In a mass of bad economic news around the state and nation, one flicker of light appeared last week.
There were 507 current pending sales for houses in the Jackson market last week with more than a week left in the month of February, the most in the last five months, which translates into more closings in February and March.
The 507 pending sales are up nine percent from the 464 in January and 16 percent from the 428 in December. Pending sales were 446 and 489 in November and October, respectively.
“I’m of the opinion that the Jackson area market has pretty much bottomed out,” said John Jenkins of the Jackson Association of Realtors. “We believe it is an excellent time to purchase a house, because prices always increase during the spring and summer months.”
The bad news is that monthly sales for Jackson homes in January were down nearly 30 percent from the same time in 2008, and down nearly 40 percent from December.
When referring to the Jackson market, please note that includes the 11 Central Mississippi counties of Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Covington, Holmes, Jefferson Davis, Leake, Scott, Simpson, Smith and Yazoo.
The other part of the bad news is the average price of a home sold in Jackson dropped to its lowest mark in more than a year at $117,495. That’s almost $4,000 less than January 2008 and 16 percent less than the average ($139,295) for all of 2008.
Jenkins, however, believes the pending sales numbers are a more important indicator right now than the home sales of January.
“If someone is sitting on the fence right now, by mid-summer he is likely to have missed the best prices,” he said. “Of course, complete recovery is a long-term process, and the job market is weak, but the Jackson area never realized the dramatic price increases that many other markets experienced.”
Jenkins said the average home prices in the Jackson area peaked in 2006 and dropped in 2007 and 2008. By the end of 2008, prices were more closely equated with mid-year 2005 price levels.
“Marketing periods in much of the Jackson area remain under six months, “ Jenkins said. “I’ve personally noted several neighborhoods and price ranges where marketing periods are under four months for sold properties. “So, Jackson does not have the high inventories of listed properties that many regions have.”
Contact MBJ managing editor Ross Reily at firstname.lastname@example.org.