Home sales up slightly, realtors cautiously optimistic

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - "For Sale" signs dot yards across South Mississippi, and some have been advertising for some time.  However, in this buyers market it looks like "For Sale" is slowly changing to "Sold."

"This year is up, but again slightly, six percent. So, nothing that would shake the foundations saying, 'Wow we're doing this,' but at the same time, it's a positive trend.  People are coming back into the market," said realtor Gerard Maher.

While the increase is small- about 100 more homes sold in March than February according to the Multiple Listing Service- Maher's office is hoping it's just the beginning.

"The confidence level has definitely been increasing for people thinking that things are turning around," said Maher.

Realtors said sale slumps aren't usually because of a lack of interest in home ownership, but lack of resources to make it happen. Now that the economy is bouncing back, that's less of a problem for potential homeowners.

"It's the American Dream to own a home. You can put off owning a home for a limited time, but eventually you're going to do it," said Maher. "We have historically low interest rates and the prices have come down from 2007. There are so many deals out there."

Realtors aren't the only ones seeing positive trends. The annual Parade of Homes which featured home builders also saw an increase in visitors and prospective builders.

"For the whole coast, that's golden, because with the housing industry, it helps the whole coast in so many ways.  If the economy turns around the housing market will be a big part of that," said Maher.

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