Home sales rise on the Coast

Home sales rise on the Coast

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The numbers are in, and home sales on the Mississippi Coast are on the rise. According to the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors 4,324 homes were sold in the three Coastal counties during 2015, up 11 percent from the year before.

Additionally, the average closing price rose significantly from $128,112 in 2013 to $134,250 in 2014, and climbing to $143,925 last year.

Realtors are optimistic the trend will continue.

"The year before in 2013 it was more like a roller coaster. Some months would be up, some months would be down, said Gulf Coast Association of Realtors President Gerard Maher. "So as a net it was only up, if at, all under 1 percent. Now we have solid in all three categories. That's wonderful." 

Maher says he expects stability in the market to continue driving buyers to purchase new homes, even if they may have been slow to buy in the past.

"People aren't worried about houses losing value anymore. They're seeing a steady, but reasonable, increase in value."

With home sales up, more builders are jumping into the market.

"In Diamondhead, for example, just in the last two months a builder bought 56 lots and is building homes there," said Maher. "Diamondhead hasn't seen a whole lot of new construction in years and years."

One factor that could make a home buyer hesitant - rising interest rates.

"Yes the interest rates went up slightly, but in terms of a mortgage and first investment that quarter point is still at a historic low compared to how it's been on the Coast for years," said Maher.

Despite higher interest rates, Maher believes continued development on the Coast will keep driving home sales in 2016.

"The Coast is poised right now wonderfully with a lot of development going on. We just had the Scarlet Pearl Casino open up, and we have other things coming."

Realtors also say another factor driving up property values is due to monthly inventory for homes dropping each of the last three years.

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