Parish ranked high in homes list

Published 2:44 am Saturday, January 30, 2016, a financial data website, just announced something that’s probably not news to anyone here: Washington Parish is a great place to buy a home.

In fact, out of all the parishes in Louisiana, Washington Parish comes in at No. 8, behind Franklin Parish.

Smartasset bases its ranking on whether it makes better financial sense to rent or buy. In Washington Parish, the smart money’s on buying. According to their analysis, the average monthly mortgage payment in this parish is $371 and the average month of rent costs $838.

A. J. Smith, the vice-president of content strategy and managing editor of, said her company has an online tool where potential homebuyers can figure out whether owning a home makes financial sense in any neighborhood in the U.S. Factors include things like income, but also whether the potential buyer plans to live in the community for a longer commitment.

Taken together, these factors are contrasted with the “break-even point,” the point after which a home becomes a better investment than renting. In Washington Parish, that point is after 2.3 years.

“We’re a financial tech company, and what we do is help people answer big financial questions,” she explained. “How much home do I have to afford, how much do I need to save for retirement and things like that.”

Smith said her data is from 2014, so she believes it’s reliable.

Realtor David Holloway said numbers like these are important to potential home buyers.

“When you get pre approved for a loan, the give you get two numbers, what your principal interest is going to be and they calculate your taxes and insurance on top of that, and that’s your total monthly payment,” he said. “So, if you only qualify for 150,000 all told, you’ll get less house in St. Tammany than in Washington Parish because the costs are much different.”

Holloway is the past president of the Northshore Area Board of Realtors, a group that includes Washington Parish real estate agents and tracks things like the cost of homes across parishes. Holloway sells houses in Washington Parish, and he said he’s known people who have bought homes in this parish with the intention of commuting to work in St. Tammany Parish because houses are cheaper here.

However, Holloway said he hasn’t kept close track of the housing data over the past year, but he did see some potential good news for current homeowners in the parish as recently as 2014.

“When I was following the trends, Washington Parish was having a higher increase in average sale properties signaling that the market was coming back,” he said.

In other words, real estate in this parish might be on an upswing, meaning it might be tougher for first-time homebuyers.

Of course, Smith said there are a few other considerations before buying a home.

“Do you have the money for a down payment or closing costs,” she said. “Or how long will you be in the area?”

But, she hopes the website will be a good tool for anyone who might be moving to the area, and she said Washington Parish could benefit when the website directs potential homebuyers to this parish over some neighboring parishes.

“We hope it helps people make decisions that will impact their lives greatly,” she said.
Smith said the average home in Washington Parish is valued at $91,481, while Louisiana averages $108,458 for a home.

To check out’s home buying vs. renting calculator, visit their website,