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The Market for Second Homes is Great….Buyers are looking at all areas of New Orleans

I am selling a lot of condos that are being used as second homes in all areas of town.  This year half my condo sales are from second home buyers.  A few are from out of state but many are from nearby cities such as Baton Rouge, Mandeville, Covington, Slidell, Lafayette, Houma, Mobile, and Jackson.  Its an easy drive to New Orleans.

They all have some connection to New Orleans.  Many have grown kids and it will be like a family home in New Orleans.  A condo is ideal when you are not going to be in town every week.

Most are looking for something move in ready where little has to be done.  Its going to be a fun thing so few want to spend the time and money updating.  Most of the things I am showing have all been in great shape.

Many are looking  for two bedroom so they can have family and friends visit them.  Others are looking for that New Orleans feel where they can park the car and enjoy a weekend of walking, eating, shopping, and the enjoyment of a city filled with things to do within a few miles or a short street car ride away.  It is never hard to have a reason to come.

A lot of the sales are cash.  You will need 20% down for a second home so most of the buyers are very stable with good earning with money to spend on each visit.

3300 St. Charles Ave. Condos, New Orleans Condos

Uptown Condo Market is Moving

        Today’s Buyers want something that looks like it belongs in New Orleans.  These conversions are becoming more popular and can be found all over the Uptown New Orleans Area.  The Warehouse District and French Quarter is still a demand area but more and more people are looking in the Lower Garden District, Garden District and Uptown.

The prices are better. Everything is still very close and you just get more for you money in terms of space, parking and price.  You can take the streetcar to the French Quarter and you are always close to St. Charles, Magazine where there is always a lot of activity.

Part of the demand is because the housing market is doing so well in the area.  Condos do follow the trend as beginning Homes are getting very hard to find in the 400k range.  So condos make a lot of sense for the second home market in this area.

 

3300 St. Charles Ave, Commodore Condos in New Orleans

Historic Condo Conversions in New Orleans

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The Second Home Market in New Orleans is Hot……If its nice and priced right it sells…

     The trend of people wanting second homes is trending upward.  The demand is solid and the supply is low.  This is the case in all areas where people are looking. Purchasing a condo is the way to go for 98% of second home owners.  Prices are trending upward over last year. 

    A second home buyer needs to do his or her homework so they will know the one when it comes on the market.  Since most second home buyers are not local they cannot see the condos as they come on the market daily and sell within a few days.  One major change I am seeing is that a lot of the buyers are “near local” from places like Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Houma, Mandeville, Mobile and even some from Metairie.

    Second home buyers will need 20% down as a general rule.  Rates are at 3.5% or there abouts right now.  Best to have a pre-approval letter from a local lender once the decision is made to purchase a condo.  Your addition expenses are taxes, HO6 Insurance policy and the condo fees which may be a little different depending upon the condo association.

   Second Home Buyers should be open to several areas unless they are completely set on a specific area.  Many times buyers do change their minds once exposed to other areas of town.  Other areas may have cheaper prices and larger condos.

Lower Garden District Porches in New Orleans Homes 

     Once a purchaser decides on what area of New Orleans he wants then the buyer has to decide on the type of condo he wants.  The complex that has a lot of amenities. The Small association with a lot of historic features.  Want a certian area and are not concerned with the style.  There are few complexes in the French Quarter.  There are few small associations in the Warehouse District.  You see both in the Garden District, Uptown and along St. Charles.      

     What you seldom find is that larger complex uptown with that historic feel.  Knowing what to expect is the first step where a realtor schooled in all the areas can really help your search.  My focus is on the resale value of your purchase.  I will know the plus and minus of each unit and will share my knowledge with you as we search.  

    Let your keyboard do the searching and I can answer most of your questions as you begin the search.  If I do not know the answer I can find it out.  One of the most asked question I get is ” Did the condo flood during Katrina”  99% of the time the answer in no.  The popular areas for condos are in the older areas of town located on high ground. Most had little damage and suffere little or no damage….

 2625 St. Charles Ave. Condos, New Orleans Condos

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New Orleans French Quarter Condos, always a lot to do within walking distance…

      The real estate market in the New Orleans French Quarter is as strong as it was before Katerina.  Lots of buyers and fewer properties by half than just over a year ago.  I had a client in early Spring last year who could have bought 4-5 nice properties in her price range. The sales were just beginning to pick up then in 2012. Three of the ones I showed her sold before she left and returned to Canada.  Today she may have one nice choice at higher prices.

