Lafayette Parish Market Update!

Takeaways:

•The market is rebounding after the initial slow down

•The number of new pending sales is similar to pre-pandemic numbers

•New closed sales are still down, but this should change in the weeks to come

•The median sales price is improving year over year

•Year to date, we have more sales than this time last year

LAFAYETTE PARISH MARKET ANALYSIS UPDATE

LAFAYETTE PARISH MARKET ANALYSIS UPDATE

February 6, 2020:

An updated look at the Lafayette Parish Market indicates the market is still stable; however, slight changes are being observed.

Was January a busy month for you?  Based on the number of properties sold, it most likely was for Realtors and Lenders in the Lafayette Parish Market.  Sales in Lafayette Parish for the month of January are up BIG TIME from last year.  In fact, there were more sales in January 2020 than there have been in the month of January for the last 10 years. 

Last month, I took an in-depth look at the overall market trends for Lafayette Parish.  The overall market was considered stable; however, there were some favorable statistics.  This month continues the favorable trend.

  • The number of sales in January 2020 increased by 73% in comparison to January 2019.
  • The sales volume was 91% higher this January as compared to January 2019.
  • Year over year trends continues to see favorable changes.

If you’re interested in some of the details and data, take a look below.

Monthly Data for January:

The chart below shows how the market was performing for January 2019 vs. January 2020.  In this chart, the median sales price, average sales price, and average price per square foot all have favorable statistics.  The median and average sold price is actually indicating that sales prices increased by a significant amount this January as compared to last January.  Average prices can be affected by outliers such as a couple of $1 million+ properties, so the median sales price is often a better indicator. 

Monthly Data (January)

Year to Date Sales Volume (Jan 1 – Feb 6):

In the chart below, you can see 2020 has a much higher sales volume than in previous years.  In fact, sales volume is up 91% from last year.  For both 2019 and 2018, there was a decrease in sales volume from the previous year.  Interest rates could have something to do with this.  For November 2018, the 30-year interest rate was (4.94%) the highest that they had been since February 2011 (5.05%). Since then, there has been a steady decline in interest rates. In January 2020, interest rates were mostly between 3.50% and 3.75%.  This is making homes more affordable for consumers. 

Sales Volume (year to date)

The chart below shows the number of sales in the area. Again, in January 2020, there were more sales than in the previous 10 years for the month of January.  There was a 73% increase in the number of sales for 2020 as compared to 2019.  Again, this is a favorable indicator for the market area.

Number of Sales (year to date)

Trending 12 Months Sales Volume (Ending on 1/31/2020):

In last month’s market update, the trending 12 months statistics were all favorable.  The trend continues this month.  In fact, the median sales price, average sales price, and the average price per square foot are all up from last month’s analysis.  Although the analysis is indicating values are stable, the statistics continue to move in a favorable direction.  This is good for sellers who are trying to sell their homes because it is taking less time to sell their homes and the sales prices are increasing.

Rolling 12 month Trend

Conclusion:

So far it has been a strong start in the real estate market for 2020.  The trend is expected to continue in the near future.  At the end of January 2020, there were 307 pending properties in Lafayette Parish.  This is a 16.7% increase from January 2019 that had 263 pending properties.  With interest rates at a three year low, it is reasonable to expect this trend to continue for the first quarter of 2020.

If you have any appraisal related questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. 337-254-2215 or Lduple4@gmail.com

I hope everyone enjoys the Mardi Gras festivities over the next few weeks.  Until next month, laissez les bons temps rouler!!!

Data Source:  MLS, detached single-family homes sold in Lafayette Parish

Daily, Weekly, and Yearly Trends for Lafayette Parish

TAKEAWAYS:

•The market is rebounding after the initial slow down from Covid19

•The number of new pending sales continue to rise on a weekly basis.  They are now higher than pre-pandemic numbers

•New closed sales are still down (especially for the month of May compared to years past), but this should change in the weeks to come

•Sales (Count and Volume) for the year are in line with the prior two years

•The median sales price is improving year over year and year to date

•The median sales price for May 2020 vs. May 2019 is stable

*Only includes detached single-family homes

Daily Trends in Lafayette Parish

Published 3/30/2020

  • New and pending listings are starting to decline
  • The number of canceled listings has increased slightly
  • The number of closed sales is stable; however, this is expected since it typically takes 30-45 days for a property to close after it has gone under contract

Covid-19 has caused a lot of disruptions in the Acadiana market area.  Lots of individuals have lost their jobs due to businesses having to temporarily shut their doors.  Other individuals who have not lost their job are being told to work from home.  Interest rates have been jumping up and down over the last couple of weeks, and the price of oil had dropped to its lowest price in two decades.  There is lots of uncertainty in the air.  With all of this going on, how has the real estate market been affected over the past 4-8 weeks? Let’s take a look at the daily trends over the last two months in Lafayette Parish.

