Good news for St. Tammany Parish homeowners and business owners is that they won’t have to “jump through hoops” in order to get their repair and renovation construction off the ground following the historic flood that hit Covington, Louisiana, inundating the city with water from 3 different river sources and shutting down roads and

businesses for several days.  The City of Covington has waived the requirement for building permit fees under an ordinance approved by the City Council.

Mayor Mike Cooper said most of the floodwaters had receded by Tuesday and residents were in clean up mode.

“Things are moving,” Cooper said. “The city is doing what it can to help.”

With 100 total structures and counting being reported with flood damage, not only would the fees and requirements be cost prohibitive to the city, but they would hold up the restoration of people’s homes and businesses which would only cause the city to suffer because of the lack of production.

In order to assist homeowners with their repairs, the city is also requiring any contractor or builder working on a flood damaged home who applies for a permit to be a state licensed contractor.  This should reduce the amount of fraud that happens when huge storms cause damage in the Greater New Orleans area.  Because state licensing

requires proof of general liability insurance, homeowners can also breathe easy while the contractor or builder is working on their home.

The main culprits of the flooding were the Bogue Falaya and Little Tchefuncte Rivers in northern Covington.  One of the storm’s casualties was the Bogue Falaya Park in downtown Covington, which will be closed until further notice until the repairs to the wooden pavilion and playground equipment can be done.  St. Tammany Parish is applying for disaster relief for the storm that brought so much damage and it is the mayor of Covington’s hope that this funding will be made available to Covington’s residents who need it.  Parish-wide, so far it has been counted that 615 structures received flood damage in St. Tammany Parish.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

The National Association of Home Builders monitors the construction industry so it can be the first to report both positive and negative news to the real estate industry and if necessary, to Congress.  Since the housing industry is one of the leaders in economic growth and development in the United States, and the national economy depends on real estate for a good portion of the GDP, the health of the real estate industry if of prime importance to those vendors, contractors, and builders who are involved in its day-to-day production.

To that end, construction spending was reported by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to have Building a Raffle House for Charitygrown in November, 2015.  Private residential construction which includes homeowner improvements, DIY remodeling and renovations, and other types of repairs saw an increase in construction spending of 5.9% from November, 2014.  Single-family construction spending was up 9% over the same period and multi-family construction spending was up 12%.

From November, 2015, to December, 2015, private residential construction spending increased by .12%.  Single-family home construction spending increased to $231 billion which is a 1% increase from November.  Multi-family spending increased to $53 billion – a 2.66% increase.  Interestingly, if multi-family spending levels off to a steadier pace, which it is predicted to do in 2016, the trend in real estate suggests that single-family home construction will begin to increase.

In the commercial sector, an increase of 45% in the manufacturing-related construction from December, 2014, to December, 2015, drove an overall increase of 8% year-over-year in commercial construction spending.

Since the Great Recession, the real estate industry has been on a continuous climb of recovery once the housing market started to turn around.  The numbers at the end of 2015 reflect this slow but steady progress for builders, contractors, remodelers, and renovators, as well as all of the construction employees involved in projects nationwide.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

Good news for Northshore Mardi Gras attendees comes in the form of two holidays colliding the weekend of February 6th and 7th.  The final crescendo to Mardi Gras weekend happens to fall on the same weekend as the Super Bowl, so parade goers on the Northshore get a treat to an exclusive Northshore Mardi Gras Parade on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville, Louisina.

The Krewe of Tcheufuncte Boat Parade will “sail” on Saturday, February 6th at 1pm.  In addition to being a parade

on water on the North Shore, as well as the only Saturday parade on the Northshore, the Krewe of Tchefuncte also has judges available to judge participants in the parade on their boat decorations and costumes.  This year’s theme is Shaken, Not Stirred, and boater participants are expected to dress up and decorate in the theme of James Bond.  There are still available spaces left on the Krewe for $150 for a year’s membership which also includes a krewe T-shire and commemorative martini glass.
On the ground for parade goers and watchers, the Madisonville Community Benefit Organization, a new organization in St. Tammany Parish will be providing food and music on the riverfront of the Tchefuncte before, during, and after the parade.  Participating local restaurants will also be selling their wares and food to parade attendees.  Ironically, the Krewe of Tchefuncte is technically a boat parade, but people who attend will actually walk down the riverfront to the DOCKED boats to receive beads and trinkets thrown from the boat floats.

