I can only speak from my personal experiences with this topic and I can only speak about Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish (the Northshore or North Shore), but thought it was worth sharing. For the past week, I have been house shopping for my parents. They live in the same house they bought when they got married over 40 years ago in a suburb of Boston. I thought it was the most beautiful house in the world with the hugest back yard when I was a kid. It is still a nice house, but needs a ton of work and is tri-level, which doesn’t necessarily work in your favor when you get older. It also requires exterior painting and lawn maintenance, which is something they really don’t need to fuss with anymore. Besides all that, the South is so much better than the Northeast (I’m biased) for living. Plus, we ain’t moving and they need to be near their only grandkids.
On to the market. In Old Mandeville alone, there are over 400 houses for sale. That is our primary target location because my mom loves it and it is so close to us. It is so convenient to get to everywhere from there too and the elementary and junior high are there. The downside, it is flood zone A (the worst one). When we moved in a year ago, $117 a square foot was about the asking price (we bought flood zone C). Most the houses we looked at this past week were still asking over $100 a square foot and had been on the market since last summer. Flood Zone A means you are almost exclusively limited to The Louisiana Citizens Plan, AARP is the other option.
So let’s do some math here (my worst subject). A house that we liked that was 1600 square feet is asking $190 right now. It has been sitting on the market since last June ans is in Flood Zone A 10 (close to Lake Pontchartrain and has a little Bayou running behind it). So now you are looking at home owners insurance coverage for about $150K of (land cost about $30K) at about $2800 and then a transferable flood policy for about $400 a year. Thier car insurance will go up too. That is a big chunk of change to consider on a fixed income.
I can’t blame the sellers for trying to stay high, but let’s face it, the market sucks big time and you gotta come down a bit. There are a ton of houses for lease or rent too. I think many of those folks decided some income was better than a vacant house and people have no trouble getting renters insurance. As for price ranges, IMHO (in my honest opinion), if you want to live in Mandeville, you can. I think there is something for everybody. Yes, the local market is still very much influenced by Katrina 2 years later. It is very much a buyers market now and people who are going to have to start giving away their treasures houses. We gave our hous in Oklahoma away (a year ago) for about $75 a square foot – UGH!
What will may parents do? I have no freaking clue at the moment, but dad is comfortably here with us and mom is now home dealing with her way overwhelming house and lawn in the freezing cold. We are out taking walks while she is hibernating. I have a feeling we will go in low on a couple of houses we like and cross our fingers!
Our real estate agent is Janie Mizes of MLS Realty/Buy Owner in Mandeville. I promise you she will work harder for you than anyone. She is one awesome lady. You can contact her at [email protected] Call her on her cell at (504) 430-2653 or her office at (985)845-8700.
Our insurance agent is Frank Carmeli. He writes the Louisiana Citizen plan and Allstate. Call him at (985)624-3444.