With people losing their jobs, oil prices decreasing, interest rates fluctuating, and a global pandemic, what has been the effect on the single-family housing market area in Lafayette Parish?   Let’s look at the daily trends in Lafayette Parish in several charts that track new listings, closed sales, pending listings, withdrawn listings, and canceled listings over the last two months.  Two dates are highlighted in each chart, March 12th and March 23rd.  The date of 03/12/2020 is the day that most major sports put their seasons on hold.  In my opinion, this is the day where coverage of the coronavirus really took off. The next date, 03/23/2020, is the day that Governor Edwards announced that the state of Louisiana would have a stay in place order effective the next day at 5:00 pm.  The charts show the daily figures for the metrics below.

Daily New Listings:

The first chart shows the number of new listings on a daily basis for the last two months.

The chart is showing that there has been a slowdown in new listings.  The peak for new listings in the last two months was on 2/26/2020; however, there has been a downward trend since then.  In fact, over the past seven days, there have been only 49 new listings. This is a 36% decrease from the prior week of 76 new listings and a 47% decrease from the week before that of 92 new listings.  There is an obvious decline in new listings over the past week which is when the governor’s order was announced.

Daily Pending Listings:

The chart below shows the number of new pending listings on a daily basis for the last two months.

This chart shows an obvious decline in the number of pending listings as well.  In the weeks prior to the day when most of the major sporting events got suspended, there were several spikes in pending listings.  We have not seen spikes like those since the media coverage has increased for Covid-19.

Daily Withdrawn Listings:

The chart below shows the number of withdrawn listings on a daily basis for the last two months.

This metric has been relatively stable over this time period.  On 03/09/2020, there was a spike; however, this only amounted to three withdrawn listings in one day. 

Daily Canceled Listings:

The chart below shows the number of canceled listings on a daily basis for the last two months.

This chart shows a slight increase in canceled listings over this time period.  It is not a significant increase in canceled listings, but it is something that we need to keep an eye on.

Daily Closed Sales:

The chart below shows the number of closed sales on a daily basis for the last two months.

The chart is showing that there has not been much of a change in the number of closed sales over this time period, which is expected.  It takes approximately 30-45 days for a sale to close after it goes under contract.  So while we started to see an impact on the number of new listings, new pending listings, and canceled listings approximately 30 days ago, we probably won’t see a change in the number of closed sales for another week or two. 

Another metric that will be worth keeping an eye on in the future is the sales to list price ratio.  With fewer potential buyers out there due to people losing their jobs, oil prices dropping, and the uncertainty with the coronavirus, we need to watch to see how much properties are selling for versus what they were listed for.  This could be an indicator of a declining market if the ratio starts to decrease.

Conclusion:

I will continue to watch the daily trends in Lafayette Parish as time goes on.  With all that is happening, it would not be a big surprise to see things slow down even more.  It is still very early on, so it is important to keep a close watch to see which way the market is moving.  As time goes on and more data comes in, I will start observing the market on a weekly basis.  Most professionals in the Lafayette market area would have told you that the market was HOT 30 days ago.  Now, things have slowed down due to a number of different reasons.  I’m interested to hear what you have to say.  What are your thoughts on the Lafayette real estate market?  Realtors and Mortgage Lenders, have you seen a slowdown?  Buyers and sellers, are you more hesitant to take action right now? 

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at Lduple4@gmail.com

*A daily hot sheet was run in the Realtors Association of Acadiana Multiple Listings Search.  The daily hot sheet tracked the number of new listings, new pending listings, new withdrawn listings, new canceled listings, and closed sales on a daily basis from 01/27/2020 to 03/29/2020.

EXTERNAL INFLUENCES IN AN APPRAISAL

A positive external influence in Lafayette Parish is having a property with water frontage.
A positive external influence in Lafayette Parish is having a property with water frontage.

