Coast housing market is making gains

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Just like the rest of the country, the coast's housing market declined when the recession hit.

Now there are signs that things may be looking up once again.  New homes are going up, and existing ones are now selling.

To see a new home rise up; you need saws, hammers, and a lot of hard work. But that's the sound of an industry on the rebound. Builders are, once again, doing what they do best.

"Our material costs have maintained, our lot costs are down a little bit so now we can actually afford to build speculative house because all the costs are lining up to where now you're building a home that actually appraises for what it needs to appraise for to sell," explained Randy Bosarge.

Existing homes are moving, as well. Jennifer Larson is a coast realtor.

"It's actually up from last year and I think our average price is also up as far as being a seller's market," Larson said.

There are many reasons why the coast's housing market is seeing an uptick. Interest rates remain relatively low, and the cost of construction has stabilized. But perhaps the most important reason has to do with your bank.

"The banks have loosened up. They have realized they finally had to lend money to stay in business. And we see a lot of entry level buyers able to buy homes again," explained contractor Marques Thomas.

According to Bosarge, something has leveled the construction playing field.

"During the down times, we were flooded with the foreclosures and it's kind of hard to compete against that when you're building a new home versus a two year old home that's been foreclosed on that sold for quarters on the dollars," explained Bosarge.

But Larson said perhaps the biggest change is the way people feel about buying a home now.

"They think maybe I can do this, I want to give it a shot so they're getting out there and talking to their lenders and checking the market," said Larson.

That market seems to be more assessable for more people with each passing month.

The average sale price of a home on the coast is now $134,000. That's an increase of about $4,000 from this time last year. There are just over 2,200 new and used homes currently on the market in the three coastal counties.

Nationwide, construction spending reached $901 billion dollars in July. That's up more than five percent from last year.

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