A Guide to Buying a House in: Louisiana

(Because this place throws THE best parties)

So, you've been toying with the idea of buying a house in Louisiana, but you're not sure your taste buds are quite ready for the intense Cajun cookin'? No worries, that's a big adjustment.

Anyway, we've done what we can to make the actual house-hunting process easier for you, while you start slowly seasoning your meals with more spices in preparation. We'll cover all things housing market for The Bayou State (yup, that's one of their nicknames), and even throw in some state trivia on the side, just for fun. It's what we'd want to read, if we were you. So, let's dive right in.

The Most and Least Expensive Cities in Louisiana

Big decisions are hard. We know. So something like picking out the city where you'll buy your next house can seem ridiculously intimidating and adult-y. But it might help to know which of them will have the biggest or smallest price tags on those shiny new homes. So we went over to homesnacks.net and threw together a list of a few of each. Here ya go.

Most expensive cities:

  • Central
  • Alexandria
  • Natchitoches
  • Pineville
  • Leesville 

Least expensive cities:

  • Ville Platte
  • Springhill
  • Jeanerette
  • Mansfield
  • Opelousas

So there you have it. You're ready to scout out your next city like a pro, while considering the (sensitive) feelings of your wallet/bank account. They'll thank you for it. No matter where you choose to buy your new home, you can always find affordable home insurance within our trusted network.

Louisiana's Housing Market

Before you move to Louisiana (or anywhere, really), you might wanna look into the current happs in their housing market. Luckily for you, we've got an overview of just that, next up.

Louisiana's market has favored sellers for quite a while, but it's starting to shift towards buyers (lucky for you). Inventory increased significantly throughout 2018, and interest rates are expected to reach 5% by the end of the year. 

However, home prices are expected to come down as more and more people snatch 'em up - they're apparently selling "like hot cakes." Homes are spending an average of 82 days on the market, though zillow ranks the housing market an overall 1.6/10, which is "less healthy."

So where is THE place to go, in The Creole State (boom, we busted out another nickname)? New Orleans, of course. This place has everything - friendly people, amazingly varied cuisine, festivals, street performers - AND it's the birthplace of jazz. Need any more proof that this place is groovin'? We didn't think so.

Anyway, home values in New Orleans average $183,000 currently, but they've gone down 0.3% over the past year, but they're expected to rise 2.6% by the end of 2019. The price per square foot for a house is about $210. Homes here are listed on the market for around $325,000, and sell for about $232,900. Renting a house will cost you about $1,500/month.

Do you like new construction? So does Louisiana. There's TONS of it, all throughout the southern part of the state - from Lake Charles, to Lafayette, to Baton Rouge, to New Orleans. There's some up in the northwestern corner, too, around Shreveport, and even a bit further east, around Monroe. 

Home Property Values and Costs in Louisiana

It's great to know WHERE to search, but wouldn't you like to know HOW MUCH you might be paying for your new house? Thought so. We're moving right along to home values/prices next.

To begin with, the median home value in Louisiana is currently $147,800, with homes listed on the market for around $210,000. Home values have appreciated 4.2% over the past year, and are expected to rise another 2.7% by the end of 2019. The price per square foot is about $121, and renting a house will cost you about $1,200/month.

As for apartment lovers, check out these monthly rent averages for the following cities:

  • Baton Rouge - $1,033
  • Lafayette - $868
  • Oak Hills Place - $1,116
  • Central - $960
  • Ville Platte - $560

For our townhouse fans, the average range of rent starts off around $575/month for a two bed/one and a half bath place, and ends at around $7,000/month,for a three bed/three and a half bath place.

Get Yourself Some Hurricane Insurance in Louisiana

So Louisiana's not all soul food and Carnival celebrations - it gets hit by some pretty nasty hurricanes, too. Everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina from more than a decade ago, as well you should - it was the third-most destructive storm in US history. So it might not be surprising that Louisiana is one of 19 states that require a hurricane deductible as a part of a homeowners insurance policy.

But what does that mean, exactly? Well, basically you'll have to pay your insurance company a certain amount of money before they'll cover any damage to your home dealt out by an angry windstorm. Deductible costs are typically about 1%-5% of the insurance value of the home, but it really depends on where you live, too. 

For example, someone living in a low-risk area in a smaller/cheaper house might pay $300 towards their deductible, while someone living in a high-risk area in a fancy mansion might pay $30,000.

If you're trying to avoid adding extra insurance policies (or just hurricanes in general, which aren't fun to deal with at ALL), you might consider moving to a state away from the coast - one that's comfortably sandwiched between other states more likely to get hit by those nasty storms. Just keep in mind, though, that every state's got its own unique flavor of natural disaster.

Quality of Schools in Louisiana

Those with a thirst for knowledge might wanna know about the quality of the school system in their new state, so next up we've got a peek at an overview for The Sportsman's Paradise (oh snap, we hit you with another nickname).