Typically when homeowners talk about the characteristics that affect the value of their home, they are referring to the physical features of the home. Such features include counters, cabinets, flooring, total living area, etc.  While all of these items do affect the value of a home, there are also external influences that can affect value.

POSITIVE INFLUENCES

There can be positive external influences as well as negative external influences, and both types can affect the value of a property.  Favorable external influences can include a view of the mountains, river, ocean, bay, or skyline.  Buyers in some markets are willing to pay more (sometimes much more) for favorable views.  The view could also consist of unfavorable external influences such as a junkyard or commercial properties.

External Obsolescence

When the external influence is negative, it is called external obsolescence.  External obsolescence (defined by Appraising Residential Properties Fourth Edition on pg. 279) “is an element of depreciation, a defect, usually, incurable caused by negative influences outside a site and generally incurable on the part of the owner, landlord, or tenant.”   So, for example, a location on a busy road or having a view of commercial properties could actually have a negative impact on the value of a residential property. 

EFFECTS ON VALUE

The question during an appraisal becomes how much do external influences affect the value of the property.  The answer is it depends. Not every market is the same.  A buyer looking for water frontage property in River Ranch, which is in the middle of Lafayette Parish, is probably willing to pay much more for a view of the river than someone in Vermilion Parish would be willing to pay. Therefore, the adjustment for a water view or location would be different in these areas.  External features affect specific markets differently. 

To determine how much an external factor has on the value of a property, the appraiser must study the market.  An appraiser will report how buyers and sellers in a specific market are reacting to certain features.  It is extremely important to know how the external factors influence the value of your property.  If a property is overpriced when it goes up for sale, you run the risk of scaring potential buyers off. If you price your home too low, then you risk not making your maximum profit on your home. 

CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL

External influences can significantly complex the valuation of your property.  It is important that you find a qualified expert to help solve your valuation needs.  At Duplechin Appraisals, we are trained to complete complex assignments in Lafayette Parish, as well as most of the Acadiana Parishes.  If we can be of assistance in the future, please reach out to us at 337.254.2215 or lduple4@gmail.com.  

Lafayette Increases its Number of College-Educated People

Although Lafayette is losing some of its local college graduates to out of state employers, the city is also attracting college graduates from other metropolitan areas in the state.

Check out the Acadiana Advocates article on this topic below: https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/business/article_d08198f8-42d9-11ea-9d6f-0b7fb5244e1e.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebookacadiana&utm_campaign=snd

LAFAYETTE PARISH MARKET UPDATE

LAFAYETTE PARISH MARKET UPDATE

January 12, 2020

An updated look at the Lafayette Parish market indicates the market is still stable; however, slight changes are being observed.

In November, I last took an in-depth look at the overall market trends for the Parish.  The overall market at that time was indicating relatively stable trends.  A couple of months later, we still see stability, but some metrics are indicating some minimal improvements.

  • Sales prices in December 2019 similar to those in December 2018, but the number of closed sales increased by 6% and the days on the market decreased by almost 11 days
  • Very minimal, but positive, movement in overall sale prices for the year of 2019 as compared to the year of 2018
  • During 2019, some pickup in sales prices for homes priced in the $300 thousands while other price ranges remained relatively the same
  • 2020 is showing a good start for the year.  Sales prices and the number of sales are up quite a bit as compared to what was seen in 2019.

December 2019:

The first chart shows how the market was performing for December 2018 vs. December 2019.  The median sales price rose by 4.7%, while the average sales price declined by 3.4%.  The statistics differ because the average is affected by outliers, while the median is not.  So, in this data set, the lower-priced outliers are affecting the average sales price. 

The number of closed sales and the days on the market have both had favorable changes.  The number of closed sales increased by almost 6% in December 2018.  The chart is showing that there was a negative change in the days on the market, the fewer days on the market the better in real estate. 

December 2019 statistics are mostly improved from December 2018 in Lafayette Parish

Year over Year:

The next chart shows the year over year trends for Lafayette Parish Market.  The market is still considered stable because the changes in the median sales price, average sales price, and average price per square foot all have minimal change. The change is not enough to classify the market as increasing.  Although most of the statistics are indicating a stable market, they are still moving in a favorable direction. 

The only statistic that is showing an unfavorable result is the months of housing supply.  The months of housing supply represents how long it will take to sell properties that are currently active.  The number of active listings is growing faster than the number of houses that are being sold.

