Many Lake Area Residents Looking To Move To More Spacious, Quieter Areas Ahead Of Expansion
The vast majority of Lake Area residents are encouraged by the thought of the economic expansion the next few years will bring. Residents, from those looking to enter a lucrative career in industrial construction and maintenance to business owners anticipating a huge growth in customer base and sales, are embracing the coming growth in the area.
But not all of them are willing to live in the middle of it.
A quick look at the Homefinder’s Guide website (hfguide.com) reveals that a huge number of properties in (for now) rural areas such as Ragley, northern Moss Bluff and Longville are coming on the market. The reason? There’s a growing demand, say area Realtors, for single-family homes with some acreage, as residents of the Lake Charles area look to move to quieter areas before the expansion begins in full-force, and before skyrocketing property values in outlying areas become too much to handle financially.
“A lot of people are looking for some breathing room,” says Jody Guidry, owner of Guidry Realty Group in Lake Charles, who says that he, himself, is looking to relocate to a home with some acreage. “They’re looking for three- to five-acre properties; they’re looking to get out of the city.”
That trend, says Josh Foster with Exit Realty in DeRidder, has been evident for some time.
“There’s been interest in two- to five-acre tracts, even some 10-acre tracts, in the Ragley and South Beauregard area — the Hwy. 171 corridor — since 2005,” he says. “But there’s been a big increase since the expansion announcements were made. Homes are staying on the market for a shorter period of time since the announcements. People want more space. Things are getting crowded (in Lake Charles).”
“There’s been a big increase in the number of people looking to move to areas such as Moss Bluff and Ragley,” says JoAnn Fisette, with Ingle Safari Realty in Lake Charles. “People are looking for a small-town feel, they’re looking for acreage — for a country feel.”
“People are looking for a small town environment,” agrees Guidry. “And, with the expansion, you’re not going to get that (in Lake Charles). We’re all hearing about the coming traffic congestion in Lake Charles, and you’re already seeing some of that on Nelson Rd.”
The Hot Spots
Of course, Ragley and North Moss Bluff are what most Realtors will mention when asked about “hot spots” for interest in semi-rural living. Longville, DeRidder, even Leesville properties are big listings on Homefinder’s Guide.
Basically, says Guidry, most buyers are looking for homes within 30 minutes of Lake Charles, Sulphur and Westlake — within driving distance to work.
That commuting issue is one of the reasons that the Ragley/Moss Bluff/Longville area is so popular, says Foster.
“Hwy. 171 is a great road to travel,” he says. “(The Ragley area) is a short commute to and from work, and you’ve got a good highway to travel.”
The area, says Foster, offers spacious, country living with access to the shopping, entertainment and job opportunities a growing city has to offer.
The area is also sought after, says Fisette, for its schools.
“Moss Bluff, Ragley and Beauregard Parish have wonderful schools,” she says. “South Beauregard just added middle and elementary school buildings; and they’re already outgrowing their elementary school. The area has a really great school system.”
The area also boasts a new recreational center and park, she says.
“The area is a growing, thriving community,” says Foster. “And people want to be a part of that.”
But that’s hardly the only outlying area in SWLA that’s getting attention from potential home buyers, says Guidry.
“There’s been a lot of interest in areas east of Lake Charles,” Guidry says. “Iowa, Bell City, Lacassine. “Developments like Harper Ranch near Iowa are selling well.”
Guidry also points to areas north of Sulphur, and the Carlyss and Hackberry areas, as popular for buyers who want a place to get away from the congestion and noise of a growing Lake Charles, but still be close enough to work there.
“I get a lot of calls about the Carlyss area,” he says.
Will home buyers continue to be willing to trade a daily commute for some peace and quiet?
Absolutely, according to all three Realtors.
“The trend will definitely continue,” says Fisette.
After all, as the population and traffic continue to swell in Lake Charles, says Guidry, “people will have to go somewhere.”
All three Realtors also see property values in these outlying areas continue to rise.
“It’s a matter of supply and demand,” says Guidry. “Values are going to increase in the next year.”
Thus, Guidry says, those looking to invest in a bit of breathing room should make their move soon.
“The time (to buy) is now,” he says, “before property values go up too much.”