Columbus Realtor Don West, owner of Coldwell Banker/West Realty, knows the housing market in the Golden Triangle area of Northeast Mississippi has slumped.
“But I haven’t run the full numbers because it’s too depressing,” West said. “But it’s definitely a strong 25 percent off.”
After a strong showing in 2006, West said things started going south the last half of 2007.
In 2006, the average number days a home for sale stayed on the market was 20. Now, homes are remaining unsold for an average of six months.
“And it’s not the subprime loans deal that is killing us,” West said. “That hasn’t been an issue at all.”
Instead, in an economy whose credit markets are virtually stagnant, banks are scrutinizing mortgage applications more closely, squeezing out buyers whose credit is anything less than perfect. Some banks are requiring credit-worthy buyers to make a down payment on a home.
“That’s the reality we face,” said West, who has been in the real estate business since 1980. “This is the weakest I’ve ever seen it. It hasn’t been fun.”
Jeannette Spearman, association executive of the Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors (NMBR) in Tupelo, said housing sales for October were down from the same time last year.
Statistics from the NMBR show that in October 2007, 1,322 properties were closed on in the seven-county area the Board services. In October 2008, that number had dropped nearly 10%, to 1,204 properties.
“This is probably the first year our numbers have actually gone down,” Spearman said, adding that sales for homes within the $100,000-$140,000 range have held steady. “We usually see at least a small amount of growth from year to year.”
As for how long it will take the market to rebound, Spearman is optimistic the 2010 Toyota plant opening in Blue Springs will bring a surge of buyers.
“I think it’ll rebound in the spring, or maybe next year it will be back to normal,” she said.
Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info