Lafayette Parish Market Values are stable at this time.

Percentage of Sales by Price:

Below is an interesting chart that shows the percentage of sales by price range over the past few years. What stands out here is that the majority of properties that are being sold have a sales price from $100,000 to $300,000.  Also, properties that have sold from $300,000 to $1,000,000 have had an increasing portion of the market share in the past couple of years.  As you can see, the number of sales of $1,000,000+ homes is so small that it does not even register on the chart. 

Pie Chart

The pie chart below shows similar information as the chart above, but instead of showing the data as percentages, it shows the total number of sales in each price range for 2019. The largest price ranges are $100,000-$300,000 (75.04%). As you can see, the higher end price range takes up a small percentage of the total market.

Majority of properties have a sales price between $100k and $300k.
Approximately 75% of homes had a sales price between $100k to $300k.

Percentage of Sales by Age Range:

This next chart shows the percentage of homes in each age range. The age ranges are the ones used in  MLS.  What’s interesting here is that New Construction and 1 -3-year-old homes decreased from 2017 to 2019 in the Lafayette Parish Market.   New construction has slowed down slightly over this time, which is consistent with the number of permits pulled over this time period.  Although the percentage of sales decreased during this time period, they still take up the largest percentage of sales over this time.

New construction sales have slowed down over the past couple of years in Lafayette Parish.

Percentage of Sales by Square Foot:

This next chart shows the percentage of sales for homes grouped by the living area square footage.  As you can see from the chart, homes sold in Lafayette Parish are typically between 1,200 sqft and 2,000 sqft.  The chart also shows that after 1,600 sqft, the larger the living area of the home, the less of a percentage it takes up in the market place.  While there are plenty of homes that have over 2,800 square feet of living area, the number is minimal when compared to the rest of the market.  This is why the chart shows homes with 2,800 square feet as having 0.0% of the sales.

The majority of homes in Lafayette Parish Market have a living area between 1,200 sqft to 2,000 sqft.

2020 So Far…

The next chart is showing year to date sales.  Although there is a limited amount of time in this analysis because we just started the New Year, it is still interesting to look at.  Does anything stand out in the chart below?

I noticed a huge increase in the average sales price (62.9%), with only a 5.5% increase in the median sales price.  Could this be right?  Well looking at the data a little more closely, this year in Lafayette Parish there has been a sale for $1,408,486 and one for $2,900,000.  Last year the highest sales price in the first 8 days of the year was only $479,000.  This illustrates a little more clearly how outliers affect averages, while typically, they do not affect the median. 

The high sales have also affected the average price per square foot in 2019.  It shows that there has been a 23.4% increase in using this metric. 

Another positive factor is that the number of closed sales has continued to increase from this time last year, which was also true for the previous month. 

Lafayette Parish Market year to date statistics show that 2020 is off to a better start than 2019.

I hope that this analysis was informative for how the overall Lafayette Parish is performing. Hopefully, you have a more in-depth view of how the market is performing going into this New Year.   I would like to hear your thoughts about the Lafayette Parish Market.

Remember that this analysis includes all sales in Lafayette Parish Market.  If you are in the market to sell or purchase a home, it is important to look and see how your specific sub-market is performing.  If I can be of assistance to you in the future for any real estate appraisal needs, please do not hesitate to contact me at 337.254.2215 or Lduple4@gmail.com.

Data Source:  MLS, detached single-family homes sold in Lafayette Parish

Lafayette Market Analysis

Here is my monthly Lafayette market analysis update for October 2019. The purpose of this article is to describe how the overall Lafayette Parish real estate market is performing.

When I am working on an appraisal, I typically do a thorough market analysis for each market segment on every property.  This analysis represents how competitive sales in the market are performing over time.  However, it is also necessary to know how the larger market is performing.  The larger market that I am referring to is the Parish that each property is located in.   For this article, I will analyze sales for Lafayette Parish.  The data analyzed is strictly from the Realtors Association of Acadiana Multiple Listing Service (RAA-MLS).  Most “For Sale By Owner” Sales or Sheriff Sales are not included in the analysis. 

I have sought out the advice from other appraisers locally and nationally to develop the charts and graphs for the Lafayette market analysis in this report.  For the analysis, a series of charts and graphs are included with a brief explanation.

