Coast home prices in steep decline

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The National Association of Realtors has released a report that shows a sharp drop in home prices in the Gulfport-Biloxi area which includes Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties.

It's bad news for sellers, but it's good news for buyers. The report by the National Association of Realtors reveals some shocking numbers.

According to the report, home prices in the first quarter of 2011 plummeted, in this market nearly 23 percent relative to the same period in 2010.

"In my 37 years of being in business on the coast, I've never seen such a buyer's market. Prices are dropping in residential, commercial and land," said realtor Mark Cumbest.

In our market the median single family home price fell from an average of $128,000 to $99,400.

Mark Cumbest has this advice for homeowners who are selling in this current environment.

"You need to price your property competitively, because there's a lot of competition in our market," Cumbest said.

Analysts point to a large number of foreclosures as a driving force behind the overall drop in value.

The National Association of Realtors points out home prices have dropped dramatically in 118 of the 153 markets they monitor.

Cumbest hopes the housing bust has bottomed out.

"There are signs that it is bottoming out due to the number of sales. They're constant. There is a huge absorption of a lot of properties a low prices. Hopefully it has bottomed out, but it's anyone's guess at this point." Cumbest said.

Realty Trac, which reports foreclosures nationwide, shows Mississippi's overall rate is relatively low compared with most states.

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