    The higher end properties are few and far between as are the almost all the categories as well. You have to be ready to act when a unit does come up because if it is nice it will sell quickly.  We are seeing many more Louisiana people buy places than ever before.  I have had a number of clients from Kenner, Slidell, Mandeville, Baton Rouge and Lafayette searching for their weekend place.

    They all use it more than they thought as they are not that far away.  They live close by and didn’t even know how many things there were to do.

     The vaste of the condos in the French Quarter are second homes for people that love to come to New Orleans because there is always things to see and do.  I have pictured a few below but there is always much more.  

New Orleans French Quarter Bar

Drink in some of the oldest bars in the United States…

 Court of Two Sisters, French Quarter in New Orleans

 Eat in Five Star Restraunts that are short walks from your Condo

French Quarter Artist on Royal Street in New Orleans

 Enjoy Sidewalk artist and their clorful displays…

Jazzz Fest 2012 Trumpet

 You like Music then New Orleans likes you… Something going on..

Girl Watching Fest 2

     People Having fun, it wears off on you and you get in to it…

French Quarter Window Shopping, Lights

  Shopping in unique stores and shops, You can still bargain in New Orleans

French Quarter Fest 2012

      Always a festival going on in or around the French Quarter

Creole Queen sails the Mississippi in New Orleans

 Always a great walk along the Mississippi River

Balconies in French Quarter Corner

     Historic Buildings one right after another, block after block…

French Quarter Artist at work

     Street Musicians play on many corners, Some are quite good….

French Quarter Alley off Pirates Alley

     You can Just hang out and decide what you are going to do next….

Carriages on Chartres in French Quarter of New Orleans

 Historic Tours, Let the guide talk as the mules have the route memorized….

French Market Streetcar in New Orleans

    Take the River Front Street Car to the Warehouse District….

Cornstock Hotel in New Orleans French Quarter

     Unique Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are all “one of a kind”

French Quarter Roof Tops in New Orleans

     A sky line of short building looking towards Canal Street…

Fest Girl Watching, Bridge

       This is just a few reasons that people visit the French Quarter…

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New Orleans Warehouse District Update…Fewer Listings and More Ready Buyers

     The prices are on an upward trend and are getting back to the levels of 2007 when business was last booming.  The big difference is that there is just not a lot of things for sale.  There are currently 25 active listings in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. Out of the 25 listings there are 7 listings at 1201 Canal which I really do not consider the Warehouse District.The prices range from 169k to over a million.  So choices are limited in all categories.  There are 20 condos under contract.   

    I had several listings last month and they all sold within a week of getting people in the units.  If a seller prices them correctly they can get a sale in short order.  You still have to have what people want.  There a a large demand for 2/2 units that are selling for up to 400k. 

    Several of the reasons for the demand is that few new places have come on the market since 2008.  The second home market is doing extremely well and those buyers are ready to buy when things do come on the market.  The odd thing about most of my second home buyers is that they live rather close by in places like Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Kenner, Mandeville  and other local towns and cities.  This was not the case three years ago.  

Warehouse District Building in New Orleans

        Many of the second home buyers pay cash or put down large amounts towards the purchase.  People still ask about foreclosures but they are few and far between.  Those that will pop up have been in the process for years.  Then you add to the buyers those that are renting and want to buy with the low rates you have some increased demand. 

       The Warehouse District is also a favorite place for medical students, residents and law students.  Many are not selling when they finish but decide to rent or use their condo as a second home.  The demand will increase in that area with the completion of the new VA and LSU hospitals which are under construction.  

Warehouse District Colors, New Orleans Buildings

      I have pictured these buildings which are not yet condos.  The area of expansion is going to be the areas in the CBD and towards the Super Dome.  The construction or conversion of rental units have greatly increased in this area.  Once that happens its will be like a ball rolling down a steep hill.  Blocks away from the French Quarter where you get larger more updated units for less money and you will have access to parking.

    That is what I am predicting is going to happen.  The areas just tend to spread out as prices and available space become available….I have had no problems with financing as long as people stay local and use lenders that we know will give you the best deals and get the job done.  Out of State Lenders are stressful and much less successful.  Add in the large out of state banks to that number.  I will not mention names but all Realtors know them… Ask them who is most successful.  I never mind saying….Stay away from XXXXXX  Brand…

Warehouse District Widows in New Orleans

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Christmas Season in New Orleans, Great time for people owning a second home….