Year over Year statistics:

The chart above shows the year over year statistics for several metrics.  There is a subtle change in the metrics used in this chart.  The median sales price is indicating less than a 1% decrease in prices, while the average sales price has increased by 1%.  Additionally, the average price per square foot has only decreased by 0.1%.  I typically do not classify the market as changing, whether that be increasing or decreasing, unless the change is more than 3%.  The reason that I have a margin of error of 3% is that each buyer and seller has slightly different motivations in each transaction.  A house could be listed for sale for $200,000.  One buyer may be willing to pay full price for the house, while the next buyer may only pay $195,000.  Each willing participant has their own motivation; therefore, I only determine the market as increasing or decreasing after the change is greater than 3%.

The months of housing supply has also increased over this time period by 10.2%.  This is primarily because the active number of listings has been steadily increasing, as will be shown later.  Also, the number of closed sales and the absorption rate has increased by 21.2%.  This is a positive factor in the market because it shows that more homes have been purchased.  Lastly, the days on market has increased slightly, but only be 2.2%, or two days.

Year to Date Statistics:

The chart above is similar to the year over year chart; however, it is showing the statistics for the year to date sales.  So, it is showing the statistics for each year as of January 1 until the end of October.  As you can see, the year to date statistics is very similar to the year over year statistics.  Most of the metrics are within the 3% margin of error; therefore, the metrics are indicating that property values in Lafayette Parish are stable.  One area where change is occurring is in the months of supply. Last year there were 3.88 months of supply, while this year, there is 4.28 months of supply.  This is a 10.2% increase.  As you will see later on, this is due to the rising number of active listings in the market over the past few years.

Monthly Data:

This chart is showing a comparison between sales from October 2018 versus October 2019.  The median sales price and the average sales price are in sync with the year over year statistics.  However, the average price per square foot has changed by 2.2%.  While this is still within the 3% margin of error, it is more change than in the year over year statistics.  It is worth keeping an eye on in the coming months to see if it continually increases.

The chart above tracts the median sales prices and the average sales prices in Lafayette during the month of October over the past few years.  As you can see, the median sales price has declined over the past two years, while the average sales price has gone up.  The average sales price could be affected by higher-end homes in the area that is driving the average price up.  The median sales price is less affected by extremely high or low sales; therefore, it is different from the average sales price.

Scatter Plot:

The chart above shows a scatter plot for all sales in Lafayette Parish over the past four years.  The y-axis has been decreased to only show the sales under $1,000,000 to show the trend line better.  The trend line shows a very slight uptick in values.  However, the change is very small, and it is essentially flat.  Lafayette Parish sales have been stable for several years now.

Price Metrics:

The chart above trends the median sales price, the average sales price, and the average price per square foot over time.  This graph confirms the previous charts and graphs that values are mostly stable over time.  There is, however, a recent uptick over the past 6 months.  I will continue to analyze this over the coming months to see if values continue to rise or if they stay in line with the historical ranges.

Market Inventory:

The chart above shows the number of active listings, sold listings, and months of inventory over time.  The blue line represents the active listings, which has been steadily increasing over the last three years.  Because of this increase, the months of inventory (as shown in the year over year statistics) has also increased.  The number of sold properties has been fairly stable for the past eight months.  The chart shows that there was a slow down last year, starting around August and lasting until March.  This is when interest rates rose.  They have since gone down, and the number of sales has increased since.  Although this chart does not show the months of inventory too well, the one below shows how the months of housing supply has changed over time.  Currently, there are slightly over 4 months of inventory.  As you can see, during winter months over the past two years, the months of inventory has risen due to less activity in the market.

Conclusion:

Based on the metrics included in this analysis, values are stable in Lafayette Parish.  There is some change, as is expected in real estate; however, the change is within a 3% margin of error.  Recently, there has been an uptick in sales prices, but active listings also continue to increase.  It will be interesting to see how prices continue to change in the future. 

Next time I hope to include additional graphs to give more insight into how the market is performing.  Again, this market analysis is showing all properties in Lafayette Parish. It is important to know how your specific market segment is performing when you are considering purchasing or selling a home.  If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me (c. 337.254.2215, email: Lduple4@gmail.com)

I hope that this was insightful, and I look forward to the next Lafayette market analysis update in December. If you are interested in other articles that I have written, you can check them out at www.acadianaappraisals.com or on my Linkedin page.

