What seemed like the only factor potentially slowing down Lafayette Parish's residential real estate market was rising mortgage rates. But at least as of this week, that factor has been eliminated.

The residential real estate market is on fire in Lafayette Parish, with overall home sales for the first six months of 2012 up 17 percent compared to last year, and new residential construction through June showing a whopping 31 percent increase in dollar volume compared with the comparable period a year ago.

“New construction may be the real story midway through 2012,” Coldwell Banker Pelican Real Estate’s Steven Hebert writes in his real estate column in the September issue of ABiz. “While benefiting from comparisons to 2011, which was just dreadful for most builders, 617 housing starts in the first six months of the year is glaring.”

And just when it looked like buyers might have been feeling they missed the boat on low interest rates, which had been increasing for four straight weeks, those rates slid down again this week.

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that amid signs of a real estate recovery average interest rates on 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages have both dropped.

The average 30-year fixed rate declined to 3.59 percent, after rising to 3.66 percent last week (a record low of 3.49 percent was set in late July). The rate has remained below 4 percent for all but one week this year, according to Freddie Mac.

Average interest rates on a 15-year, fixed-rate also decreased from 2.89 percent last week to 2.86 percent. The 15-year fixed rate loan has averaged below 3 percent for 14 weeks, Freddie Mac noted.

Read more here and check out Hebert’s column in ABiz here.

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