Home Prices On The Rise In Mississippi
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Home prices are on the rise in Mississippi, and, as MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, the real estate industry is hoping for an even stronger 2015.

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Nearly 5,000 homes sold in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties last year, which is the largest real estate market in Mississippi. That’s down a tad, less than 1 percent, from the year before, but the average sales price is up almost 6 percent. Carol Stewart is this year's president of the Central Mississippi Realtors association.

"The National Association of Realtors says home sellers have gained about 25 percent in value in their homes over the last three years. That's really good," she says. "And we are expecting great things in 2015."

Stewart says national and state estimates put new construction growth at around 30 percent this year. Also, interest rates are low and there are now FHA and conventional mortgages requiring just 3 percent down-payments.

"That is going to help first-time homebuyers," she says. "That's who we're hoping to see more of, and who's been missing in the market in the past."

On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the average home price in 2014 was higher than it’s been in five years. It’s also higher than in 2004, pre-Katrina, when the average price was about $129,000 dollars, says Joe Rogers, executive director of the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors.

"2014 - it is above that at $134,000, so we've made a lot of ground since then," Rogers says. "And we still look where we would have been after the market started to come down around 2010. So we've made some ground."

The average sales price on the coast in 2014 was up 5 percent from the year before. The number of sales was also up, 6 percent.