“I certainly am looking forward to a great time on the riverfront for the Krewe and the parade goers. We are praying for good weather. It’s carnival time and I’m happy to be a part of the Krewe of Tchefuncte,” said Parade Captain, Keith Dennis.

To participate in the boat parade contact Dennis at or call him at 985.264.8886. Co-boat Captain Lynn Haas can also be reached at 985.966.5619.

Click Here to View the Source of the Information.

The Northshore Home Builders Association (HBA) in St. Tammany Parish is once again, in 2016, building a Raffle House for Charity called Raising the Roof for Charity.  A new home is constructed by member of the Home Builders Association of St. Tammany Parish on the North Shore, and then, this home is auctioned off to raise funds for several chosen local charities.  This year’s recipients include Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana, Building a Raffle House for Charitythe Covington Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity-St. Tammany West and the Tammany Trace Foundation.

The new Raffle House is being built by Integrity Builders in Spring Haven Subdivision in Madisonville, Louisiana.  Tickets are sold by members of the Northshore Home Builders Association to colleagues and associates in order to raise funds.  The HBA will be having two early drawings for Raffle House tickets – one on March 19th and one on April 16th.  Winners of these two drawings will receive a $1,500 reward.  The final Raffle House drawing will be held at the new, custom home in Spring Haven on June 4, 2016.  Special events will be held in the months leading up to the Raffle House drawing where opportunities to win a free raffle ticket will be available.

The new, custom home being built by the St. Tammany Parish builder member is a 2,600 square foot home of living space with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths which was designed by DesignTech Residential Planners.  The value of the home is estimated at $422,000.  This open floorplan includes a flowing design throughout the living room, dining, room, and kitchen.  The living room also has a gorgeous fireplace and coffered ceiling.  The kitchen includes an oversized kitchen island with breakfast bar and undermount sink.  Granite countertops, real wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances complete this deluxe kitchen setup.  The master suite features an oversized walk-in closet off of the sumptuous master bath, complete with centered tub with a separate shower flanking.  For outdoor entertainment, this new, custom home has a huge, covered outdoor patio, complete with outdoor kitchen setup.

In addition to the grand prize of the Raffle House being given away to a lucky recipient, there will be other prizes given out on the day of the drawing to winning raffle ticket holders.  The Raffle House is an important part of raising money for local charities as well as rewarding a St. Tammany Parish resident with a new home.  Don’t miss out on your opportunity to view this new, custom home in Madisonville, Louisiana.

Click Here For Information on Raffle Tickets.

Click Here for Information on the Raffle House.

New protections by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) kicked in the first of October, but their effects were not felt until November when delayed closings affected home sales numbers nationwide.  The plunge in new home sales was expected because of the delays that the new system incurred coming out the gate.

The new system for closing new home loans and home loans included a drastic overhaul of the traditional HUD 2-lot-29-willow-bend(Settlement Statement), and this new document, called the CD (Closing Disclosure) had multiple checks and balances throughout the Good Faith Estimate all the way to closing to ensure that home buyers know what every aspect of their home buying process is about.

Despite the expected slowdown in home sales in November, the National Association of Realtors said that solid gains in real estate have been seen throughout the entire year of 2015.

Another factor contributing to an adjustment in home sales numbers is the fact that home values are increasing a rate that is double that of typical wages.  Year-over-year, home values have increased 6.3% in November to $220,300.  The good news is that wages exist with an improving job market and still historically low framing-3interest rates are encouraging buyers and refinancers to get their loans done before there is a significant increase in the interest rate.

