http://www.batonrougerealestateminute.com/ – Baton Rouge Real Estate: Are dead grass lawns common in subdivisions where you are?
Yesterday, I created this video below of a local subdivision named “Comite Hills West” and posted it to my Baton Rouge Real Estate Minute Video blog.
This morning, I woke up to an email question from an appraiser colleague in the Northwest (Washington State), an appraiser I respect and have joked with over the past 3 years (so my reply is slightly in a joking manner as well). He asked,
“Bill……….Are dead grass lawns common in subdivisions where you are, in that subdivision? In your video, the homes look nice and presentable, but the lack of attractive front landscaping is interesting. What’s the ‘back story’ of this area?? It appears that no property has underground sprinklers with automatic timers. And if watered manually, most folks don’t. Is the cost of water really expensive??“
I honestly didn’t know exactly how to reply. Around here, most locals let Winter be Winter. And, in these two photos below, the vegetation doesn’t look totally dead (photos taken in January 2011).
This was my response below:
“I’m really not sure how to answer your question. Around here, we call it Winter. Winter here started early for us, unseasonably cold and lots of rain, I mean lot of it. It’s rained here for the past 2 days and now it’s 26 this morning (wind chill 20), which is really cold in Louisiana. So, there’s no reason to water lawns around here in the winter. Last frost is generally right around Easter and then we’re off to warmer weather and beautiful lawns. Actually, it was T-Shirt weather last Saturday.
Do you live in a golf community up there where all what you’re describing is common? Or, do they plant rye grass up there to make lawns remain green? I guess Washington State is more used to the Winter death of vegetation, but except for the pine trees here, most of our vegetation dies and looks like what you see. And, if we don’t weed-and-feed our lawns and flower beds, the weeds take over. I did weed-and-feed last September.
Now I’m curious! With the exception of California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, where in the U.S. during Winter do lawns and flower beds look beautiful? Isn’t Winter for the purpose of dying off vegetation, kind of like pruning a tree, so that in the Spring they comes back beautiful?
So, the answer is Yes. Around here it’s pretty dreary looking in terms of lawns, from November through mid March. In fact, in February, I’m supposed to put out “Amaze“, a granular fertilizer that helps our lawn and beds come back weed free and earlier.
Comite Hills West is an upper middle class subdivision in the $200K to $350K range, around 34 years old with some newer 11-15 yr old homes as well. The amazing thing about Comite Hills West was that it saw “11” home sales in 2010. Of these 11 sales, 1 was REO, 2 were relocation sales and 1 was a short sale. These “4” sales helped the sold price per sq. ft. dive from $81.24/sf in 2009 down to $76.15/sf in 2010.
The local market has slowed considerably since the Federal Tax Credit Expiration. However, the wealthy here locally HAVE NOT generally been affected and they continue to buy homes on lots in the Garden District for $312K, tear them down and build McMansions with cash. It’s the middle class that’s feeling this downturn the worse.
And, in the Garden District, maybe 1713 Ingleside Dr, 1574 Longwood Dr, and 1279 Longwood Dr are the types of lawns you’d rather see, not so dead in Winter (photos taken in January 2011). But then again, on the same streets are 1165, 1166 and 1914 Ingleside Dr that look dead. I guess around here, most folks just let Winter be Winter. Not really sure.
Thank you for asking.