid out in the 2020 census, which saw only Lafayette Parish add to its 2010 population, while every other parish in Acadiana saw at least some decline. Lafayette Parish added approximately 20,000 new residents during that decade, while the rest of the region lost around 16,000, or about 4% of its population. Home sales don’t correlate exactly with population movements, but the relative health of the housing market in parishes around Lafayette suggests their declining population trend may be short-lived.