Still, builders will have to get busy in 2016 because the real estate market is still showing a gap between availability and inventory for new home buyers.  New home builders can fill this gap with newly constructed homes which will help balance out home prices.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

New jobs in the form of construction work and employee hiring is happening in Mandeville, Louisiana, in St. Tammany Parish.  Florida Marine, LLC, currently located off of the west side service road between Fairway (Judge Tanner) Drive and Hwy. 22, is doubling its commercial construction space from 27,500 square feet to 55,000 square feet and is expected to cost approximately $7.2 million.  The move will bring in 40 new Florida Marine jobs and approximately 180 jobs in construction including contractors and sub-contractors.

As part of the nonprofit business retention program offered by the St. Tammany Parish Economic Development Foundation, Florida Marine has focused on retention and expansion of its business and services over the past 14 3

years in Mandeville, Louisiana.  It purchased the present office building which it is now expanding in 2004.

“We have been very happy in St. Tammany Parish and are pleased to be expanding our offices,” said Dennis A. Pasentine, owner and CEO of Florida Marine.

In addition to the much needed commercial work space that the expansion of new construction will offer, the new campus-style building will also have an outdoor kitchen and courtyard for employee and customer events.  In case of inclement weather, the buildings will be fitted and retrofitted to include backup generators to restore power. The project has been designed by Greenleaf Architects and is being constructed by Kent Design Build.

“We congratulate Florida Marine on their expansion,” Parish President Pat Brister said. “The maritime industry is woven into the fabric of our community, and this growth will provide job opportunities and positive economic impact.”

In addition to the commercial construction of office space in Mandeville, LA, in St. Tammany Parish, Florida Marine is also expanding its shipyard in Harvey.  This West Bank expansion will create 200 additional jobs as well.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

Even though the housing market has been making incredible strides in its recovery since its low in 2008, one of the major obstacles that has been holding the sale of real estate back is the lack of supply for the growing demand of home buyers.  New home buyers especially have been stymied by a lack of inventory from local builders.  Builders themselves have been frustrated by the tightened funding requirements for construction loans from79 Oleander Carriage Style Garage banks and lenders, so there is been a “stalemate” of sorts going on in the new home industry.

However, good news is on the horizon for real estate because single-family home starts have been on the rise and holding steady over most of the months of 2015.  Single-family home startss remained steady from August to September with 740,000 starts nationwide for both months.  Overall, housing starts (including multi-family housing) increased by 6.5% and reached the 1.2 million mark – the highest its been since October, 2007.

From a yearly perspective, quarter-over-quarter, single-family home starts are up 5.7% 3rd quarter from second quarter with a total of 746,000 home starts.  The numbers year-over-year show that single-family home starts are up 11% compared to 2014.

Another strong sign of new home real estate recovering is the number of housing permits for single-family home starts.  The number of permits for single-family homes went up 9.4% year-over-year and also remained unchanged compared to the previous month of August from September, 2015. Trends also show that money of the new home purchases are coming from “contingency sales” where a home buyer has a house to sell and wants to build or buy new which is excellent news for new home builders.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

Real estate professionals have expressed concerns as to the state of the interest rate in today’s housing market because there are rumors that the interest rate is about to be raised by the Federal Reserve (The Fed).  Because of these fears, many homeowners have hurried up to refinance their homes with these historically low interest rates while home buyers have been “coming off the fence” more rapidly than normal to buy a new home.  These worries can be set aside for now as The Fed has decided not to raise interest rates during their last meeting citing a weak global economy, low inflation, and unstable financial markets.

However, there are some aspects to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a new home as soon as possible25-54 Maison du Lac Exterior Rear 1 before interest rates “go back up.”  The first point is that even if interest rates do go up, they are not forecast to go up by much upon raising.  The increase in the interest rate will STILL be lower than any record of interest rate lows in the past.  This means that you will still be able to maximize the amount of money you use to buy your new home with lower interest rates.

The second aspect to consider is that the increase in the interest rate means that the U.S. economy and job market are getting better which means more and better jobs for home buyers interested in buying a home. Waiting until you have the right job and the financial ability to buy a home is a better choice than “squeaking by” to be able to buy a home at a lower interest rate with no stability in your financial future.

Finally, when The Fed does raise interest rates, this is good for investors and employees with retirement accounts because interest rates for these types of savings and money making accounts go up as The Fed raises the interest rate.