      I sell a lot of second homes  to clients from all over the country.  I am now selling a lot to people that do not live that far away like Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Jackson, Miss and such places.  They tend to know New Orleans is much more than Bourbon Street and there is a lot of things to do.  You can eat and drink at some of the most historic places and enjoy yourself to no end.

    Some of the best things are free however.  There is really no need for a car so just leave it at the condo and take the streetcar or cab to your favorite spots.  The weather has been great and its like Spring in reverse.   

     You can write a book on all the great Christmas decorations this time of year.  Below is just a small sample of what I have seen this past couple of weeks.  From simple decorations the the elaborate ones like at the Roosevelt Hotel few do as good a job as New Orleans.  They may just need practice for Mardi Gras and as a filler from Halloween.  People just like to do such things and then they become memories of years past.

    The weather is still mild.  These ducks found New Orleans recently and come all the way from South America to enjoy the season at Audubon Park.  The trees are just beginning to change color.  These crepe myrtles do show up well among the oak trees which will stay green all winter.  They have to leave their leaves soon as they need to bring new leaves out in March…

    The window shopping trips are something that has moved to the malls in most of America but you can still window shop here for the most unusual things.  This is just the tip of the iceberg but wanted to let you knwo there is so much to do, it is worth planning a trip.  Plan as their is a lot to see.  See a few scenes below and multiple it by 50 and it will fill up several days.  Bring your walking shoes….. 

New Orleans Homes, Christmas Decorations 2012

Christmas Lights at Roosevelt 3

Christmas Lights at Roosevelt 1

Christmas on St. Charles in New Orleans

Audubon Park Colors in December

Audubon Park Ducks 2012

Condo Searching in New Orleans, Finding a condo

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Historic New Orleans Condo, 1520 St. Mary G, The historic Feel in a Great Location

       This condo located in the lower Garden District is a great example of an historic renovation of an apartment building into 8 condos.  Most likely this was not always an apartment complex but a townhouse double from the 19th century.

    The location is half a block off St. Charles Avenue and several blocks from Magazine Street.  Great area to walk or ride to various locations.  No need for a car here. There is no parking but parking on the street is easy 95% of the time.  The parades go by here so then it gets tough to park.

1520 St. Mary G Balcony View

      One of the nice things about this unit is the high ceilings, wood floors, many windows, crown molding, large rooms and the balcony that runs the length of the unit on the second floor.  The condo is over 850 sq. ft with one bedroom, an eat in kitchen, large updated master kitchen and bathrooms.  The condo fees are very reasonable at $229 per month.

      The kitchen has been updated with newer cabinets, granite counters and appliances.  All appliancesdo stay along with most of the furniture.  The eat in kitchen has gas cooking which is not the norm in most complexes.  The gas is in the condo fees.  You can open the kitchen door onto the balcony to get the fresh morning breeze and light.

     The large rooms give the condo  a much larger feel as all rooms have tall ceilings and wood floors with multiple windows.  The master bedroom and updated master bathroom  are large for a condo.  The second bath is a half bath and laundry off the kitchen.  The second floor is generally the best place to be in a complex such as this. More light and better views.

    Sold furnihed for $175,520 excluding some personnel items and artwork.  Would make a great second home just in time for the holidays.

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New Orleans Condo amenities do make a difference, especially with smaller condos…

       I am finding that more and more people want the amenities that the larger condo associations have as long as the condo fees stay reasonable.  When you live in or visit a small condo, you like spending time outside by a pool or lush courtyard.   You cannot generally find this all over town but they tend to be concentrated in large buildings in the Warehouse District, French Quarter and along St. Charles Ave. in Uptown New Orleans.

       You can find courtyards in all areas of the condo market.  The tropical courtyard just says “You are in New Orleans”  Many times you will find this in the larger condos but that does not mean it would not exist in smaller complexes.  Most of these tend to be in the French Quarter where a small courtyard can really be made to be lush and inviting.  It is up to the residents and owners to decide which they they will go.  It will add value to the condo association as they become nicer and more inviting.

       Many of the larger condo associations have added gyms for exercise.  These can be rather Spartan to be one that has everything.  This is more often found in the New Orleans Warehouse District where large building have been converted into condos.   You will also see some very nice lobbies and meeting areas in some of the larger condo associations as well.     

