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Northern Louisiana a hot market

The real estate market of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, is seeing healthy growth.

The real estate market of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, is seeing healthy growth.

Northern Louisiana is not likely to show up on high-profile lists of hot places to live, but if its healthy housing market is any indication, there are plenty of reasons to move to the area.

A July 10 artice in the local Monroe News Star cited a number of recent reports to quantify the area's strong housing market. The Federal Housing Finance Agency named the metro area around the Ouachita Parish seat of Monroe the second best in the nation for home prices, while Housing Predictor said prices should go up another 2.1 percent this year. Year-over-year house prices were up 7.6 percent for the first two quarters of the year, said Kevin Bayles, president of a local realtor association. For the first quarter of 2011, Local Market Monitor put Ouachita Parish at number five on its list of the top real estate markets for population centers with 600,000 residents or less.

Bayles was also excited at the prospect of relocations stemming from a hiring initiative at CenturyLink's world headquarters in Monroe. The third-largest telecommunications company in the United States, CenturyLink said it will add nearly 1,150 jobs in the region by 2016.

Thanks to its April acquisition of Qwest, CenturyLink will also be a major player in Denver, Colorado, another hot real estate market at the moment.