Living Area for Single-Family Homes

Determining the living area of a home can be somewhat challenging in real estate.  Currently, there is not one nationally-recognized standard for measurement that every appraiser must follow.   This can create challenges when measuring a home to list for sale, or when measuring for the appraisal after the home has a contract on it.  While there is not a single set of rules that every appraiser must follow, one standard that is widely known and used is the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Additionally, Fannie Mae and FHA each have specific guidelines that appraisers are required to follow for loans that go through those agencies.

While there is no one standard that appraisers must follow when it comes to measuring single-family homes, there is one standard that is well know; the American National Institute (ANSI).

ANSI

ANSI has several guidelines for what is considered living area and what is not.  One area that these guidelines cover is ceiling height, which often creates confusion when it comes to calculating gross living area.  ANSI says that any part of a room that has less than 5 feet from the floor to the ceiling is NOT included in the living area.  It also says that for a room to be included in the gross living area, at least half of the space in the room must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet.  This is important when measuring homes that have a second or third level.  There are instances where the ceiling can be sloped in some areas with a height of less than 5 feet.  It is important that the correct measurements are taken so that an accurate gross living area can be calculated.  Ceiling height can also be an issue in A-frame houses.  Since the exterior walls have a slope all the way (or almost all the way) to the ground level, appraisers must be careful when measuring A-frame homes. 

The following is an illustration from the ANSI standards to help clarify which areas can be included in the GLA. (Figure 4 from The American National Standard For Single-Family Residential Buildings)

Another area that ANSI guidelines covers is the stairway.  ANSI says that, “the area of both stair treads and landings proceeding to the floor below is included in the finished area of the floor from which the stairs descend, not to exceed the area of the opening in the floor.”  This means that if you have a home with a second level, the stairs are included in the gross living area of the second floor as long as the area of the stairs does not exceed the opening above.  ANSI also goes on to say that, “areas beneath stairs are included in the finished square footage regardless of the distance between the stairs and the floor below or of the degree of finish of that area.”  Although the area beneath the stairs may be less than five feet, ANSI says that it is included in the square footage of the space below the stairs.

FHA

If a loan is insured by FHA, appraisers must comply with their standards.  One of these standards specifies how living area is measured.  According to the FHA guidelines, the gross living area (GLA) is defined as “the total area of finished, above-grade residential space calculated by measuring the outside perimeter of the structure. It includes only finished, habitable, above-grade living space.”  FHA also says that the appraiser must:

  • identify non-contiguous living area and analyze its effect on functional utility;
  • ensure that finished basements and unfinished attic areas are not included in the total GLA; and
  • use the same measurement techniques for the subject and comparable sales, and report the building dimensions in a consistent manner.

According to FHA, it is important that only above-grade finished areas are included in the GLA.  Also, finished areas not accessible directly from the main dwelling are not to be included in the GLA; i.e., a bonus room above the garage that can only be accessed through the garage.  While basements are not typically part of homes in South Louisiana, it is important for appraisers in other areas of the country to be aware of this guideline. 

FHA also talks about “Additions and Converted Spaces.”  For additions or converted space to be considered living area, it must be:

  • accessible from the interior of the main dwelling in a functional manner;
  • has a permanent and sufficient heat source; and
  • was built in keeping with the design, appeal, and quality of construction of the main dwelling.

It is important that the addition or conversion meet all three requirements.  If any one requirement is missing, then it is not considered part of the living area.  For example, an attic above a garage that is finished as the rest of the dwelling is not part of the gross living area if you must walk through the garage to access the conversion.  For these such additions or conversions that do not meet the criteria, the appraiser must analyze the effects of the area and account for it in the appraisal.

Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae also has their own guidelines on what constitutes living area.  Their guidelines state that when calculating living area, appraisers must use exterior building measurements per floor for above-grade areas.  They also state that living area includes only finished areas that are above grade.  Areas that are finished, but not included as living area, must be considered by the appraiser by analyzing the market to determine its effect on value.

In addition to these guidelines, there are many more rules for calculating the living square footage of residential properties.  To get the most accurate measurement of your home, be sure to contact a qualified appraiser who is knowledgeable of the rules and guidelines that must be followed.  If I can assist you in your measurements, you can contact me by email at Lduple4@gmail.com or on my phone at 337.254.2215.