      The swimming pools are enjoyed by all, most never get in but do enjoy the water and the relaxing quality of the blue liquid.  Great way to cool off on our hot steamy days however.  You can even jump in the pool in December with our weather patterns. 

      All the extra amenities  will cost money and is spread over everyone’s monthly condo fee.  Living in a larger complex makes these very affordable.  As a resident you will not need to go to an outside gym.  You may take your bottle of beer or glass of wine to the courtyard to relax.  You can grill in most of these areas as well.

     All these things just add to the quality of life issues.  Its fun to enjoy where you live , getting out without going out of the complex is easy.

     If you ever rent your condo then these quality of life issues do play a large part in the mind of the renter.  These units just rent faster and stay rented longer. 

Federal Fibre Mills Courtyards, New Orleans Warehouse District, 1107 South Peters

French Quarter Condos, Hidden Courtyards

Federal Fibre Mills Condo, Lobby Art

Cotton Mill Condos, Courtyard, New Orleans Condos

 

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Second Home Market for New Orleans Condos has been extremely good of late…

      The second home market for a New Orleans Condo has dramatically changed in the last six months.  Its been up , up and selling.  All the nice things are selling in most of the areas where second home people do buy.  Now many second home buyers are staying in the condo longer and coming more often.  The areas where buyers look has expanded to almost all the areas in New Orleans where there are condos. 

      Several years ago the French Quarter was the place to be.  It still is in demand for the nicer and more expensive units.  The slowest segment of this market is the ultra small units while the nicer more expensive condos are selling briskly.

Coloseum Square in New Orleans

     More and more buyers are willing to look in other areas as well.  The Warehouse District has been doing well for the past 4-5 years for second home buyers.  Now we are seeing people venture to all areas of the city.  Most want a place where they can walk to restaurants, shops and be near the St. Charles Ave. Street Car line.  The areas in the Lower Garden District, Garden District, Uptown are all getting attention this year.

     The area between Magazine and St. Charles has been one of the better areas for all these reasons. Its just easy to walk to places and find things that have that New Orleans feel.  You can walk to a variety of stores and restaurants that you will not find elsewhere in the United States.  You can mingle with people from all walks of life.  Talk about the Saints and Politics and you will get a lively discussion from most locals.

Magazine Street Merchants

    The interest rates for second homes remain low at about 4% if this is going to be a second home.  Always best to use a local lender who understands the New Orleans Market.  Stay local and be happy and satisfied.  I can always recommend the best as my job depends upon it.

     One question I am always asked is about renting the condo when the owners are not here.  All the condo docs are going to say not leases for anything less than 60 days and more.  This is a city law so all condo documents are going to state this.  Many are longer terms for leases. 

     I am always asked about flooding as well. Very few of these areas flooded during Katrina or during the recorded history dating back to the 1750’s.  This was and is still high ground. 

    The good to great rental business is for people wanting corporate places for several months at a time.  These could be people on a short assignment for a variety of jobs.  The movie business has been booming and it takes several months to shoot a movie.  There is a lot of construction going on and people need places to stay.  Companies are not moving people as much but pay a per Diem to someone on a temproary  job that could last months.

       These people do not want to stay in a hotel.  I have a good friend and past client Ann Beck who specializes in this segment and she says her business is booming.  She can get you set up once you purchase according to the rules and regulations.  Let her screen the clients for you.

St Charles Ave Streetcar, New Orleans Real Estate

        The street car is only $1.25 for a one way ride and runs from 6 am to midnight.  An all day pass is only a couple of bucks more.  Not bad for the oldest running streetcar line in the United States.  Plenty to see along the way….

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Second Homes in New Orleans are Picking Up, Condos make a great choice…

     The New Orleans Market is doing very well for second homes as we start the new year of 2012.  The main areas of interest are the French Quarter, Warehouse District, Garden District, Lower Garden District and Uptown.  Most second home buyers want two bedroom places although good number of buyers are looking at one bedrooms as well. The buyers fall int0 one of two categories…

     New Orleans Connections – Buyers with connections are those that may have lived here or gone to school in the past.  Many have moved away and all miss what New Orleans has to offer.  They tend to look in various areas of the City of New Orleans because they know it better.  Some have relatives and want to get back to visit them and their families.

    Buyers Just with a love to come- I am seeing more and more buyers who have no real connections to New Orleans through family but just like to come here often.  They may have come to Jazz Fest, a convention, or on business and just like it here.  These are the buyers that make me appreciate what we have here.

