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Posted by Erin Hardy on Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 at 12:00pm.




House of the Month: 5249 Laurel Street

This month's house is extra special, readers. This is the house which sparked my my real estate career. I purchased it in the summer of 2014 as a young lawyer and and renovated it, transforming a one bedroom, one bathroom shotgun into an updated two bedroom, two bathroom cottage by adding a side hall. During the renovation, I became interested in the real estate industry, obtained my realtor license, took a leap of faith, and the rest is history. It is nestled on on a quiet street two blocks to Magazine Street's parades, shops, restaurants, and walkable to Whole Foods. Driveway for one car.  Click here for more photos, or, better yet, come by Sunday's open house from 1-3.

 Interest Rates & the Market

An Update from Marc Gervais  

Conventional 30-year rate 3.75%
Conventional 15-year rate 3.125%
      FHA 30-year fixed rate 3.5%
VA 30 year fixed 3.5%
Jumbo 30 year fixed 4.625%

US Economy
In a likely sign of economic optimism, business formations are perking up. Applications for business tax ID numbers jumped in 2019’s fourth quarter to a new peak level. Although actual business formations run only about 10% of applications, projected formations over the next year or two also leaped, rising 4%. Some states figure to benefit more than others. Formations are expected to grow most strongly in R.I., Tenn., Ohio, N.M., La., Utah and Nev. All regions are seeing growth, though declines are expected in three states: Neb., Iowa and Mo.

New Home Sales, which measures signed contracts on new homes, fell 0.4% in November at a 694,000 unit annualized pace. Additionally, November's figure was revised lower to 697,000 from the previous reported 719,000. The inventory of new homes on the market increased 1.6% to 327,000, while the median new home price increased 0.5% to $331,400. Click here to contact Marc. 

Times-Picayune Economic Summit 2020

A large part of the multi-panelist discussion was the digital economy and what it could do for New Orleans. Brandy Christian of the Port of New Orleans opined that the city has historically missed out on manufacturing and distribution opportunities. The city is poised for e-distribution centers especially, as online behemoths such as Amazon need more space and employees. One recent harbinger was the successful courting of Medline, a giant in medical product distribution. It recently opened a one million square foot regional logistics center in Covington. 

Digitization has also made its mark on the healthcare industry, as on-demand consumerism has lead to online health portals and tele-medicine. The region's network of hospitals will need new hires who are trained in software development and marketing. 

Tara Hernandez, president of developer JCH Properties, who is also a member of GNO Inc. and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation boards, spoke on the music industry: "So, we can throw amazing festivals, we have lots of live music venue opportunities but when it comes to the business side of things — artist management, publishing, and song writing, which is really where the basis of the business is in terms of intellectual property — we're lacking." She cited a well-known anecdote that underscores this need- bounce artist Big Freedia does not have access to nine years of her work due to improperly registering her intellectual property. 

As for the recurrent question of how to repair the city's infrastructure, Walter “Walt” Leger, the former Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, who is now an executive at New Orleans & Co., stated the need to "be creative" in raising funds, such as implementing a gas tax and pursuing public-private partnerships. 

Leger also stated that investing in commuter rail and non-university job training would help bolster wage growth.

This year's Times-Picayune Economic Outlook Summit was held at the Advocate's headquarters at 840 St. Charles Avenue. Panelists included Quentin L. Messer, Jr. of the New Orleans Business Alliance, Michael Fitts, President of Tulane University, and Anne Teague Landis of Landis Construction. Click here for more info. 


Architecture Trivia

This quintessential four bay Creole cottage is located at 1011 Orleans Avenue in the French Quarter. Typically two rooms wide and two rooms deep, the Creole cottage is the oldest remaining architectural style in New Orleans. Heavily influenced by the French and Spanish, early cottages were constructed of brick between posts or masonry with a plaster sheathing. The façade typically features a weather-shielding overhang called an abat-vent. 



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