New neighborhoods continue to pop up around Acadiana, and one of the questions I'm often asked is "How is this sustainable?" It's a great question, and if you thought I was going to have THE answer, you're going to be disappointed. But I do have some ideas.
New construction peaked in 2014 with 1,396 new homes. The price of oil tanked soon after, and the rate of new construction dropped and leveled off to 1,025 new homes in 2018.
The population of the Lafayette MSA, which includes Lafayette, Vermilion, Iberia, St. Martin, and Acadia Parishes remained flat from 2015 to 2017 with an increase of just 1,500 people. But during that same time period 2,955 new construction homes were sold. So who's filling in the gap?
I believe a large portion of new construction sales is being triggered by renters becoming homeowners. The Lafayette MSA population increased by 20,000 from 2010 to 2015, and of course not everyone that moves to a new city immediately buys a home. So there's a little bit of a delayed reaction from the large population increase that started in 2010.
Another piece of interesting information is the number of vacant homes listed. In 2012 (2,977) vacant homes were listed. In 2018 (3,812) vacant homes were listed. Some have left Acadiana, some have moved up to a larger home. If you're a renter making your way to becoming a homeowner, this is where I would start looking. As you'll see in the report, the new construction list vs sold price ratio stays around 99%. Builders don't budge on price. But if someone is paying a mortgage on an empty house...they're going to be willing to negotiate.