South Mississippi housing market getting better

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some encouraging numbers are out regarding the real estate market on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ray Gonzales with Century 21 said the sale of exiting homes on the coast has jumped 9.6 percent so far this year, compared to last.

Gonzales also told us the number of cash sales just might shock you.

"45.2 percent of all closed transactions, year to date, are cash sales," Gonzales said.

He said it's mostly retirees and investors trying to get in on the bargain basement prices. But the fact investors are buying speaks volumes about the recovery of the real estate market here.

"Because they see the coast as a prime place to invest. Because they know we are on the upswing before anybody else does and the numbers are there," Gonzales said.

Another encouraging sign is that short sales and foreclosures are down.

It would also appear that Ocean Springs is becoming an even more attractive area to buyers. For only the second time since 1992, Ocean Springs is number one when it comes to sales volume year to date.

"People like Ocean Springs," Gonzales told us. "It is artsy, you have the old time feeling, it is just a good place for people to live."

On the negative side, new home sales are still slow, and condo sales are also down. Gonzales thinks it will be another year before that market starts to rebound.

But the bottom line is, the real estate market is much better here, than much of the country. And, according to Gonzalez, the comeback has only just begun.

"I am optimistic about the way things are going," he said.

He thinks the only thing that could derail our real estate comeback is a natural or man made disaster.

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