Economic Forecaster Bullish On Coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/16/05

Economic Forecaster Bullish On Coast

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is in prime position to benefit from a thriving economy and soaring condominium market.

A leading economic forecaster shared his "bullish" message with more than 300 community and business leaders in Biloxi Tuesday.

Harry Dent sees plenty of confidence in his crystal ball.

The condominium craze is just one of the reasons the best selling author is confident in the coast's economic future. Harry Dent's forecasts aren't always in line with mainstream economists, but he has a successful track record of predicting success.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is in prime position to benefit from a thriving economy and soaring condominium market. A leading economic forecaster shared his "bullish" message with more than 300 community and business leaders in Biloxi.

The condo craze is part of a growing housing market. People are discovering the coast is great place to live and work.

"Domestic migration is basically coming to the Southeast. And this is the trend you can expect to continue for a long time because of demographic and generation cycles," said Dent.

How long can the coast economy continue to thrive? Dent predicts a national slowdown at the end of this decade, but he's especially optimistic for the next five years and believes the Gulf Coast will sustain growth beyond that point.

"The economy is going to be stronger than almost anybody expects in the next five years. What we say about this five years, make hay while the sun shines. Municipalities need to be attracting companies and growth, preparing for this growth while the economy is strong," he said.

Coast leaders face those challenges now. Handling things like increasing traffic isn't easy.

"Infrastructure situations and problems and planning that you have to try and tackle and meet. And that's the things we're dealing with right now in Long Beach, and I'm sure in Gulfport, Biloxi, anyone," said Long Beach mayor, Billy Skellie.

Dent says overpriced housing in places like Florida is making our coast even more attractive.

"They're all getting extremely more expensive, which makes areas like this look more attractive. On the coast, the casinos, etc," said Dent.

The new mayor of Gulfport says the coast faces a very promising economic future.

"We're in the best position we can be in. It's really a fantastic time for us all to be here on the coast. Living here right now and able to participate in this. I think it's a tremendous forecast for us all," said Mayor Brent Warr.

Harry Dent is also quite bullish on the stock market. He predicts the Dow Jones will reach the 40 thousand mark in the next five years. After that, he expects a downturn.

By Steve Phillips

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