     In both these categories you tend to see people looking at the purchase as a retirement condo to spend part of the year here.  Many plan to live in New Orleans for several months at a time.  Some can even work in New Orleans part time and then return home between visits. 

     One thing most second home buyer have in common is that they have the 20% down required by lenders, will put a lot down or will pay cash for the condo.  Most want a place that is carefree and has been updated.  Most tend to be very picky in what they are looking for.  We have to remember that a second home is a desire and they want what they want.  I do see the price ranges getting higher over the last 2 years.  However you can find some nice places as low as 140k in the Uptown area.

     I always get asked about flooding and crime in New Orleans.  The majority of the City did flood during Katrina but over 95% of the condos in the areas mentioned did not flood at anytime in the past.  There is crime in the city but where you have condos the crime is not a big issue.  The condos tend to be in the more expensive areas of town and are in neighborhoods where people are not interested in crimes.

    The other very interesting factor is second home buyers is the length of time they look.  Some take a while to purchase but know what they want.  They take more time to decide before pulling the trigger.  In today’s market its easy to keep clients updated with the Internet if we know about what they are looking for.  I can answer the questions and send listings as they become available. The most interested do their homework and have a good idea of what they want.

    The other group has been looking for a while but when I get them as a client they are ready to purchase.  Most of these can weigh the pluses and minuses of each condo and make that decision.

    Neither group wants to see the overpriced condos and those that fit do not fit their needs.  Lately it has been very ease to get don to the best 5 properties before they start searching.  Lately if they know the area it may be hard to find even 5 winners.  I am still amazed at some of the deals my clients have gotten so I am never surprised.  I supply then with lots of sales data so they can make an informed decision and answer their questions as honestly as I can.  Visit www.nolahomesearch.net  to start your search.

    French Quarter Artist, The botanist

404 Notre Dame Building

New Orleans Multi-family homes 

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October Market Update for New Orleans Condos….

        The New Orleans condo market is going to be different in the various areas of the New Orleans Metro area.  The prices of condos and demand are going to follow the sale of homes.  The hot segment of the market is in New Orleans.  Jefferson remains very cool as demand is very slow even with some great deals to be had.  St. Tammany is slow as well.  As an agent you tend to work more in the areas of demand.

    Rates are at 4% as we enter October.  This is a new low for rates in my lifetime.  People need to check to see if refinancing is for them.  The 15 year rate is like 3.25 and you can save tens of thousands of dollars if you can take a slightly higher note. Getting rid of PMI with 20% equity is a big saver as well.  If you can do both its a giant windfall.

New Orleans Condos, Refinace now

       Let talk about New Orleans now since it is the best market for condos as it is for the home market in all price ranges.  The supply is down in all categories.  The supply in the French Quarter is way down from a year ago.  The same can be said for the Warehouse District.  You can easy get down to the best 2-3 units in all price ranges.  Clients are waiting for units to come on the market.  The Garden District and Uptown is seeing the better units very quickly. 

    People are becoming more flexible as to where they would purchase.  We  even see some uptick in the Lakefront condos where there are a couple of exceptional buys still there.  This market has been quiet for a couple of years.  It may be waking up….

    The supply is down in all these areas.  Rents are up in all areas.  If you are a buyer its best to get started now so you can get a feel of the market.  I can set you up to receive all the new listings as they come on the market.  You can see the reductions, sales and begin to see a trend in the condo market.

    The second home market is becoming much stronger even with 20% down as a minimum.  One change we notice is that many of the new second home buyers are making New Orleans their home for several months out of the year.  The demand is there for the larger units but supply is small as condos in New Orleans have generally been smaller in all price ranges.

    Once again timing is key.  Buy when all the factors are on your side. Low rates and decent prices.  A low supply may be in your favor as the market may have bottomed last year.  The holiday season is a great time as some buyers are waiting for next year but the deals may be availiable now.

   There are very few bank repos in the market but some sellers just need to sell for a variety of reasons.  You can count the bank repos for New Orleans Condos on two hands.  I have seen many and they sell quickly mainly to owner occupied buyers.  There will be more.  I have not heard of a short sale in months.  People are avoiding these as rents are too good and a smart seller in trouble can make it work.

New Orleans Condos, Market Update for October, 2011

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Eric Bouler Realtor
Gardner Realtors
Metairie - New Orleans, La. USA