Mississippi real estate markets are seeing slow, but steady, growth. That’s according to real estate agents and experts from Southhaven to Gulfport, who spoke to MPB’s Evelina Burnett.
The National Association of Realtors said yesterday existing-home sales fell in August after four months of growth, possibly in part due to fewer investors paying in cash and a decline in the number of foreclosed properties available.
Overall in northwest Mississippi, the market is up, says Sandra Richardson, president of the Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors and broker/sales manager for Adams Homes in Southaven.
"Overall we've been very fortunate in this area in that the downturn in the market did not affect us like it did some other parts of the country, but we are up over this time last year," she says. However, the inventory is down - it's actually half of what was available this time last year, Richardson says. She says there has been a marked decline in the number of foreclosures too, which has also contributed to the shrinking inventory.
In central Mississippi, the inventory of homes for sale in August was also down almost 14 percent over the same time last year. Shrinking inventory can help push up prices but flatten sales – just what the 10-county central Mississippi region saw in August, when the number of sales fell 14 percent, but prices rose. The median sales price was up 4.6% over August of last year.
Robert Conwill Jr., Multiple Listing Service administrator for Central Mississippi Realtors, says the overall trend is growth, both in sales and price. The number of sales for the year to date is up 1.4%, while the rolling 12-month average for closed sales is up 7.1%. Meanwhile, the median price is up for the year to date 4.1%, and the rolling 12-month average is up 4.6%.
"The number of sales and our median and average price have both been trending upward," Conwill says. "Not huge double-digit percentage points, but it's been a relatively healthy clip."
On the Gulf Coast, the number of homes sold in August was up 2.5%, but the average price was down 2.5%. But Joe Rogers, executive director of the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors, says the average price this year so far of $130,833 is above last year’s average sale price, which was $127,897.
"After Katrina you had 20% to 30% overnight increase in value, which we lost over the last few years," he says. "A slow consistent growth is better than an overnight one because it's more stable, and I think over time we're going to gradually see this, which is a positive sign for the area."
Nationally, existing-home prices are up about 5 percent.