Even though The Fed’s decision is to not raise interest rates at this time, interest rates are expected to go up as soon as the end of 2015.  Whether they go up or not, now is the time to take advantage of the incredible financing offers to buy your home while interest rates are low, credit restrictions are easing, and down payment assistance has once more been established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Click Here for the Source of the Information.

Just like summer in Louisiana is hot in July, the housing market nationwide heated up this summer with new home sales activity rising to 507,000 homes sold. The Census Bureau and HUD reported that newly built home 2015 Parade of Homessales rose 5.4% from June and 25.8% from July of last year. New home inventories were reported at 218,000 in July which is the highest level that has been seen in over five years.

This increase was also seen in the private residential construction spending where the highest amount spent was at an annual rate of $387 billion in July. This increase in spending verifies that the construction industry is continuing to experience strong economic growth. Single family homes have pushed construction expansion 15.8% on a year-over-year basis and multifamily new home construction spending is 21.2% higher than it was reported a year ago as well.

Developers, new home builders, and custom home builders are not the only ones that are seeing a positive growth, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports increase in existing home sales. Existing home sales increased in July 0.5% from June and 7.4% from July of last year. Completed transactions were reported at the highest since February 2007, which was the beginning of the downhill slide of the Recession.

Home buyer confidence stems from the strengthening economy overall with increased spending. The Bureau of

Economic Analysis reports that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew to a strong 3.7% rate. These findings were based on several factors including investment, faster growth for consumption, government spending and trade components.

Now is the time for buyers to tap into the housing market. Sales are solid which makes the real estate market a stable vested interest. New home prices are continuing to strengthen making real estate a great investment. Interest rates continue to remain at record lows with the reluctance of the Fed to increase interest rates. The Department of Housing and Urban Development have rolled out new loan products which require a much lower down payment on FHA and some conventional mortgages. Best of all, there is a spectacular new home builder in St. Tammany Parish which builds new, custom home exactly to your specifications and design. These new homes are designed and built to withstand the test of time and elements with energy efficient green building techniques as well as the best, most quality components to ensure the strongest and best built new home in St. Tammany Parish. For More Information, Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail


Click Here for the Source of the Information.




New jobs reports and the falling unemployment rate have brought about a positive economic outlook of many Americans in the U.S. The employment growth is a big reason for both the real estate and housing industries’ latest boom both with new construction homes for sale as well as resale homes for sale. The strong job reports have encouraged many to believe there is not a “double dip” recession looming so many are relieved and feel confident in purchasing a new home. Everything from apartment buildings (multi-family homes) to single-family 79 Oleander Court Front Exteriorhomes are under construction everywhere you turn in the country.

The rise in household formation by millenials as well college grads that have finally been able to get a job has led to new houses being built which has attracted workers in the construction industry. Employment in the field of construction reflects an average of 20% of the jobs that have been recently created. The American Association of General Contractors showed 80% of construction firms planned to hire this year. JOLTS survey showed an increase of 36% in the number of construction job openings year-over-year.

Mark Vintner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities says, “Home building will be one of the economy’s largest upside surprises in 2015.”

This is very good news for those looking for employment in the construction industry. Contractors are desperately seeking those who are skilled in all areas of construction which include part time and full time employees as well as sub-contractors. Vintner points out that overall, nationwide, there is a shortage of skilled construction workers. 028The American Association of General Contractors also reports that 87% of construction firms are having difficulty filling positions. Moody’s Analytics Adam Ozimek believes the shortage is due to lack of wage growth in the construction industry. However with the decline in unemployment, the job market will soon become an “employees’ market” instead of a employers’ market, which should drive up competitive hourly and salary wages. For the construction industry, this should put many out-of-work carpenters, builders, plumbers, electricians, and day laborers back to work with a healthy salary. Ron Lee Homes has been following this construction employment trend in St. Tammany Parish by expanding its services to include remodeling as well as custom home construction. To build your new, custom home today, Contact Us at 985-626-7619 or E-mail


Click Here for the Source of the Information.