Building Boom In Gulfport Neighborhood

"Got to water our new grass," Stopher Harrison said as he set up the sprinkler system.

Harrison is learning the duties of being a new homeowner.

"We've been in just about a week. We're still in the midst of unpacking."

Harrison and his fiancee Catherine Anderson searched for weeks before they landed a three-bedroom house in the new Hidden Oaks subdivision in Gulfport.

"We got lucky and there were three lots left," said Catherine Anderson. "We were able to grab one."

"Especially a new home was hard to find," said Harrison. "A home that's in good condition. A home that didn't have any storm damage. We were happy to get one that was brand new."

The couple will soon have new neighbors. Two more houses are going up next door, and 60 more are about to rise from the foundations.

"Phase two you can see cropping up on the other side," said David Bourdette.

Bourdette is the sales director for "The Home Team." The company is in the process of building at least 500 houses from Biloxi to Picayune.

"We've try to keep them going as fast as we can," said Bourdette. "Unfortunately, they don't go as fast as we like. We went to as far a length as we could to get people in houses. We even sold our model homes to people because they needed a house."

Before Katrina, some of the homes in the neighborhood cost around $95,000. These days, with the shortage of workers, and the skyrocketing cost of materials, the price of those homes has gone up as much as 20 percent.

Despite the cost, people are still snatching up homes.

"People are a little bit more in a hurry," said Bourdette. "They don't want to wait.  A lot of them are homeless.  They need everything they can and we need to do everything we can to get them in houses."

And the sooner families find a house, the sooner they can start over.

Stopher Harrison said, "A whole new life and a new Mississippi you could call it, with all the rebuilding and growth that's going on."

The Home Team is building cottages, townhouses and luxury homes that cost between $100,000 to $400,000. Some were under development even before the storm.