D'Iberville opens thousands of new apartment units

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi's housing recovery is gaining momentum. D'Iberville is one of many cities seeing exponential growth. Hundreds of new apartment units are being rented and even more are in the works.

However, several of those units are empty, leaving many to wonder if D'Iberville has too much of a good thing?

"I think there is a need for housing throughout the Gulf Coast. We know that the state of our economy right now isn't so great, but the economy on the Gulf Coast is still going fairly strong," said D'Iberville City Manager Richard Rose.

WLOX spotted at least four new apartment complexes in D'Iberville. In fact, there are 1,450 new apartment units in the city and plans for 1,500 more, even with the current state of the economy.

"Yes, there's been some downturns," Rose said. "Construction has slowed, as we've seen, but in D'Iberville we are very fortunate that these developers are still wanting to build these apartment units."

But some say more rental units are not needed on the coast, at least not right now.

"The market is grossly overbuilt," said Craig Bounds, president of Sunstates Management.

His company owns several communities throughout the Southeast. But no matter how nice, or new the unit is, Bounds said apartments aren't renting.

"Typically you shoot for 95 percent occupancy in a good market. And that's a market that's in balance, where supply meets demand. Lately, the market ranges anywhere from 75 percent to 90 percent, depending on the area of the coast," Bounds said.

He believes the problem is basic economics.

"I think it's primarily government intervention in the supply and demand equation," Bounds said. "Many of these developers are building for tax incentives and not building to suit the demand."

However, leaders in D'Iberville believe that with new businesses and more job opportunities on the way, rental units in the city won't be empty for long.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.