Here are some WalletHub stats about how Louisiana schools ranked in the country:

  • #50 out of 51 (all states and D.C.) overall 
  • #46 for quality
  • #51 for safety
  • #51 for math test scores
  • #5 for lowest pupil-teacher ratio
  • #5 for highest bullying incidence

The top-rated schools in Louisiana are the Benjamin Franklin High School and the Tulane University, both in New Orleans.

Reasons to Move to Louisiana (...or not)

Serious stuff, take a hike - we're ready to move on to more of the fun, state-specific stuff. So let's check out WHY people would even WANT to move to Louisiana. But we didn't just sit around and make (educated) guesses - we polled some locals who already live here for some insight on ohhh yeahs and ohhh nos to livin' the Louisiana life.

PROs (as voted by real-life Louisianians):

  • The people: Southern hospitality and friendly vibes are in as heaping a supply as the food portions here. You'll make friends easily when you bond over a crawfish boil or at some sort of weekend festival. You'll also learn to chill the heck out - locals embrace a slower pace of life. So stop and smell the Cajun.
  • The environment: From bayous to pine forests, Louisiana's got terrain to satisfy ANYONE. It's on the coast for those who like the beach, and it's also got mountains for those who prefer the loner thing. It's got it all.
  • The food: Soul food will have your mouth - and possibly your eyes - watering like crazy. Cajun seasoning originated in Louisiana, and they're not shy about piling it on. Jambalaya is a local favorite, as are gumbo and po' boy (a meat sandwich usually stuffed full of fried seafood). Arrive hungry.
  • The transportation: Cars? Pshhh. Who needs 'em? Louisiana's SUPER bike-friendly, and New Orleans alone has more than 100 miles of bike paths total. Streetcars are also a BIG deal here. So save yourself some gas and hop on the alternative transportation bandwagon.

CONs (also from the mouths of real Louisianians):

  • Health care: Louisiana's health care ranks #47 for the nation. Perhaps that has something to do with CBS ranking Louisiana as the #2 most unhealthy state in the country -  as of December 2017.
  • Education: WalletHub ranked Louisiana as #50 in the US in terms of education overall. They also bottomed out the list in terms of safety, coming in even below DC. The state has the lowest math test scores in the country, and the fifth-highest incidence of bullying.
  • Employment and wages: Louisiana's unemployment rate is 4.7%, which is higher than the national average. It's also got a higher poverty rate than many states, combined with its low minimum wage of $7.25/hour. Also, 24/7 Wall Street ranked Louisiana as the fourth-poorest state in the nation in 2017.
  • Weather: We already discussed intense hurricanes, but what about the heat and humidity? Summers are usually above 90 degrees consistently, with a humidity level in the 80%-90% range on top of that. Prepare to need a change of shirt on the reg.

Stuff to Do in Louisiana

Well, now we know WHY people live here, but just what is it that these people DO with their time? We asked the locals to talk to us a bit longer about those sweet insider secrets to having some fun in this place - from nightlife to forests and museums.

Here are just a few of the state's coolest attractions:

  • Frenchmen Street: Sure, everyone knows about Bourbon Street, but locals say THE place you need to check out is Frenchmen Street. It's the heart of the city's live music scene (all local musicians, BTW). If you want an authentic New Orleans music experience, check it out ASAP.
  • Jackson Square/St. Louis Cathedral: New Orleans is home to the oldest cathedral in the country - dating back all the way to 1718. It's right across from Jackson Square, a National Historic Landmark in and of itself. Want some history? Louisiana's chockablock withit.
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: Near Marrero, you'll find this ginormous park dedicated to protecting the Mississippi River Delta region's resources. You'll see tons of wildlife and plant life, and all kinds of cool habitats for it all, including swamps and marshes. You can even take boat or canoe tours, if that's your thing. Those alligators WILL bite, though. Just FYI.
  • Kisatchie National Forest: Louisiana's only national forest spans seven central and northern parishes of the state. Part of the Cenozoic uplands, it's full of longleaf pine forests, flatwood vegetation, and tons of rare animals and plants. It's more than 604,000 acres, too, so you've got some explorin' to do.
  • The National World War II Museum: Located in New Orleans, this museum covers the global scale of this devastating war's impact. A few of the exhibits include the Arsenal of Democracy, the Road to Tokyo, the Road to Berlin and the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. It highlights not just famous world leaders, but also the everyday unsung heroes who served. History buffs will dig it.

Befriending the Neighbors in Louisiana

Well folks, there you have it - our behind-the-scenes look at Louisiana's housing market, and some fun state-specific trivia as an added bonus. Clearly we're not able to tackle EVERYTHING you might be concerned about before buying a house here (we're busy perfecting our crawfish recipe), but we're hoping we've brought you all the goodies necessary to inch you closer to that confidence you need.

If you dream about buying your new house in a place with a great local music scene, super-cool streetcars and soul food, then wake yourself up and get on over there. Make sure your new home is covered properly with an affordable home insurance policy.

Good luck.

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